Texas Longhorns Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Tom Herman is the latest coaching genius. He has been in charge of a team for just two years, but he worked some miracles in Houston - both on the field and in recruiting - and he now has the keys to one of the iconic programs in the country. Can he prove that he is up to the immense challenge, or will he join the scrap heap of other geniuses to rise further and faster than they can deliver on? The good news for him is that the shoes he is filling left behind by Charlie Strong aren't exactly big. Herman could be just mediocre for the Texas Longhorns and he'd be lauded as a hero is comparison.
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2016 in a Nutshell
Strong changed much of his coaching staff last year in a last grasp at relevance, but it wasn't enough. The team was simply bad, and they gave up as they realized the obvious - this wasn't going to get better, and the coach was a dead man walking. Things started out well with a double-overtime win over a Notre Dame team ranked No. 10 at the time. Unfortunately, we didn't know just how bad Notre Dame was, so the game was given more significance than it deserved. Texas went from unranked all the way to No. 11, and they stayed there after beating UTEP. Then reality slapped them hard in the face. They lost at Cal and Oklahoma State and then to Oklahoma. They beat Iowa State but then lost again at Kansas State. They showed a bit of pride beating a Baylor team ranked eighth at the time and then won again at Texas Tech. That lifted them to 5-4, and a bowl game seemed at least possible. But they didn't win again. West Virginia beat them. They did the seemingly impossible and lost to Kansas. And then they didn't even try in their finale against TCU. A record of 5-7 is an easy way to get a coach fired - especially when the coach should have been fired a year sooner.
Key Additions and Departures
The good news for Herman is that he hasn't lost much. QB Shane Buechele is back, and he has real upside. The line has real depth. Running back D'Onta Foreman was the lone drafted Longhorn last year, but they have options to replace him. And last year's top three receivers are back - though they hardly lit the world on fire last year. That's a lot to work with. The biggest concern, though, is at offensive coordinator. Major Applewhite did a great job in the role in Houston, but he is the head man there now. In his place Herman brought in Tim Beck from Ohio State. It's not just because I'm a Michigan fan that I think Beck is far from good. Tears were not spilled in Columbus when he left, and I'm not sure he is what Herman needs.
On defense the story is similar. They return huge numbers of players in all three phases of the defense. The unit was pretty terrible last year, but they were really young, and will be much better coached this year.
Herman got a late start on recruiting, and Strong obviously wasn't able to do too much because everyone knew he was doomed. That has led to a recruiting class that fell outside of the Top 25. That won't happen again for Herman.
Texas Longhorns Schedule Analysis
The schedule could certainly be worse for Herman. He is likely to open with four wins in the first six, though the two losses at USC and against Oklahoma are likely to be fairly decisive. If he were to pull off an upset in either, though, fans would start building statues for him. Oklahoma State at home is next, which is going to be a tough game, but Texas could shock them if Herman is able to get things rolling. They could win at Baylor, and the game at TCU is a total coin toss. And with Kansas, West Virginia and Texas Tech to close out the season they are capable of winning their last three. Eight wins seems reasonable, and a couple more than that would not be at all impossible. Herman changed the mindset in Houston as much as anything, If he can do the same here, and if the young players develop a bit, they could be a surprise.
2017-18 Texas Longhorns Betting Odds and Trends
Texas is at +4000 to win the national title at BetOnline , which has them behind 16 other teams. That feels quite ambitious, but that's inevitable for a team as public as Texas is. The spirit of the fan base has been beaten down for a decade, so any glimmer of hope is going to cause them to go insane. At +450 they are the third choice to win the Big 12 behind heavy favorites Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. That also feels overly ambitious. And Shane Buechele is at +3300 to win the Heisman. I'll generously say that that feels like a year to soon, because it would be rude to really say what I think of that price. Oddsmakers love their chances in the opener against Maryland, though, and I can't disagree for once - they are favored by 17.5 .
2017-18 Texas Longhorns Predictions and College Football Picks
Herman was an A-plus hire, and he will get things done here. And the team will be solidly better than last year. Patience will be important, though, and people need to not panic at every setback or overreact to every win. In other words, they need to do the exact opposite of what they did during the Strong era. He'll win eight or nine games and show promise, but this is just the beginning.
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