Faced on Thanksgiving weekend with the possible end of his failed four-year reign as the head coach of the University of Texas, Tom Herman offered a milquetoast endorsement of his position.
"That,'' the embattled boss said, "is not for me to decide.''
True enough. The awkward dance is over. On Saturday, per multiple reports, Herman is out . Alabama assistant Steve Sarkisian is expected to replace Tom Herman as head coach, per Chip Brown.
Yes, Herman, asked whether he is the right man for the Longhorns job, did add, "I feel like where have the program right now compared to where it was when we took over, the future is very bright."
But the darkness of being inferior to Iowa State, as was the case in that week's 23-20 loss to the Cyclones, overcomes the "bright.'' And as Orangebloods know all too well over the course of the last decade-plus, "bright futures'' are meaningless compared to bright presents.
And at present, the talent gathered and the money spent (yes, the Texas athletic budget means it could afford to use the Iowa State facilities as a tool shed) does not add up to "bright.''
The Longhorns haven't won the Big 12 since 2009. Sometimes, the expectations in Austin may not be realistic. But it's not unrealistic to be a winner more than occasionally.
Truly, even modest expectations are not being met.
Herman, said Longhorns icon Ricky Williams on the Longhorn Network, "coached scared ... I felt like ... Tom made it hard for the players to win."
This is football cannibalism, Longhorns eating Longhorns. It's unseemly, ugly and bloody. And once the Ricky's turn on you - is there any turning back?
This isn't about whether Herman is "a good coach.'' Four years ago, he was the top Ohio State assistant turned Houston top dog and sizzling-hot. The Texas heat didn't turn him stupid. Nor, in other notable coaching changes across the state, did the NFL's Texans or Cowboys suddenly realize that Bill O'Brien and Jason Garrett, respectively, are dopes.
No, this is about production and expectations, and again, in Austin, the boosters expect the best. (Little wonder they recently flirted with Urban Meyer right in front of Herman‘s face.)
On Twitter, our Colin Cowherd issued a simple but familiar refrain: "The Texas Longhorns should never lose to Iowa State in football.”
But what if that mindset is core to the problem?
As somebody from the Cyclones side said, that aforementioned game was about a "five-star culture (in Ames) versus five-star players (in Austin).”
And now, there will be a new coach ... who will maybe be enveloped by the same sense of entitlement within The Forty Acres that may truly be the problem.
"I don't think it's ever fully on the coach," QB Sam Ehlinger said. "That's the million-dollar question that everybody has been trying to figure out for the last 10 years."
And it's the million-dollar question that not even Tom Herman was able to answer with any authority. And now he’s not in authority anymore.