Over/Under 8.5 Wins () vs Texas Longhorns ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : First Game: Maryland Terrapins vs. Texas Longhorns 12:00 PM
Location : Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 8.5 Wins vs Texas Longhorns
Texas Longhorn fans have been looking for the answer in keeping the program’s success going after Mac Brown left the team back in 2013 and after going through the painful Charlie Strong era the Longhorns may finally have their answer. Tom Herman didn’t take the team to the Big 12 championship in his first season but he took a step forward as he led the Longhorns to a bowl victory over Missouri in the Texas Bowl. Herman’s offensive scheme fits perfectly into the Big 12 style of play as he likes to employ a high-flying air-raid attack, something he was so successful with at his previous spot (Houston). The offense has a ton of talent and we should see this unit take a step forward as their young inexperienced guys went through their growing pains last season. The Texas Longhorns bread and butter last season was their defense as Todd Orlando had the best unit in the Big 12 but he will have to insert some young talent this season after losing a hand full of All-Americans to the NFL draft. Tom Herman has the advantage of being in charge of a college football powerhouse which leaves him with an unlimited budget, amazing facilities, and a rich program history and that plays a huge role on the recruiting trail. The Texas Longhorns were able to attract one of the best recruiting classes in the nation this past season as they ranked 3rd in the nation with two 5-star recruits and seventeen 4-stars on board. The two best recruits for Herman were the #1 and #3 safeties in the nation as Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster elected to stay in-state rather than going to Alabama, Georgia, or USC.
Over/Under 8.5 Wins's Latest Performance :
The Texas Longhorns have been in the national spotlight ever since 1998 as they have won a national championship and produced Heisman trophy finalist but ever since 2013, the program has lacked success. Herman was a big hire for the Longhorns and he proved why as he turned around a 5-7 2016 season to a bowl victory over an SEC squad in the Missouri Tigers. There is a lot of hope for the Longhorns moving forward and if they can put their offense and defense together they could be a Big 12 championship contender which is why oddsmakers set the over/under at 8.5 wins.
Expectations Are High
The Texas Longhorns expect to return back to a national contender in a year span but as we have seen with so many programs it takes a while for a new coach to get his feet under him. The Longhorns will have a target on their back this season given the hype of the program entering this season and they will have a tough non-conference matchup week 3 as they will see USC. Another game that could potentially be sneaky for Herman and company is a neutral site matchup against the Maryland Terrapins to open the season as that should be one of the most improved teams in college football. Luckily for the Longhorns, they have the advantage of playing their neutral site game against rival Oklahoma Sooners in their home state as they will play the game in Dallas. Texas will also host TCU and West Virginia which should benefit them considering the fact that those are two programs who will push the Longhorns for the #2 spot int he Big 12. If Texas is able to survive their non-conference schedule there is no doubt in my mind that this storied program should be playing in the Big 12 championship game.
Texas Longhorns's Latest Performance :
One of the reasons that the Longhorns struggled offensively last season may be due to the 2 quarterback system that Herman deployed as Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele both saw time as the head signal-caller. The Longhorns know they need to pick one of the two QBs moving forward if they want any type of chemistry between the quarterback and WR positions and Ehlinger looks like the favorite to win the job. Ehlinger is the younger of the two quarterbacks as he will be entering his sophomore season and he has shown dual-threat capabilities as he led the team in passing yards with 1,915 as well as in rushing yards with 381, expect Herman to choose Ehlinger as he can build for the future. Whoever is taking the starting snaps for the Longhorns will be in good shape as they will be surrounded by the two top pass catchers from 2017. Collin Johnson is the best playmaker on the Longhorns roster as the 6’6 junior compiled 765 yards and 2 TDs last year, and he will be joined by fellow junior Lil’Jordan Humphery who added in 431 yards and 1 touchdown. The run game will need to take a step forward in 2018 if they want to keep their offense unpredictable but luckily Herman will return youngsters Daniel Young and Toneil Carter who combined for 625 yards and 6 TDs in their freshmen season. Todd Orlando had his defense in top form last year and although he is one of the best defensive coordinators in college football he will have to insert a ton of new faces at every level of the unit. The linebacker corp will have to replace the Big 12 defensive player of the year in Malik Jefferson but they still have one of the deepest units in the conference. Orlando returns both Gary Johnson and Malcolm Roach who combined for 90 tackles and 10 TFL last season but expect the upperclassmen to take a step forward. The secondary has a huge void to fill after DeShon Elliot (6 INTs) departed Austin for the NFL but luckily Herman has recruited well enough to keep the momentum moving forward. Herman didn’t only sign the #1 and #3 safeties in the 2018 recruiting class but also the #6 which will provide depth and options for Orlando. Kris Boyd was one of the best defensive backs in the Big 12 last season as the senior had 15 pass deflections and 2 interceptions and the experienced Texas native will have to bridge the gap for the incoming freshmen. As much as Longhorn fans want to stress out about the lack of experience on the defense they should be alright with Orlando at the helm and the abundance of talent they have compiled.
Player To Watch
Tre Watson RB, Grad Transfer
Tom Herman has consistently explored ways to shake up the roster he has with more talent as he has hit the grad transfer market hard over his 2-year tenure in Austin and he may have made yet another big splash with Watson. As I stated the Longhorns lacked any type of ground game last season as their top rusher was a QB but Watson adds experience and talent to a young unit. Watson played in 31 games during his time at California where he rushed for 1,390 yards in those games which is more than the whole running back unit combined. Watson won’t only play a role in the ground game but also through the air as the 5’9 transfer gives Herman another weapon to work with which is why the 22-year-old is my player to watch.
How Over/Under 8.5 Wins & Texas Longhorns Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 8.5 Wins -110
Under 8.5 Wins -110
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- Maryland- W
9/8- Tulsa- W
9/15- USC- L
9/22- TCU- W
9/29- @ Kansas State- W
10/6- Oklahoma- W
10/13- Baylor- W
10/24- @ Oklahoma State- W
11/3- West Virginia- L
11/10- @ Texas Tech- W
11/17- Iowa State- W
11/23- @ Kansas- W
Overall Record: 10-2
Against The Spread Selection: Over 8.5 Wins -110
My reason for the pick :
The Texas Longhorns are officially back under Tom Herman as they will play in the Big 12 championship as well as seek a New Years Six Bowl, something that has become ancient for this storied program. The Longhorns went through growing pains on the offensive side of the ball last season which essentially hurt the team’s success but most of those guys were freshmen and sophomores last season which tells me they will be much better with another year under their belt. Herman will also stick to 1 QB this season which should benefit the flow of this uptempo offense and Ehlinger is a solid dual-threat who could cause havoc on the Big 12 defenses. I have the Longhorns crushing the win total as they should be able to beat the Oklahoma Sooners on their home turf as well as beat up on TCU. The two games that concern me is USC as they have proven to be the Longhorns biggest enemy over the last decade and then West Virginia is a team who could catch the Longhorns by surprise as they should be much better in 2018 with a potent offense. Regardless the Texas Longhorns will crush the 8.5 win total as they will push the double-digit mark.