Kickoff: November 26th
Location: Darrell K Royal — Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
Conference: Big 12 (soon to be SEC)
Head Coach: Steve Sarkisian (second year)
Last Year’s Record: 5-7
Notable Outcomes: Lost to Baylor, 31-24; Lost to Kansas in overtime, 57-56; Lost to Oklahoma 55-48
Key Losses: Casey Thompson, QB; Derek Kerstetter, RT; Cameron Dicker, K
Key Returners: Bijan Robinson, RB; Xavier Worthy, WR; DeMarvion Overshown, LB
Strength: Wide receiver. The Longhorns have a ton of returning talent at wide receiver, led by Xavier Worthy who had an eye popping 12 touchdowns last season. They also return Jordan Whittington, their second leading receiver, and add talented Wyoming transfer Isaiah Neyor (although, after my initial draft of this article, news broke that Neyor tore his ACL at the Longhorns’ first scrimmage, so it’s likely he’ll be out for the season. However, as Baylor and Texas play late it’s maybe remotely possible he’s around by then).
Weakness: Defensive line. The Longhorns only return one defensive line starter from a year ago in Keondre Coburn. Everyone else is relatively fresh. While that is likely a weakness, that might not actually be the worst thing because Texas’s defense was pretty atrocious last year. With Gary Patterson joining the Texas coaching staff (lol), I’ll be curious to see if the Longhorns make any strides on the defensive side of the ball.
Way Too Early Prediction: Texas’s season absolutely ran off the rails last year, as they went on a six game losing streak including a hilarious loss to Kansas, faced allegations of a pet monkey attack, and ultimately missed a bowl game. The Longhorns will certainly be looking to turn that around and, on paper in terms of recruits and talents, should be able to do that. The problem, though, as we’ve learned year after year, is that it isn’t the talent that’s the issue at Texas but the culture. Just read one of Texas’s defensive lineman’s own words. If there’s anything Baylor doesn’t have under head coach Dave Aranda, it’s an effort problem. So while usually teams tend to figure themselves out throughout the year, I actually think playing Texas last game of the season is a huge plus for Baylor. If recent history is any indicator, the Longhorns tend to start out strong and then fall apart by the end of the year. I like Baylor in this one.