Brown earned respect

One of my favorite sayings is that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I handle it.

As an observer of the world in general and the sports world in particular, I’m always watching to see how the various personalities handle themselves.

I learned a long time ago that it’s easy to be a good winner.

You smile, accept the congratulations of your adoring fans and console the losers with a hearty handshake and a few words of encouragement.

But it is when adversity hits that one shows their true character.

Adversity recently hit one of college football’s iconic coaches, University of Texas mentor Mack Brown.

After 16 seasons at the high-pressure helm of the Longhorns that saw Texas record 158 wins, the handwriting was on the wall that the school wanted to make a coaching change.

Brown, who guided the Longhorns to two BCS national title games -winning one and losing one -as well as wins in the Fiesta, Rose and Cotton bowls, accepted his fate with class and dignity.

Every time he was asked about it, Brown would say this wasn’t about him, it was about his players. Rather than display bitterness, he kept coaching and kept smiling.

In doing so, he earned a newfound respect from many sports fans, this columnist included. In just two short years, West Virginia and Texas have developed a great football rivalry as well as a mutual respect.

That rivalry is sure to continue but it won’t feel the same without Mack Brown walking the Texas sidelines.

He was a class act in victory and defeat.

  • 35 Bowl Games: This Saturday, the first four of the 35 college football bowl games will take place. But unless you are a college football junkie, you don’t need to plan to sit around the television all day. Not unless you want to subject yourself to three games involving Mountain West Conference teams and one featuring a Conference USA squad (Tulane) against a Sun Belt Conference representative (Louisiana Lafayette). Suffice it to say none of the four can be considered a marquee matchup.

Every year, we say there are too many bowls. But we also understand why. First, there are many cities who benefit from the revenue derived from hosting a bowl game. Visiting fans fill their motels, bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues.

Plus, ESPN and the other networks would much rather show a bowl game -no matter who is playing -than a rerun of the World Series of Poker.

Next year, two more bowls are being added to the lineup. Sooner or later, we are going to have a year when a 5-7 team is granted a waiver to play in a bowl game.

But like every other aspect of life, college football is all about the money, as evidenced both by conference realignment and the huge coaching contracts.

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