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How and when will Mack Brown step down as Texas Longhorns head coach?

Forecasting the next several weeks.

Ronald Martinez

If even the slimmest of potential remained for Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown to keep his job by winning the Big 12 title and reach a BCS game with an undefeated run through the conference schedule, the blowout at the hands of Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State Cowboys two week ago buried that potentiality.

And so a relatively unexpected win over a suddenly vulnerable Baylor Bears team and share of the Big 12 title, possibly even an outright title if the Cowboys fall in their Bedlam brawl, almost certainly won't alter the current course, a course that has Texas looking for a new head football coach days from now.

So how do the next several weeks go down?

There were rumors circulating on Sunday evening that an announcement regarding Brown's future could happen at Monday's press conference, almost certainly Brown's last regular-season Monday meeting with the media, but that clearly didn't happen.

Why not? No small part of the equation is that Brown has been too busy with his football responsibilities coaching in-season to sit down with new athletic director Steve Patterson to talk about the future.

On the Longhorn Network following the Thanksgiving victory over Texas Tech, Brown noted that he feels he has a right to talk with the new head of Texas athletics before any decision is made about his future. In the end, the meeting is probably only a formality, with little to no chance that Brown could return next season as Patterson follows through on his reputation as an agent of change.

As much as the meeting won't matter, though, it is something that Brown deserves before he goes on his way.

In an athletic department that has spent the last several years ignoring the hard truths that have become ever more apparent in the three major sports as outgoing athletics director DeLoss Dodds put off coaching changes in order to let his successor make those hires, the conversation between Brown and Patterson will undoubtedly feature the proper amount of respect from Patterson in regards to Brown and his significant legacy at Texas, but also feature an airing of enough of those hard truths to lay out the case for why it's time for the longtime Texas head football coach to move on.

An important date on this whole calendar is the football banquet on December 13, when Texas will host numerous official visits from committed players and probably some uncommitted players as well. Though Brown has been adamant with recruits that he expects to come back for another season, it would be a perfect and necessary opportunity for him to inform them that he will not be the head coach in 2014.

The bottom line is that Texas needs to get the next football coach in place as soon as possible -- at the latest, the search needs to end by early January, when recruits start taking their final official visits and the lead-up to national Signing Day takes place.

And though the new staff may handle things a bit differently as it comes to recruiting and much of the 2015 class has already received offers ahead of the normally crucial Junior Days, the new staff will also need time to evaluate prospects and decide which new offers go out during those two big Saturdays in February.

The meeting between Brown and Patterson should happen some time early next week -- probably Monday or Tuesday -- and an announcement should follow shortly thereafter and before next Friday's banquet, making a target date for landing a new head coach some time in the week after the banquet. If the process extends much past that week, it would be because multiple top targets turned down the job.

So at this point, the remainder of the Mack Brown era is probably best measured in minutes.