After 3 straight losing seasons, Texas made a change and brought in Tom Herman to return Texas to the spotlight of college football. Tom had a successful first season as he guided Texas to a 7-6 record and a winning season for the first time at Texas since 2013. Sports bettors who frequently backed Texas were quite happy as well because the Longhorns were 9-4 against the spread. Last season’s 6-6 regular season record could have been even better as Texas lost twice in overtime and had 4 loses by 1 possession. The Longhorns look ready to compete for the Big XII title for the first time since Mack Brown left (they haven’t won it since 2009) and oddsmakers agree as they are the 2nd favorite to win the conference at +325 and they are 45-1 to bring the national title home to Austin (future odds found at 5Dimes).
Oddsmakers believe this Texas team will improve on their 2017 success as their season win total has been set at 8.5 wins across multiple markets. BetOnline has 100/-120, 5Dimes has -120/100 and BetDSI has -125/-105; Make sure you have multiple outlets to get the best number possible. Keep in mind that these win totals do not include bowl games or the conference championship game.
Texas will have experience on this team for Tom Herman’s second season as the Longhorns returns 14 starters for the 2018 season. The offense returns 7 starters, including both quarterbacks, their leading rusher and top 2 receivers from 2017. The defense also returns 7 starters but they do lose Malik Jefferson who led the team in tackles and sacks and earned the Big XII co-defensive player of the year award.
|Date||Opponent||BangTheBook Line||Expected Wins|
|9/29||@ Kansas State||-3||0.57|
|10/27||@ Oklahoma State||-2.5||0.54|
|11/10||@ Texas Tech||-9||0.75|
|11/23 (FRI)||@ Kansas||-23||1.00|
Total Expected Wins: 8.96
Last season, Texas averaged 29.5 points per game and 398.8 yards per game and both were just 7th best in the defensively challenged Big XII and the numbers should improve in 2018. Texas has 2 quarterbacks with experience. Shane Buechele has an incredibly accurate arm (64.3% completion percentage) and was the starter at the beginning of the 2017 season before injuries limited him. Sam Ehlinger took over and was a dynamic dual-threat quarterback. He finished the season as the team leader in rush attempts and a 57.5% completion percentage. Ehlinger looks to get the start but both are capable of leading this team. The offensive line loses some bodies but still have a combined 102 starts between them. The offensive line also gets a big boost as Herb Hand joins the coaching staff and is widely considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the country.
The backfield shared the workload in 2017 with 4 different players having 70+ attempts and 3 of those 4 are back. Daniel Young led the backfield for the final five games and ended the season as the running back with the most rushing yards but incoming freshman Keaontay Ingram will compete right away for the starting role. Regardless, the backfield has depth and should improve from averaging 3.6 yards per carry as a team. The receiving group will be one to watch. Collin Johnson (6’ 6”) and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey (6’ 4”) are big bodies that led the Longhorns last year in receptions and receiving yards. Between them and a couple of other speedsters, this group has big potential.
The Longhorn defense had a solid 2017 season after allowing 21.2 points per game and 366 yards per game, both were third best in the conference. They will have to overcome several key losses for 2018 but still have an experienced squad. The defensive line loses 1 key player (2017 Big XII defensive line player of the year winner Poona Ford) but have 3 seniors starting with additional depth ready to rotate in. They allowed just 107 rushing yards per game last season and will expect to match that success in 2018.
Including Malik Jefferson, 3 players with a combined 26 starts depart from the linebacker unit. This would seem detrimental to most programs, but Texas still have 3 players with at least 7 or more starts ready to step in. This group should compete with TCU for the best linebacker group in the conference. The secondary lose 2 starters including All-American safety DeShon Elliott who led the Big XII in interceptions in 2017. While there may be some drop off from a year ago, this unit still has experience and quality players. Kris Boyd is back and led the team with 15 pass breakups in 2017. This will still be one of the best units in the conference.
