Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns sunk even further in their quixotic quest to return to greatness. After starting the year with high hopes, Texas lost to Iowa State on Friday, falling to 5-3 on the season, 4-3 in the Big 12 and getting eliminated from conference championship contention with three weeks left in the season. After four campaigns largely mired in mediocrity, Herman's time in Austin has to be nearing its end.
This is the second year in a row the Longhorns have lost to the Cyclones. Let's be real here, the Texas should never be on a lower tier than Iowa State as a football program. The fact that Herman's teams have consistently struggled to beat teams they dominate has doomed his tenure. He's is in the middle of his fourth season and he's never lost fewer than four games. He's on his way to hitting that mark again this year. He record at Texas is 30-18 (.625) and he's 21-13 (.617) in the Big 12. That's simply not good enough.
Herman entered this season with an accomplished senior at quarterback in Sam Ehlinger, and a new defensive system under Chris Ash, whose hiring was heralded. Many of the team's shortcomings during a disappointing 8-5 season in 2019 were blamed on defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. He was fired in favor of Ash and the Longhorns have continued to struggle.
After opening the season with wins over UTEP and Texas Tech, Herman had his team ranked in the top 10. Texas followed that up by losing back-to-back games to unranked teams in TCU and Oklahoma. The Longhorns then squeaked by Baylor 27-16, beat No. 6 Oklahoma State 41-34 in overtime and barely snuck past West Virginia 17-13 on November 7. After 20 days off due to the team's game against Kansas being rescheduled, Texas lost to Iowa State on Friday 23-20 largely thanks to Herman's missteps.
The Longhorns led the Cyclones 20-16 with 8:05 remaining in the game and faced a 4th and 2 at Iowa State's 13-yard line. Herman opted to go for it, instead of extending the lead to seven with a chip shot field goal. He called a quarterback run for Ehlinger that was stopped for no gain and the momentum fully shifted away from Texas. Iowa wound up scoring a touchdown with 1:25 left in the game to win it. It was an unforgiveable mistake by a coach who often appears in over his head.
Herman isn't shy on the sidelines and has had a number of embarrassing, high-profile run-ins on the field. Those kinds of things can be excused when you're winning, but not when you're losing several winnable games every year with a Cadillac of a program like Texas. He's simply not equipped to handle the job and we have four seasons of evidence to back that up.
We know who Herman is at this point. He's a guy who will make a lot of noise, recruit well then fail when it comes to actually raising Texas to the level of its hype. His time in Austin should be coming to an end.