2018 Texas Longhorns Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 7-6
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 8.5
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
There were several prognosticators that expected Tom Herman to glide into Austin last season and lead the Longhorns back to national prominence immediately. It didn't work out that way. Now in Year 2 we are again left to separate hype from happenstance regarding one of the nation's premier college football programs.
Make no mistake about it, Herman is going to lead Texas back to glory. He is an excellent coach, and he has already done a fantastic job recruiting. It's going to take time. But how much time? Last year Herman had an exceptionally experienced team, including 10 returning starters on defense. Even with that crop they needed a bowl win over Missouri to finish above .500.
That said, the Longhorns were ultra-competitive last season. They really were just a few breaks away from being 10-3. They lost to No. 4 USC on the road in double-OT. They lost to No. 10 Oklahoma State in overtime as well. Throw in a five-point loss to eventual league champ Oklahoma and a four-point loss to Texas Tech and you can see how close Texas was to a breakout.
Herman again has a slew of returning players. Seven starters are back on both sides of the ball. The Longhorns have their two leading rushers, two leading receivers, top two quarterbacks, and two three-year starters on the offensive line. Defensively, five of their front six are back and four of those guys are three-year starters. Two more three-year starters man the corners, and this team has 13 seniors projected to start.
Throw in a host of gifted young tailbacks, and the Longhorns have skill and experience in all the right places.
I mentioned that they have their top two quarterbacks, Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele, returning. But we still don't know if either of these guys are any good. Herman hasn't named a starter heading into fall camp. And neither quarterback could stay healthy and seize the job last year. So how high can we get on the Longhorns when they don't have a clear-cut leader under center?
Texas lost two of its first three games last year, including an upset home loss to Maryland as a 17-point favorite in Herman's debut. The Longhorns will get a crack at revenge against both teams, traveling to Maryland in the opener and hosting USC on Sept. 15. After that, Texas has only four true road games, and one of those is at lowly Kansas.
Texas is a pretty public college football team. As such, it is always tough to find value on the Longhorns. And I'm a little wary of jumping on the bandwagon too early with this group. But I think that they will go 'over' this year. Let's say they split those two tough nonconference games - and I think they will be favored in both and could definitely sweep the pair. We could also pencil in a loss to Oklahoma, another game that I think Texas can absolutely win without it being a surprise. They get WVU at home, and their two toughest road games are at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State. They would have to lose two of those three games in order to stay 'under'.
Right now it looks like it is more likely that Texas wins a game that some people might not expect them to - USC, Oklahoma or at Oklahoma State - than it does that they will flop. They have seven games prior to their Oct. 20 bye. I expect them to win at least five of those games. After that, they can lose to either OSU or WVU and still stay above this win total. I really like the Longhorns to progress this season, and I would absolutely play them 'over'.
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