Nobody can give the Longhorns crap about an easy schedule in 2018 because they have one of the most difficult in the nation. They start with 3 non-conference games, none of which include an FCS school. They start on the road at Maryland and then follow with Tulsa and Southern Cal at home before they get into Big XII play. On the bright side, they do not have any true back-to-back road games for the season and they end the regular season with the potential weakest team in the conference, Kansas.
Win Total Pick: Lean Over 8.5 (BetOnline)
The BangTheBook lines have the Longhorns favored in 11 games (6 of which are by more than 1 possession) and the expected win total is 8.96 heading into the season. I’ll lean to over 8.5 win at even money with BetOnline. The defense should be able to repeat last year’s success and the offense will improve with the experience they have in a conference that lacks many quality defenses. This team has skill and experience and double-digit wins won’t be out of the question as they will be in the hunt for a spot in the Big XII Title game.
-END OF 2018 PREVIEW-
Charlie Strong’s unsuccessful three-year tenure at the helm of the Texas Longhorns is over and it’s time for a fresh start. Three years of negative records and only one Bowl game which they lost is just not enough when it comes to one of the most successful college football programs in the history of the game.
Former University of Houston’s head coach, Tom Herman accepted the job and we shall see if he can put the Longhorns back on track. He seems to have the knowledge and motivation to start another successful era in Austin but fans’ and boards’ big expectations might hurt him the same way they hurt Strong. We’ll see how it plays out.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN LONGHORNS
- Maryland Terrapins (Sep. 2)
- San Jose State Spartans (Sep. 9)
- at USC Trojans (Sep.16)
- OFF (Sep. 23)
- at Iowa State Cyclones (Sep. 28)
- Kansas State Wildcats (Oct. 7)
- Oklahoma Sooners (Oct. 14)
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (Oct. 21)
- at Baylor Bears (Oct. 28)
- at TCU Horned Frogs (Nov. 4)
- Kansas Jayhawks (Nov. 11)
- at West Virginia Mountaineers (Nov. 18)
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (Nov. 24)
According to 5dimes Sportsbook Odds for 2017 Season Win Totals: 7.5; Over +125; Under +105;
Texas Longhorns Offense
The Texas Longhorns offense ranked 5th in the conference and 16th nationally in total yards per game (491.7) and yards per play (5.90). Through the air they ranked 50th in the NCAA and 8th in the Big 12 with 252.0 yards per game and 7.52 yards per attempt. They have a promising young QB, Shane Buechele who posted some solid numbers in his freshman year.
He threw for 2958 total yards with a 60.4% completion percentage along with 21 TDs and 11 INTs, averaging 7.6 yards per attempt. He spread his throws over entire Longhorns’ receiving corps as eight players recorded at least 100 receiving yards. Armanti Foreman was the most often target with 34 receptions (420 yards) last year and as he enters his senior year, his goal must be to boost up those numbers.
Team ranked 17th in the NCAA in rushing yards per game thanks to the future Houston Texans’ RB D’Onta Foreman who recorded 2028 total yards averaging 6.3 yards per carry along with 15 TDs. This is a major setback for the team’s offense but with their strong offensive line, I’m sure that one of these young guys can step right in and lead the team in this aspect.
Texas Longhorns Defense
The Longhorns fit the Big 12 top offenses and poor defenses teams’ trend. Oppose to very potent offense, last season they ranked 94th in the NCAA in total defense with 448.3 yards per game and 5.63 yards per play allowed. Defense against the pass was awful as they averaged 258.5 yards per game and 7.66 yards per attempt allowed.
Team also allowed 12.61 yards per completion in average but they did record 10 INTs (5th in the conference). Leading tackler was sophomore LB Breckyn Hager with 65 total tackles while senior DB, Dylan Haines led as mentioned, very poor secondary unit with 4 INTs. Passing defense obviously needs improvement and it’s time for the younger guys to step in.
