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It’s been documented for some time now how turbulent Steve Patterson’s stint as athletic director at Texas has been. He’s alienated important alums and boosters — not to mention some of his coaches and staff –€“ with an impersonal, cold approach. He’s not been completely transparent with fans or Texas employees depending on which reports you read. He’s turned UT into a giant piggy bank, where every decision comes down to how many cents it racks up for the Horns, nearly everything else be damned.
In short, Patterson has been exactly what Texas hired — a disciplined and successful businessman whose brought a bottom-line mentality developed in the professional sports world to a university setting where the culture is more familial and warm. The fit has been an utter disaster.
It now appears as if Texas leadership is closing in on making a change.
According to Horns Digest’s Chip Brown, Texas president Gregory Fenves is “strongly considering” firing Patterson, who’s in the third year of a five-year deal that pays him $1.4 million per year. Fenves became UT’s president in June after serving as provost, and there’s been constant drama between him and Patterson since, according to Brown.
Atop the list of many reasons why Patterson will probably be fired is this: The number of disgruntled Texas donors continues to rise, and more of them are telling the university that they will no longer give money to UT while Patterson still has his job.
“Fenves knows athletics is the front porch of the university,” a source told Brown. “So he can’t have people who want to give being turned off or turned away at the front porch.”
Read Chip’s story for a full breakdown of the most recent drama at Texas. It seems pretty clear that it’s only a matter of time until Fenves fires Patterson and reopens the Texas AD job to the long list of candidates around the country who would jump at that opportunity the second it was offered.
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What’s this week’s SEC narrative? Auburn dropped out of the top 10 in the latest AP poll — falling 12 spots to No. 18 — after almost losing to Jacksonville State, while Arkansas (lost to Toledo), Tennessee (lost to Oklahoma) and Mississippi State (lost to LSU) dropped out of the top 25, bringing the SEC’s number of ranked teams down to seven from 10. After Week 1 — when Texas A&M manhandled Arizona State and Alabama dominated Wisconsin, among other favorable SEC outcomes — the national narrative was the SEC is so deep that it just might overrun the country this season and put two teams in the playoff. One week later, the SEC apparently isn’t so good and now may be overrated. Got it. In reality, it’s probably somewhere between those two stances. Let’s let the season play out — nobody has any idea what the field will look like in Week 10 after just two weeks of games.
It’s not too early to talk about the Big Ten, though. Yes, just like the SEC, we don’t know how the Big Ten will play out, either. But here’s why it’s a bit different: Out of the major conferences, the Big Ten is the least likely to chew up its own elite teams, which makes Michigan State’s win over Oregon this past weekend much more significant. If you were considering “most likely” conference scenarios this season, I’d put Ohio State going undefeated and Michigan State ending the regular season with its only loss in Columbus against the Buckeyes at the top. The SEC and Pac-12 will wreck themselves, and the ACC probably won’t have a dominant team emerge. That leaves the Big 12, which could have a similar situation to the Big Ten in which TCU or Baylor goes undefeated and the other’s lone loss came in the head-to-head matchup of those two teams. But the Big 12 is more treacherous than the Big Ten, currently, so I don’t think Stewart Mandel is jumping the gun much when he looks at the possibility of both Michigan State and Ohio State in the playoff at the end of the year.
Get to know DeShone Kizer. He’s the guy who now shoulders Notre Dame’s playoff aspirations after quarterback Malik Zaire suffered a broken ankle against Virginia in Week 2 and will miss the remainder of the season. Kizer is a 6-foot-4.5, 230-pound sophomore out of Ohio who did not see the field in 2014. He was a three-sport star in high school — starting on the varsity basketball team as a freshman and also hitting cleanup on the baseball team — whose father played hoops at Bowling Green. He’s in the business school at Notre Dame and will now be asked to manage the Irish’s road through the thick of their schedule. He delivered a great throw with 20 seconds left and ND down one at Virginia to score the game-winning TD and afterwards was asked something about being thrown into the spotlight with the Irish’s undefeated record already in serious jeopardy. “Since Day 1, I’ve been preparing as if I’m the guy,” Kizer said. “So it was time to play football. That’s how I looked at it.”
Impressive kid — we’ll see what happens. Bruce Feldman believes Notre Dame can overcome some of its other injuries to a D-lineman and running back, but losing Zaire is too much. Kizer is Notre Dame’s new hero, writes Mike Monaco.
The injury plague struck South Carolina’s quarterback, too, as it appears Connor Mitch will be out for six weeks with shoulder and hip injuries.
The FOX Four is back. Our own College Football Playoff committee is again providing their playoff picks after each week this season. Here’s how their playoff field stacks up after the second week.
* A Florida fan apparently spread ashes at the foot of Tim Tebow’s statue in Gainesville. S-E-C! S-E-C!
* Oklahoma beat Tennessee in double overtime last weekend and Sooners QB Baker Mayfield did the one thing he does better than play quarterback: dance. We need more Baker Mayfield in our lives.
* Bill Connelly examines what’s wrong with Auburn and what the Tigers need to fix this week before they play LSU on Saturday.
* Kevin Trahan tailgated with Donald Trump fans at the Iowa-Iowa State game, and it was apparently quite the experience.
Have a great Monday, everyone.
Teddy Mitrosilis works in social content development at FOX Sports Digital. Follow him on Twitter @TMitrosilis and email him at email@example.com.