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Texas ranked outside of Top 10 in Athlon Sports’ preseason Top 25 rankings

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A difficult early-season stretch will set the 2019 narrative for the Longhorns.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Texas vs Oklahoma Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Athlon Sports released their preseason Top 25 rankings on Monday and the Texas Longhorns came in at No. 11, one spot below the Texas A&M Aggies.

“Texas made considerable progress in coach Tom Herman’s second year in Austin,” author Steven Lassan writes. “The next step? Win the Big 12 title and earn a spot in the CFB Playoff. Both goals are certainly within reach this fall, but the Longhorns have work to do on both sides of the ball.”

Reloading on the defensive side shouldn’t be a problem as Lassan believes it’ll be a “minimal” drop off from last year’s unit talent-wise, but the question remains as to how quickly those replacements will emerge under Todd Orlando’s defensive scheme. They will be tested early against LSU, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma.

If Texas goes 2-1 during that early season stretch, winning every October and November road game (TCU, Baylor, and Iowa State) will be a must for any playoff hopes.

Oklahoma (No. 6) and Iowa State (No. 24) were the only other Big 12 teams included in the rankings. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio State made out the top five.