Stewart Mandel's (SI) pre-preseason projections:
Mark Schlabach (ESPN) pre-preseason projections:
So it looks like Texas is gonna start around #2 next year in the polls. This is nice, however preseason rankings never got you anywhere.
You know looking back at 2008 it's such a good story. The perseverance, the grit of this team was great to see. They never backed down or gave in. They always came to play, the effort was always there.
As much had been made about "Just wait until 2009", 2008 turned out to be one of the best seasons ever. Texas started under the radar for the first half of the season, built a lot of confidence, and piggybacked on some senior leadership who's worth we may not yet understand. They formed a solid core for a winning team and had great chemistry.
What can we expect next season? Undoubtably missing a Title game berth would be an absolute heartbreak. This Texas team faces a new challenge next season; enormous expectations. This team will probably get the most preseason hype since the 05-06 dream team. When you think about how special 2008 turned out, you have to wonder if you can just bottle that and recreate it the next season. Granted VY and co. did it and Mack has been around a long time. This offseason is of utmost importance and will be a very delicate time. Between now and September, the legacy of this team will be brewing.
So what are the major concerns facing 2009? Can you lose Quan "first down" Cosby and be the same team. Orakpo, Miller, Melton, Lewis are all gone. We also say farewell to some solid role players Ryan Palmer and Rashad Bobino who weren't the most talented but held down the fort admirably. No doubt there is some exciting young blood being infused now, but it's hard to say what the results of the turnover will be.