The only question now is how the end will come for Charlie Strong. Will it be sudden? How long will Texas' coach-for-now linger?

Will the firing be classy or messy? Loud or quiet? Start your keyboards, beat writers. Nothing like a coaching search that begins Thanksgiving week.

If there is solace in such matters, it's that all the speculation is over now at Texas. No more wondering over a magic number of wins it takes for Strong to keep his job.

Any magic is as good as gone for Strong after one of the most baffling losses in Texas history. The Longhorns lost to Kansas as much as the Jayhawks won, 24-21 in overtime.

It wasn't just an upset. It was a stupefying result for a program that has more money that anyone but is more confused than everyone.

Forget the national scene or the Big 12. Since Mack Brown left, Texas has ceded the state to others. Orangebloods have watched Baylor and Texas A&M players win Heisman Trophies. They've witnessed Houston rise to prominence, which could be about the best thing for Texas at the moment.

They allowed a dalliance with Nick Saban to become public. And when Alabama's coach didn't come, it became an embarrassment.

Strong is a good coach, an even better man. He came highly recommended after two national championships as an assistant at Florida. Strong went 37-15, winning a Sugar Bowl (over Florida), at Louisville.

A rocky start at Texas was blamed, by some, on the talent left behind by Brown. That's not an excuse anymore.

Strong landed some good recruiting classes. Even if it was a little, there was progress this season after a 5-7 mark in 2015.

That's why Saturday's result wasn't just head-scratching, it was head-banging.

That's what it looked like watching defensive end Charles Omenihu in the moments following the loss. The sophomore had to be consoled as he threw down his helmet and ripped out his mouth guard after Kansas kicker Matthew Wyman booted the overtime winner in a mostly empty Memorial Stadium.

Omenihu was later caught by cameras gesturing wildly in frustration, trying to be consoled by ... somebody.

That about sums it up. Texas is looking for direction. It has little at the moment. Sure, it shouldn't lose to Kansas, but it also shouldn't go seven years between having serviceable quarterbacks either.

It shouldn't be hiring athletic directors (Steve Patterson) who treat people like dirt ... which reminds me, if Texas is going to make a coaching change, it might want to let his boss do it.

But interim athletic director Mike Perrin is in no position to fire Strong -- that will be done by president Greg Fenves -- much less hire the new guy. Perrin is a gentleman, a powerful Houston lawyer who was installed to calm the waters after Patterson's firing.

Whatever that administration looks like at the moment, it's at a crossroads. Texas can't just go out and spend whatever it wants on a top coach. For one, the school is in competition with LSU and Baylor for at least one of the top candidates (Houston's Tom Herman).

Texas absolutely can't screw up this hire. Maybe this is the kind of result that in some weird way makes the transition easy. Herman was once a Texas graduate assistant. It is known if he leaves Houston, it will be for a place where he can win a championship.

That's why Herman turned down interest from South Carolina last season. But Herman will have to stamp out the same virus that has infected the current Longhorns -- entitlement, lack of effort.

You don't lose to Kansas without facing those accusations.

Right up until kickoff, the lean had been toward keeping Strong. D'Onta Freeman (250 yards vs. Kansas) had emerged as the nation's leading rusher and a Heisman candidate. Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele was the future, one that is now going to have a new coach.

Strong dropped to 16-20 in his three seasons in Austin. This was clearly the low point. Kansas hadn't beaten Texas since 1938. That's not a typo.

It's over because Texas turned it over five times. It's over because Texas blew a 21-10 lead to a team that hadn't won an FBS game in more than two years or a Big 12 game since 2014.

After an opening-series touchdown, the Horns played like they didn't want to be there. And who could blame them? Even for mediocre Texas, Kansas was as close to an automatic W as there is.

The Jayhawks are on their third starting quarterback. The guy across the field, coach David Beaty, was 1-20 in his two seasons. That's why the result was unacceptable.

Every day this lingers is unfair to Strong and the Longhorn Network. The coach will get on with his life and his career. He just needs a dignified exit.

Meanwhile, those replays of Texas-Kansas on LHN -- required to fill air time -- will seem endless.