Certain aspects of special teams’ assignments were also a big problem, for example, team ranked 115th nationally in yards per kickoff return (18.40). Punt returning wasn’t much better as they averaged 6.50 yards per return (tied for 91st in the NCAA). Kickoff return defense stats were also nothing to be happy about as they averaged 21.14 yards per kickoff allowed.
Only bright spot of the special team’s last years’ performances was punt returns defense as they averaged only 4.89 yards per punt allowed (25th in the NCAA). Senior WR Jackorey Warrick led the team in kick and punt returns averaging 19.8 yards per kick return and 4.7 yards per punt return but this year someone else will have to take this responsibilities as Warrick graduated.
Charlie Strong is out and Thomas Herman is in. Former University of Houston Cougars head coach signed in as the new coach of the Longhorns on November 27th, 2016 and he will have his debut against Maryland Terrapins at Darell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin on September 2nd.
His 5-year contract is worth about % million USD on annual basis. Herman inherits offensively very solid team with a lots of potential and a young QB but his real challenge will be getting the Longhorn’s defense back in shape after couple of disgraceful seasons. We’ll see how he handles it.
Team’s departures and recruits
- D’Onta Foreman, junior RB, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was picked by Houston Texans in the third round as 89th overall pick.
- Kent Perkins, senior OL, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Cincinnati Bengals.
- Caleb Bluiett, senior TE, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Paul Boyette Jr., senior DT, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Oakland Raiders.
5, Tyrone Swoopes, senior TE, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Seattle Seahawks.
- Kyle Ashby, senior KS, graduated.
- Timothy Cole, senior LB, graduated.
- Trent Domingue, senior K, graduated.
- Sheroid Evans, senior CB, graduated.
- Bryce Cottrell, senior DE, graduated.
- Dylan Haines, senior S, graduated.
- Trey Holtz, senior QB, graduated.
- Alex Mercado, senior DT, graduated.
- Ty Templin, senior WR, graduated.
- Johmmy Tseng, senior LB, graduated.
- Kevin Vaccaro, senior S, graduated.
- Quincey Vasser, senior DE, graduated.
- Jacorey Warrick, senior WR graduated.
There were 3 enrolled players and 15 players who were signed after the letter of intent.
- Sam Ehlinger, DUAL, Westlake, Austin, TX;
- Toneil Carter, RB, Langham Creek, Houston, TX;
- Joshua Rowland, K, Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C., Perkinston, MS;
Signed Letter of intent:
- Damion Miller, WR, John Tyler, Tyler, TX;
- Gary Johnson, ILB, Dodge City C.C., Dodge City, KS;
- Taquon Graham, WDE, Temple, Temple, TX;
- Montrell Estell, ATH, Hooks, Hooks, TX;
- Josh Thompson, CB, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches, TX;
- Reese Leaitao, TE, Jenks, Jenks, OK;
- Marqez Bimage, WDE, Brenham, Brenham, TX;
- Kobe Boyce, CB, Lake Dallas, Lake Dallas, TX;
- Derek Kerstetter, OG, Reagan, San Antonio, TX;
- Daniel Young, RB, Westfield, Houston, TX;
- Jordan Pouncey, WR, Winter Park, Winter Park, FL;
- Cade Brewer, Lake Travis, Austin, TX;
- Samuel Cosmi, OT, Atascocita, Humble, TX;
- Max Cummins, SDE, All Saints Episcopal, Fort Worth, TX;
- Jamari Chisolm, DT, Northwestern Oklahoma A%M, Miami, OK;
Total wins predictions
The Texas Longhorns might be the sleepers of the Big 12 conference this season. They are talent-packed on the offense but their real problem is shady defense and special teams. If new coach Tom Herman can address these troubling aspects right away, team could go pretty high this year. Also, I think that Shane Buechele has an even better season in front of him and that’s why I would go with over 7.5 total season’s wins here.
Total wins prediction: 7.5, Over +125.