Texas Football Preview

The eyes of Texas are always on the Longhorns’ football program. Every fall, that’s a given. 

But it’s been some time since the eyes of college football were on Austin. 

One year ago, Texas football looked on the rise. The Austin squad finished top-20 in 2020 and was heading into the summer with significant momentum. UT brought in Steve Sarkisian to replace Tom Herman, who fell out of favor after four years in charge. 

On the field, big things were expected from quarterbacks Casey Thompson and Hudson Card, both in line to replace Texas legend Sam Ehlinger. And Bijan Robinson, a workhorse running back, was an early Heisman favorite. 

Things did not go according to plan in Sark’s first season at the helm. 

A great opening weekend win against No. 23 Louisiana turned out to be the season highlight. Jumping out to 4-1, Texas went on to win just one of its last seven games, including a six-game skid featuring soul-snatching losses to No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State, and No. 16 Baylor. 

Texas enters this season with far fewer external expectations. 

But inside Darrell K. Royal Stadium, the internal heat and pressure to win makes the scalding Austin summer look downright frigid. 

The Numbers

As it stands, FanDuel gives Texas the ninth-best odds to lift the National Championship Trophy (+10000). That’s no surprise, given how poorly the team has lived up to the hype in seasons past. 

ESPN isn’t any kinder and PicksforTonight’s college football picks model doesn’t even have the Longhorns covering the spread in their week 1 matchup against Louisiana Monroe. 

Texas was unranked in ESPN’s first Top-25 at the end of May. Texas A&M (No. 5), Houston (No. 13), and Baylor (No. 18)  all placed higher among Lone Star State schools. 

Despite that, Texas has the sixth toughest schedule according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). With daunting tests against Alabama (Week 2), Oklahoma (Week 6), Oklahoma State (Week 8), and Baylor (Week 12), it’s no wonder why Texas’ FPI is so high. Each one of those schools placed in ESPN’s Top 25. 

Oddly enough, Texas also has two players in the top-six in early Heisman odds, again per FanDuel. Quarterback Quinn Ewers (+4000) and Bijan Robinson (+5000) are both in the early conversation to win college football’s highest individual honor. 

The Longhorns have second-best odds to win the Big-12 (+250), behind bogey team Oklahoma. 

The New Toys

In the offseason, Texas made quick use of the transfer portal.

The Longhorns added three four-star offensive weapons in receivers Isaiah Neyor (Wyoming) and Agiye Hall (Alabama) and tight end Jahleel Billingsley (Alabama), per 247 Sports.  

But the biggest prize of all has to be former five-star recruit Quinn Ewers ditching the cold Columbus winters for Austin. 

Ewers failed to separate his play from Ohio State standout CJ Stroud last season. As of now, Stroud has the best odds to win the Heisman Trophy (+200), so it’s no wonder why Ewers skipped town. 

The Verdict

To stay relevant in the national conversation, Texas needs to do something it’s struggled to do recently: win. 

If Texas goes over their projected win total (8), it would be a massive step in the right direction, especially after a dismal 5-7 season. 

Not just against the Kansases of the world (though they didn’t even manage that last season), but against the big schools: Alabama, Oklahoma, OK State, etc. 

If Texas pulls off a win against the Crimson Tide on September 10, expect pandemonium in Austin and shockwaves across college football. Unfortunately, Nick Saban has a pretty good track record against former assistants (25-1). 

Perhaps rather than all-or-nothing, Texas should look at the season as a taste of what’s to come when it joins the SEC in three years. 

Oh, and a win against Oklahoma, the Longhorns’ first since October 2018, would be nice too. 

Think you have a good idea on how to bet the Texas Longhorns this season? Then why not place a bet on them and if you do make sure you are getting your sign up deposit bonus when you create your new account so you can bet for free. 

Who is Favored to Win Each Power 5 Conference?
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