Texas Longhorns Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Tom Herman's first season at Texas was not what some fans surely dreamed of. He went 13-1 in his debut at Houston but just 7-6 at the much more prestigious school. But if you look beyond the record you see a program that had a whole lot that needed to be fixed, and you saw some progress - real, significant progress - under Herman. Now the question is whether he can keep the train moving forward and what that will look like this year. He has 29 players on his roster that started at some point last year, so experience isn't an issue. And his defense was mostly very strong last year. But the offense was often a hot mess, and it isn't certain that it will be dramatically better. Herman was the best hire of last year, and the sky is the limit for him with the resources of Texas behind him. However, as much as fans of the program don't want to hear it, patience may be the key to it all.
2017 in a Nutshell
Last season was like riding a roller coaster for the team, with each up matched by a down. They opened up with a very ugly home loss to a Maryland team that wound up being pretty terrible. They allowed 51 points to the Terps, so their defensive strength had not yet emerged. But the next week they beat San Jose State 56-0 in one of the biggest laughers any team played all season. They had a very near miss, taking then hugely-overranked No. 4 USC to double overtime in L.A. before losing, and then they rebounded to beat Iowa State and Kansas State. But then they got beaten by Oklahoma and lost to Oklahoma State in overtime. They beat up Baylor then were beaten up by TCU. They beat Kansas and West Virginia soundly - and the Mountaineers were ranked at the time - but then somehow lost to Texas Tech at home to close out the season. They capped things off on the right note by beating Missouri convincingly in the Texas Bowl in a game in which four draft-bound players chose not to play. That created some momentum they hope to carry into this year. They had four losses by five points or less, so they don't need to do that much more than they did last year to have a vastly better result.
Key Additions and Departures
The offense was mostly very young last year, so they return largely intact, and they have plenty of upside. The only noteworthy loss was guard Connor Williams, who was a second-round pick of the Cowboys. The team has some line depth, though, and they added Rice transfer Calvin Anderson after the player was heavily courted by several programs, so they should be fine. At running back and receiver the added experience should help ease some of the rawness issues of last year, and at quarterback they remain young but promising.
On defense they lost Poona Ford, the top lineman in the conference, but they still have the makings of an excellent line. They lost linebacker Malik Jefferson to the Bengals, but they still have a lot of depth, and freshman Ayodele Adeoye is getting a whole lot of buzz. Two key members of the secondary are gone in DeShon Elliott and Holton Hill, but again they have a lot of young depth. More than anywhere else, it is the secondary in which new recruits are expected to have an early impact for the team.
All the coaching staff from last year is back, and the team made a bold move with the new 10th coaching spot. They poached offensive line coach Herb Hand from Auburn, making him co-offensive coordinator and co-offensive line coach. It's a good addition in an area that needed support.
Biggest Area of Concern
The offense. They were far from consistent last year, and the same basic pieces are back for more. Experience should help, but how much of a leap will they take? And what holes will be exposed? In the Big 12 it's a struggle to compete without a strong offense, so this has to be an area in which we see real improvement.
Texas Longhorns Schedule Analysis
The nonconference season features two shots at revenge. They open at Maryland in a game they simply must win to prove that the hope is real, and they host USC in the third game. In between they get a breather against Tulsa. The Big 12 schedule obviously features all nine teams, and it's reasonably balanced - no consecutive true road games, and no truly terrifying stretches of games. They also get TCU, West Virginia and Iowa State at home and Oklahoma on a neutral field, so geography is mostly in their favor. There certainly could have been worse schedules than the one Texas faces.
2018-19 Texas Longhorns Betting Odds and Trends
Bovada has Texas at +4000 to win the national title, which has them tied with Miami as the 11th choice. Even the most passionate fan would be hard pressed to argue that that is anything short of totally ridiculous - proof of the impact of uneducated public enthusiasm on betting lines. They are the second choice to win the Big 12 at +290, which again feels optimistic. QB Sam Ehlinger, who hasn't even secured the starting job, is at +3300 to win the Heisman. The season win total is set at 8.5, with the "over" solidly favored.
2018-19 Texas Longhorns Predictions and College Football Picks
I respect Herman immensely, but the enthusiasm of bettors is getting ahead of itself. He has all sorts of questions on offense and promise that still needs to be groomed on defense. They should take a step forward from last year, but the conference remains challenging. Bowl eligibility isn't a concern, but anything from six to 10 regular-season wins seems possible without too much of a shock. This is a team that we need to see in action before we can get a real sense of where they are - as opposed to where their fans clearly want them to be.
Doc's Sports is offering a great deal for new clients - you can get $60 worth of free college football picks with no obligation. No credit card is needed, and you will never have to deal with a salesman. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free . Also, get three handicappers for the price of one when you sign up for a full-season football package! Click Here for details . Get free weekly free college football picks at Doc's Sports free football picks page.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Get all of this Weeks College Football Picks
Get all of this Weeks guaranteed Expert College Football Picks