Please “LIKE”, “SHARE”, “COMMENT”, or RETWEET …
There are only a few places in NCAA football where eight- and nine-win seasons are frowned upon. Alabama qualifies. USC is another program. And then there’s University of Texas.
Unfortunately for the Texas Longhorns, liberal and open-minded Austin is perhaps the most intolerant college city of all—when it comes to winning games. The Longhorns are still in a bit of rebuilding mode after the disastrous 5-7 season in 2010. The 9-4 mark they posted last season was better, but not good enough.
The Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State was a good way to end the season, but bowl games that aren’t played in the new year mean little to Longhorn Nation.
So nothing less than Big 12 supremacy will be accepted in 2013.
How will they win?
The running attack is fearsome. Johnathan Gray (701 yards in 2012) will start, but Malcolm Brown (324 yards) and Joe Bergeron (567 yards) should play well enough to earn their fair share of carries.The offense has to do without receivers Marquise Goodwin and Cayleb Jones, but Mike Davis (57 receptions, 939 yards) and Jaxon Shipley (59 catches, 737 yards) will get plenty of attention from QB David Ash.
What about the defense?
That’s a whole other story. Nine starters are returning from 2012, but that defense surrendered 29.2 points per game (74th in the BCS division) and could not make a key tackle all season long. They gave up at least 31 points six times last season, but the offense bailed the team out three of those times by scoring 66, 41 and 56 points in three shootout wins. So the coaches have the task of making sure those players aren’t just returning, but returning in improved condition.
Does it matter to fans?
Only to a point. Texas has been the top-selling college football team in terms of merchandise eight straight years—that includes the 2010 disaster. Fans never like losing, but Texas will always play its home games before 100,000 fans. Whether that loyalty would roll over to coach Mack Brown is another story. This program’s proud history (eight straight 10-win seasons this century) means he will be on a shorter leash this year.
Can the Longhorns win the Big 12?
Yes. Kansas State and Oklahoma are poised to take fairly large steps back in 2013 (especially the Wildcats) after their 10-win campaigns a year ago, and Baylor will be lucky to replicate its 8-5 mark from a year ago. The wild card here is the Oklahoma State Cowboys, whom the Longhorns play Nov. 16 and who sit right above Texas in the preseason USA Today poll (the Cowboys are No. 14, Texas is No. 15). If the Longhorns can beat the Cowboys (the game is in Austin) that would appear to pave the way toward a fairly easy conference title.
Can they win a national title?
That’s much more doubtful. The 2013 non-conference schedule features three relative patsies in BYU, Ole Miss and New Mexico State. So they will likely rack up wins but not quality wins or experience against tough teams. So, even if they get to the BCS Championship Game, they likely would be as overmatched against an SEC team, just as Notre Dame was last January.