The BON staff prediction post for the Kansas football game last season began like this:
The people of Kansas are probably quality Midwesterners, but let’s be serious, Kansas is a basketball school. Even with the struggles of the Longhorns this season, Texas should dominate this game.
Ouch. The Jayhawks would go on to defeat the Longhorns 24-21 in overtime in perhaps the most embarrassing Texas loss in history.
We learned a valuable lesson from the Kansas game in that anything can happen in college football, especially if you are the Texas Longhorns. But could you really blame us for thinking Texas would run all over a Jayhawk team that had only one win?
Despite last season's upset, BON is confident heading into the 2017 Texas-Kansas game that the 'Horns will win comfortably this time around against a one-win Jayhawk team.
Here are predictions and more in this week's roundtable.
What did we learn from Texas' disappointing showing at TCU?
Cody Daniel, co-editor: I wouldn’t say that we learned anything we didn’t know already, other than that Texas won’t be getting over the hump this season. Its four ranked opponents are in the rearview and the ‘Horns fell to all four, with each loss looking a little more concerning than the last.
Wes Crochet, contributor: We already know how poor the offensive line has been, and that was reaffirmed. I also learned that I really don't like how the offense stops and looks towards the sideline for pre-snap adjustments during drives. It kills any energy the offense has built up and lets the defense settle in prior to the play.
Gerald Goodridge, contributor: I don’t know if we learned anything new, but it reinforced that Texas is still a year or two off from being truly competitive with top-teams. With consistency up front and on offense, they are able to get things moving in the right direction.
Anthony Rizzo, contributor: We learned that TCU is a legit college football playoff contender and that Texas just simply isn’t ready to win a big game yet. The ‘Horns got outplayed from start to finish as the stifling TCU defense dominated. The offense just can’t have success against defenses like that with the offensive line they’re dealing with.
I asked it a few weeks ago, but I think it's a relevant question right now -- does Texas make a bowl? What do the 'Horns need to happen to win two of their next three to gain eligibility?
Cody: I think that will come down to Texas Tech. I️ think the ‘Horns beat KU and then fall to WVU to sit at 5-6 entering the season finale. The defense is sure to show up, but the offense simply has to score much more of Texas is going to make a bowl.
Wes: A few weeks ago, I said it was a coin flip and I still feel that way. To win, Texas has to score more points. It's that simple. Its defense can keep this team in games, its offense can win or lose this team games.
Gerald: If we count Kansas as a win this weekend, I think Texas has what it is to win one of their last two. If the defense shows up, and the 'Horns get Shackelford and Connor Williams back on the offensive line, Texas can create a pocket for the quarterback and get the offense moving.
Anthony: Yes. Take care of business against Kansas and Texas Tech at home. West Virginia and Texas Tech may have explosive offenses but the Texas defense has proven they can shutdown an offense like that (Oklahoma State). All three games are winnable but it wouldn’t come to a surprise to me if they fail to win two of the three games or win all three of the games.
Tom Herman said this week he is "100 percent certain" that he wants to retain all his assistant coaches next year. Do you agree with this sentiment? Why or why not?
Cody: I would have to say yes. For as much heat that’s been directed towards Tim Beck, he hasn’t been dealt anything close to a good hand this season with seemingly countless injuries. And as Herman said, at some point, there needs to be some consistency on the coaching staff.
Wes: I don't like this because I haven't liked the decision making I've seen on the offensive side of the ball most of the season. I get that Herman wants consistency, though. Again, this next offseason will obviously be a make or break for the offensive assistants, and I know some fans feel like that extra opportunity is too much as is.
Gerald: As critical as I have been of the play-calling, I think every offense looks better when the offensive line is not depleted. I think if Herman can lead Beck to calling plays more suited to his personnel I can get on board.
Anthony: We’ll see how Tim Beck does these next three weeks and I’ll answer that. But, as of right now I don’t agree with that. Tim Beck has to prove something the rest of the season.
The big news this week for Texas football is that Holton Hill has been suspended the rest of the year for a violation of team rules. How does this change Texas' defensive outlook going forward and who needs to step up in the secondary to make up for Hill's absence?
