- Great tradition. (Well, yes, if a little bit aloof.)
- Great graduates. (Just ask 'em.)
- Great support. (I mean, I guess.)
- Great stadium. (Absolutely.)
- Great state. (Obviously.)
And one big negative. Because this is where the Longhorn coach is right now: dangling over a boiling pot. Strong, considered one of America's brightest coaches a mere three years ago, has led Texas to dubious status.
Strong has a losing record, 13-15, at Texas. He's reached one bowl game in two years. His defenses have hit icebergs, having allowed at least 40 points in 7 of 28 games and at least 30 points in 12 of 28 games.
"I don't feel a lot different about this year than I felt about any other year I've been in coaching," Strong said during Big 12 Media Days. "I always have a drive to do well and do the best we can and put our players in great position to play well."
Get this. In Charlie's two-plus seasons in the Big 12, only two schools have a worse record than Texas’ 13-15 (Kansas’ 4-23 and Iowa State’s 6-22). Only three schools (Kansas, Iowa State and Texas Tech) have a worse league record than the Longhorns’ 9-9.
But for more than 10 years, Texas’ results have not kept pace with its promise. At some point, you are what you are. The Longhorns' glory years -- the '70s and ‘00s -- were buoyed by Texas A&M haplessness.
It was in vogue to blame Strong's record on recruiting shortcomings by the previous administration. But if Mack Brown was such a cruddy recruiter, how did he win 76 percent of his games over 16 years, the best Longhorn percentage since the 1920s?
Bad timing? The Longhorns are in a high-rent district. Baylor and TCU are as stout as they've ever been. Oklahoma consistently hovers around 9-3, Oklahoma State is 35-17 the last four years and even Iowa State grew fangs, upsetting Texas in 2015.
"We play not in the toughest conference necessarily -- I'm not saying it's not -- but we play one of the toughest schedules in college football," Strong said. "There's probably going to be two top-five or top-10 teams on our schedule every year."
Strong admitted as much after last week’s loss to Cal, when he said all assistant coaches would be evaluated. Only defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary are still employed from Strong’s original staff. Chris Vaugh, Les Koenning, Bruce Chambers, Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline were all relieved of their duties after last season. Chris Rumph left for Florida after one season and Tommie Robinson left to go back to USC.