Tough games: USC, TCU, Oklahoma, @Oklahoma State, West Virginia
College football is cyclical and all major programs experience varying degrees of up and down periods. But I have to say, Texas’s struggles this decade have been downright embarrassing. Texas, the flagship university, has been upstaged by just about every other school in the Lone Star state. Texas A&M had Johnny Football, Baylor had RG3, Houston had a 13 win season with a New Years Six bowl win, and TCU barely missed the CFB playoff in 2014. It takes a high level of ineptitude to go through 3 consecutive losing seasons in a state with the high school talent that Texas has. However, the good news for Texas is things can change quickly and they already are.
If you examine last season, you can see the Longhorns are ready to breakthrough. They lost in double overtime to USC, lost to Oklahoma by 5, and lost to Oklahoma State by 3. Tom Herman was in his first season, and I foresee some year two magic on the horizon. The Big 12 is full of question marks and about as wide open as its been.
Their first conference game is against TCU who have been a thorn in their side. Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs have absolutely beaten the hell out of Texas for the past four years. But the Longhorns get TCU at home and while their defense will still be solid, their is a lot of inexperience on that roster. Despite Texas’s woes, they’ve managed to play Oklahoma well. OU will be breaking in a new quarterback in Kyler Murray who should of left Norman and taken that Major League Baseball money straight to the bank when he was drafted in the Top Ten. Seriously, someone needs to talk some sense into this kid. I’d say that game at this point is a toss up. They do have to play Oklahoma State on the road but they won’t be as good as last year. Texas also gets to play West Virginia and Matt Campbell’s sneaky good Iowa State team at home.
Two is always better than one
In a conference where most of the contenders are breaking in a new qb, Texas has not one, but two experienced players vying for the position. Sam Ehlinger is less experienced than Shane Buechele but seems to be the more talented and will probably get the starting nod, but that’s no foregone conclusion. It should be a hell of a battle for the spot in camp. Whoever wins the job will have a slew of talented young receivers to throw to.
In a conference that puts up video game like numbers on offense, it helps to have a quality defense. Texas should have the second best defense behind TCU’s. They led the league last season against the run and they return 3 out of 4 of their linebackers. That unit ranks as one of the best in the country. Their defensive line is also strong and should be the strength of the defense.
I’m calling for Texas to lose to Oklahoma and drop another conference game, yet still clinch 2nd place in the conference, then get sweet revenge against Oklahoma in the championship game.
Projected conference record: (7-2) losses Oklahoma, @Texas Tech