I am proud to announce that this year's football magazine is officially available for purchase online and at newsstands across the state of Texas. After five good years as the Eyes of Texas, the biggest change this year is that the annual has a new publisher, Lindy's Sports, and with it a new name: In The Huddle - Texas 2012.
Beyond the name change and some stylistic differences, the core layout is the same depth and breadth that readers have come to expect from the series: three sections, 112 pages stuffed full of color photographs, stats, diagrams, and content. Lots and lots of content. Exclusively devoted to Texas Longhorns football.
As always, the opening section of In The Huddle - Texas 2012 preps you for the upcoming season with a position-by-position roster breakdown of the Longhorns roster (Wescott Eberts), a preview of every opponent on the schedule this fall (PB), your annual travel guide for this year's road games (Cory "54b" Davies), and an excellent article on the "Texas Gang Or Die" recruiting class of 2012 (Wescott).
The magazine cranks up the analysis in the middle section, beginning with my headlining article asking if Texas is ready to contend for the title. My conclusion: with some luck -- absolutely, and while the odds are long even for the best teams each year, it's great to feel good about the direction of the program again. (Of course, I'm also the guy who put Garrett Gilbert on the cover of the 2010 magazine with the headline "The Next Great Texas Quarterback," so, uh, caveat emptor.)
The "Program Analysis" continues with an timely study of the reconstituted Big 12 (written by Cody Cheek, aka "txtwstr" at BON), followed by an astute analysis looking at the 10 players most important to a 10-win season (by Ian Boyd, aka "Nickel Rover at BC), and then a great introduction to Jake Raulerson and the recruiting class of 2013 (Wescott, of course). The middle third of the magazine then closes with a review of Texas' two new coordinators after season number one. Inspired by Manny Diaz's professed love for advanced metrics, I teamed up with football stats guru Bill Connelly (of Football Outsiders and SB Nation) to evaluate Manny Diaz and his first UT defense with a comprehensive set of advanced metrics. (Conclusion: the Longhorn D was even better than you realized.) And in a typically outstanding effort, Scott Gerlach ("Longhorn Scott" at BC) penned a detailed review of Bryan Harsin's inaugural effort. (Conclusion: it's a work-in-progress, but the progress portends for exciting times ahead.)
Many of the very best articles in the previous five editions came from the final section of the magazine, and this year is no exception. The "Longhorns History & Traditions" section kicks off with an article that will mean a lot to me personally for years to come, as I was fortunate enough to have the honor of spending two afternoons with American hero and Longhorn legend Frank Denius. Truthfully, the entire 112 pages of the magazine could have been devoted to Mr. Denius's amazing life story, but Tim Taylor did an absolutely superb job capturing what a remarkable man he is in a single article (as will surprise no one who receives Tim's epic weekly emails).
In the next article Billy Becker (aka "whills" at BON) says good-bye to Texas A&M with a wonderfully vivid historical wrap of the century-old series, from Texas' dominance in the early days, to the most fitting end to the series imaginable, as Justin Tucker's field goal split the uprights as the clock on the final game ran out. And last but not least, the inseparable "40AS" duo (Jeff Asher and Abram Orlansky) provide readers with a really engaging back-and-forth discussion from the perspective of one person who had the Longhorn Network for its first year on air (Jeff, who via Verizon FiOS in Washington DC), and one who was shut out (Abram, living in Boston last year).
All in all, I'm very happy with the way this year's magazine turned out, and grateful to everyone who made it possible. Thanks to the outstanding contributors who deliver the in depth content that makes the magazine what it is, and to all of you for supporting this website and the magazine through your readership.
I'm officially excited for football season, and with the magazine hitting newsstands, we're officially closing in on fall camp. Horns up. Hook 'em.