Yes, the Texas Longhorns can compete for a National Title in 2018

Posted: July 16, 2018 in College football
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
johnson_gary_wvu_p1702a CONF

Texas WLB Gary Johnson was named pre-season 1st Tm B12 for 2018 by Phil Steele

Texas was one of the most dominant teams in the nation at the turn of the century. From 2000-2009, the Longhorns went 110-19 with seven Top 10 finishes including a National Championship in 2005.

Fans in Austin have been longing a return to relevancy since. Texas went just 46-42 in the following seven years, making two coaching changes in the process. After three consecutive losing seasons, the Longhorns made a splash by hiring Tom Herman last year.

While the 7-6 record Texas finished with was hardly overwhelming, they did win their first bowl game since 2012. The offense surprisingly regressed under the tutelage of the offensive minded Herman. The defense, however, showed major improvement, going from allowing 448 yards per game and 31.5 points per game in 2016 to allowing 366 yards per game and 21.2 points per game in 2017. With four of their losses by five points or less, Texas was basically one play away from finishing 11-2!

The 2018 season appears that it will be very kind to the Longhorn faithful. Texas has seven returning starters on each side of the ball, eight on offense if you include both quarterbacks Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele. The offense will be improved in the second year of Herman’s system. Not only do the Longhorns return experience at quarterback, but also their top two wide receivers in 6’2” Collin Johnson and 6’4” Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Leading running back Daniel Young also returns, but don’t be surprised if he is beaten out by incoming true freshman Keaontay Ingram, a 6’1”, 200 pound speedster. Texas features four offensive lineman that have been full-time starters.

The front end of the schedule is a little daunting, specifically a brutal four week stretch when they host USC and TCU, followed by road trips to Manhattan versus Kansas State and Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. If Texas can manage that stretch and remain healthy, their last six games will be much easier and some blowouts in November will force the College Football Playoff committee to pay attention.

Texas has the talent to finish in the Top 10 of the rankings for the first time since 2009 and with a little luck, could find itself in the Playoffs.

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