Is this the year Texas lives up to expectations and wins the Big 12?

Rate this post

If you’re a diehard college football fan who happens to be obsessed with statistics and fun facts, here’s one for you: The Texas Longhorns finished the 2022 college football season with an 8-5 record, with all five of those losses coming by seven points or fewer.

It’s an alarming stat for a team that was — and should be once again — loaded with talent, but simply couldn’t close out games.

“If they can fix that, which they should, they’ll land in the Big 12 Championship Game,” FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt said of the Longhorns on a recent episode of his podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show.” “The best rosters usually win championship games, and their roster suggests that they’re the best team in the conference and that they should compete for a playoff spot.”

Steve Sarkisian’s team is set to return 16 starters in 2023, including 10 on the offensive side of the ball. Replacing Doak Walker Award winner Bijan Robinson will be challenging, but quarterback Quinn Ewers returns, along with one of the top receiving corps in the country and an experienced offensive line group.

The Longhorns showed signs of a dominant defense last year, holding the likes of Alabama, Oklahoma and TCU all under 21 points. The strength of the defense was in the trenches, as the Texas led all Power 5 teams in quarterback pressures in 2022. 

T’Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy and Barryn Sorrell all return on the defensive line, while senior Jaylan Ford, who led the team with 111 tackles last year, is expected to lead a talented group of linebackers.

Is it the Texas Longhorns year to win the Big 12?

Is it the Texas Longhorns year to win the Big 12?

Joel Klatt explains why the Texas Longhorns have the best roster in the Big 12 Conference.

But as talented as this year’s Texas team might be, Sarkisian’s squad must take the next step and win those 50-50 games this season if it is going to compete for a conference title and a spot in the College Football Playoff this upcoming season.

“I’ve been a bit of a cheerleader for Texas, and that’s why I’m so upset, even before they play a game … Perpetually underachieving, this team. ” Klatt said. “This is a team that will go through a schedule they should be able to manage. The problem is that there are enough teams in the Big 12 that are just tough outs. Kansas State comes to mind, Texas Tech comes to mind. TCU comes to mind.”

The Horned Frogs, who cruised to an impressive 9-0 Big 12 mark last season and a spot in the national title game, were at the opposite side of the spectrum, winning nine of their 13 games in 2022 by 10 points or fewer. That included a memorable 51-45 win over Michigan in a CFP semifinal matchup.

“You gotta win close games in the Big 12,” Klatt said. “That’s what Sonny Dykes and the Horned Frogs majored in last year was winning tight football games.”

While Klatt is adamant both Texas and Oklahoma have the most talent among Big 12 programs, he isn’t confident that will necessarily result in a Big 12 title, labeling another conference foe as the “sneakiest” team in the conference.

“Watch out for Kansas State,” Klatt said. “I love their O-line, I really like Will Howard, and defensively, they are just kind of tough as nails. I like what they do at Kansas state.”

Get more from College Football Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more

Source link

Leave a Comment