In what was perhaps the most drama-filled carousel since Dallas, the Texas Longhorns finally got their man in Tom Herman.
Herman, the former offensive coordinator of the 2014 national champion Ohio State Buckeyes and head coach of the upstart Houston Cougars, agreed to a new five-year $25 million dollar contract, that includes clauses that could increase the overall yearly value of the pact to six million.
A former grad assistant in 1999 and 2000 under former coach Mack Brown, Herman replaces the fired Charlie Strong, who went 16-21 in three tumultuous seasons in Austin, the worst in a three-year stretch in Texas’ storied history.
22-4 in his two years in Houston, highlighted by a 38-24 win over Florida State and a dominating and program-changing 33-23 win—over now-rival Oklahoma—in NRG Stadium in Houston and a 36-10 win over Heisman Trophy frontrunner Lamar Jackson and the visiting Louisville Cardinals, Herman has what it takes to restore one of the BIGGEST brands in college football back to its former glory.
Rumored to have turned down a seven-figure salary increase at Houston and having agreed to defect to Baton Rouge instead—who would later name interim head coach Ed Odgeron as their head coach— Herman at Texas makes the most sense.
Here are my reasons below as to why Herman and Texas are made for each other.
Ties to In-State Recruiting: Except for his two years in Columbus, Herman has spent much of his coaching career in the Lone Star State. Now back in Austin, and thanks to his past with the forementioned Brown, Herman can maintain and expand on that extensive Longhorn recruiting network.
The Darth Saban Factor: Yes, Star Wars fans, I went there, and not to channel my inner geek or indirectly—and shamelessly plug—the upcoming Rogue One flick, but Herman going to Texas over LSU could directly be because of not having to compete with the Crimson Tide Death Star.
In college football, especially in recruiting, it is HARD to compete against Saban, who is perhaps the best college football coach of our generation. Likely to be in a rival state as Louisiana competing against Saban to keep somwe of the top talent in-state, Herman has a much better chance of competing vs. the likes of him and other rival coaches such as Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury and West Virginia’s Dana Holmsgren in retaining perhaps the top blue-chip prospects in the country.
It’s Texas and Everyone Else in the Big 12: Let’s be honest here, even though I’m in the heart of B1G country here in Ohio, but even from afar, I know that Texas RUNS the Big 12. Period.
Yes, while Oklahoma is their toughest opponent and the one school who might be able to occasionally stand up to them, Texas controls the Big 12 in so many ways, it’s not even funny.
From demanding—and getting their own—television network, to single-handily holding college football hostage during the recent conference realignment, Texas has the largest budget of any school in terms of boosters, recruiting and reach.
Only one school can almost cause an ENTIRE college football conference to drastically force the NCAA in allowing them to have a round-robin style tournament, as opposing to having the required amount of teams, force long-time members and rivals such as Texas A&M, Nebraska and Colorado to leave.
It is because of the Longhorn’s long perceived sense of entitlement and arrogance.
Aside from claimed four national titles, home to some of the top recruits in the country and a sense of championship pride and ego that few can match, Herman now has at his fingertips that he never had at Houston, an extensive network of money, personnel and players ready to play for him in front of some of the best fans in the country, for a big-name program that demands results.
Make no mistake that Herman will get a chance to provide his worth early in key non-conference matchups against the visiting Maryland Terrapins and out on the West Coast against 2005 BCS title foil USC at the Coliseum, but in the end Texas and Herman are now together, and all I can say is that college football better keep an eye on the Longhorns, as they will be back, bigger and better than ever.