Friday’s win over the Kansas State Wildcats gave the Texas Longhorns a 5-7 record, short of the six wins necessary for bowl eligibility, but with 10 bowl slots still open heading into the final weekend of the regular season for most teams, a solid APR for the Longhorns could put them in position to receive an invite.
Even if Texas does receive a bowl invite, however, head coach Steve Sarkisian was non-committal about whether Texas would accept it when asked about the potential scenario following the Kansas State win.
“I’m not big on the hypotheticals as you guys know, but I get it,” said Sarkisian. “No, we’ll figure that out if we get that bridge to cross. Clearly we’re a banged-up football team right now. We’ll see where we’re at. We’ll see what the opportunities are and there’s nothing like playing another game. We love the game of football. There’s nothing like it, but we’ll figure that out if that presents itself.”
The injury situation looms as the biggest concern, especially at quarterback.
Junior quarterback Casey Thompson said on Friday that he aggravated the thumb sprain he suffered against Oklahoma in the games against Baylor, Iowa State, and West Virginia. So he doesn’t plan on throwing a football for four weeks, a timetable that would keep him out of bowl practice.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Hudson Card suffered a high ankle sprain in Morgantown and wasn’t available for Friday’s regular-season finale. The ankle injury won’t require surgery, according to Sarkisian, but it’s possible that Card would also miss all or most of bowl practice.
Behind Thompson and Card, walk-on Ben Ballard is the third-string quarterback, but Texas would most likely turn to junior running back Roschon Johnson in a bowl-preparation scenario with Thompson and Card unavailable — Johnson played quarterback in high school and had an expanded Wildcat package against Kansas State that was largely installed during the short week of practice following the West Virginia loss.
Throw in injuries to sophomore running back Bijan Robinson, senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, junior linebacker Luke Brockermeyer, and senior cornerback Josh Thompson, and the Longhorns clearly need some time to heal.
As always, the young players and backups could benefit tremendously from bowl practice, particularly the backup inside linebackers, but those myriad injuries could push the program’s calculation towards declining a bowl invite.
At the least, Sarkisian made it clear that accepting a potential invite isn’t the no-brainer it would be in most seasons.