Posted on August 27, 2019, by Travis Pulver

For some reason, the media has been dying to declare that the Texas Longhorns are ‘back’ for years—and they have always been wrong. However, since they were 10-4 last season and finished inside the top ten, it could be said they were ‘back’ last season.

But for the Longhorns, being ‘back’ isn’t about just a single winning season. It is about achieving a level of excellence that is sustainable—and they haven’t done that, yet. They could, however, take a step in that direction this season.

Via Wikimedia Commons

The oddsmakers at DraftKings.com seem to think the Longhorns are on the right track:

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·        To play in Big 12 championship: +120; Win the Big 12: +500

·        Make playoffs: Yes +800; No -1430

·        To win the national championship: +6600

·        Win total: Nine—Over +110; Under -134

Pretty good odds, right? But just how good are the Longhorns going to be? Offensively, they were good but far from great last year. They could generate some points and yards every week but were considered average in the conference. This year, with Sam Ehlinger back, the offense has a good base. But he is going to need someone to step up in the backfield and at receiver.

While he has some talent on the offensive line, there will be some new pieces this year—which often means the first game or two may be sloppy.   

Defensively, they were not a great unit and only have three guys returning this year. But the word on the talent on the roster has been pretty positive. However, as they battle through the growing pains that come with a lot of new, young starters, the offense may need to carry the team (if it can).

So—are they back? If so (or if not), how should you bet?

Until we see everyone play, it is hard to judge just how good or bad anyone is. But from what we know of the Longhorns and their competition this season, Texas should beat Louisiana Tech, Rice, West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State, and probably Texas Tech– which leaves Baylor, Iowa State, TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and LSU.

They are not going to beat LSU or Oklahoma. As for TCU and Oklahoma State—with the new guys they have to work in this year, Texas should have the edge in those two games. But against Baylor and Iowa State, they are probably going to be underdogs.

So, it would not be shocking to see them finish 8-4 or 9-3 this year—which means go with the under. Texas is a good team, but they still have holes of their own to fill.

A 9-3 record will likely be good enough to get them into the title game (so take them to play in the title game at +120). But don’t bank on them winning that game; Oklahoma is just too good. That, of course, means they are not going to make the playoffs or win the national title.

In the end, can we say that Texas is indeed back? No. Of course not—but they are on the right track.     

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