Cody: It’s certainly not ideal with Texas still needing to play Will Grier and Nic Shimonek and their explosive offenses as WVU and TTU. Hill was shutting that side of the field down and with Davis now a starter, I’d expect teams to test him early and often.
Wes: This stings, it really does. Hill was a player in the secondary you could rely on and who contributed in both coverage and with tackling ball-carriers. There's no other way to put this other than this is a huge disappointment and another gut punch to this roster.
Gerald: It’s impossible for the defense to look the same in a league like the Big 12 after losing your best defensive back. However, I think that the pass rush generated by the talent in Texas’s defensive front would make any secondary look like a better unit.
Anthony: Kris Boyd has to turn to into a somewhat lockdown No. 1 corner. With DaVante Davis and Josh Thompson filling in for Hill’s absence, Boyd has to step up and be the No. 1. I’m excited to see how the freshman Thompson plays at corner.
Who would start at quarterback, running back, and kicker this week if you were in charge?
Cody: I would go with Sam Ehlinger, Toneil Carter, and at kicker, I’d just see what walk-on Chris Naggar can bring to the table.
Wes: QB: If healthy, Ehlinger. If not, then Buechele. RB: Daniel Young and (if healthy) Toniel Carter splitting time. Kicker: Since I don't watch practice, hard for me to say. Let's shake it up and go with Mitchell Becker.
Gerald: Buechele played well enough against TCU, Carter has looked good any time he has touched the ball, and this late in the season it’s hard for me to switch to a kicker that hasn’t had an attempt yet this year.
Anthony: Shane Buechele at quarterback, Toneil Carter at running back (if he’s 100%), and Josh Rowland at kicker. There’s no point to risk anymore of an injury with Ehlinger against a team like Kansas. Let him rest another week and let Buechele run the offense.
The Longhorns will be huge favorites against the one-win Jayhawks, but you play the game for a reason. In what scenario does Kansas defeat Texas for the second year in a row?
Cody: A few big plays on offense, maybe a big play on special teams and the Texas offense struggling like it has the past couple of weeks and turning the ball over.
Wes: The defense has a very uncharacteristically bad game in Orlando's first season and the offense is completely inept.
Gerald: After beating Texas in Lawrence a year ago, it would complete the dream career for a lot of Kansas players to best Texas in Austin. If KU comes out hyped up, and Texas plays flat it could spell disaster.
Anthony: No possible scenario. This is enough of a well-coached team to beat up on lesser opponents like Kansas. They did it against San Jose State and Baylor, so they should be able to do it against Kansas.
Your prediction for Saturday's game?
Cody: Texas 24, Kansas 9
Wes: Texas 35, Kansas 3
Gerald: Texas comes out and takes care of business 35-3.
Anthony: Texas 45, Kansas 7.
BONUS: Texas hoops begins Friday...after a lackluster season last year, what will be the key for the Longhorns to bounce back and how good do you think Shaka's team will be this season?
Cody: Texas has its point guard in Matt Coleman and has its potential No. 1 pick big man in Mohamed Bamba. To be as successful as it can be, though, Texas needs its shooters to actually hit shots in games far more consistently than last season. My expectation is a 20-win season and second or third place finish in the Big 12.
Wes: Texas basketball has to flow on offense and rebound well. In previous seasons, the offense has struggled to play with consistency. That should improve this season with the addition of a true point guard in Matt Coleman, an exceptional passing big who can score in Dylan Ssetkowski, and the big freak at center in Mo Bamba. This Texas basketball team absolutely has a chance to make some noise, it just will have to prove it can actually play well as a unit early on.
Gerald: With a ton of talent infusion and a down year for the rest of the conference, I think Texas has a legitimate shot to compete for a conference title. Or at least be good enough to ruin someone’s year.
Anthony: The addition of Matt Coleman will be huge as the ‘Horns have a true point guard again. Having a true point guard like Coleman makes everyone around him better. The key is on junior guards Eric Davis Jr. and Kerwin Roach Jr. They have to step up, make shots and be the players they were recruited to be. Mo Bamba is going to be fun to watch every single game. This team will break Kansas’ 13 consecutive Big 12 Titles streak and win the Big 12. You heard it here first.