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Kansas State Roundtable: Can Jonathon Brooks reach the Mt. Rushmore of Texas RBs?

Plus, predictions and more in this weeks staff roundtable

NCAA Football: Texas at Houston Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Maalik Murphy completed his first career collegiate start against BYU so that means we are legally obligated to overreact. Murphy threw for 170 yards, 2 touchdowns, and turned the ball over twice but led the Longhorns to an emphatic victory. Basing it off his performance vs BYU, Murphy will be _______ next season.

Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - He will be playing an expanded role somewhere next season. We still have a lot to learn about Maalik as a player, so I am not going to overreact about anything until we have more of a sample size. If he is playing banged up then that muddies the picture even more for me. I want to see what he looks like when he has a clean bill of health.

Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - A starting quarterback somewhere. I’m honestly not sure how to make this assessment since we still don’t know what Arch has in the tank, but it seems like Quinn Ewers will be off to the NFL in spite of the injury, so there will be an “open” quarterback competition for the 2024 season. I think if it turns out that Arch is actually the heir apparent and not just hype, I would honestly be shocked if Maalik didn’t find his way to another school, maybe on the West Coast, to fill in as a starter. We’ve seen teams this year that Maalik would be an upgrade for.

Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - The starting quarterback at Texas. Remember, the Muprhy we’re seeing right now is less than 100% Maalik. He may not finish as the starter but I expect him to build off this season after Ewers heads to the NFL.

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite topic - the red zone! Or the red area. Whatever you call it, the Horns rank 101st nationally and 10th in the Big 12 in red zone scoring. Is this a schematic issue? Playcalling? Toughness?

Daniel - It’s a little bit of everything. I think Sark could help his own cause by not being as stubborn as he is at times, but I also think the interior offensive line’s shortcomings get spotlighted in the red zone when opposing defenses can sell out for the run when the field is condensed. I ranted on this topic a good bit in my Sunday write-up, so I won’t relitigate here.

Gerald - All of the above. We’ve seen Sark call weird sequences on the goal line on numerous occasions. That being said, we also saw one of the biggest, toughest defensive linemen on the team sub in as a lead blocker and get out-leveraged by a defensive back. “Low man wins” isn’t a cliche, it’s a way of life, but even then getting stood up by a guy giving up 150 pounds is a toughness and mentality issue in my mind.

Cameron - Definitely all three but the way Sark talked about needing to grab the attention of the players this week, it makes me think it’s more execution and toughness. But if it’s week 10 of the season and you still can’t trust your guys to get a yard, you have to switch up the playcalling. I like the RedCat package with Savion Red but does Sark trust him to throw it?

On Saturday, Texas will honor Ricky Williams for his Heisman-winning season 25 years ago. Williams is on the Mt. Rushmore of Texas RBs but could Jonathon Brooks possibly join that this season?

Daniel - I love the way Brooks is playing, but I think you have to be more than a one-year wonder to be on the Mt. Rushmore of Texas running backs. It would have to be a truly special season for me to consider putting a running back in that territory with one full season as the bellcow back.

Gerald - As the resident Jonathon Brooks stan it pains me to say no, but that’s not a slight at Jonathon Brooks. One of the biggest questions going into the year for Texas is how to replace Bijan and Roschon and at this point in the year, Brooks is outpacing what Bijan did a year ago. Brooks absolutely deserves to be named among the incredible backs that have come through RBU and I always have trouble deciding who my No. 4 is – alongside Earl, Ricky, and Ced – but I can’t see putting him above guys like Bijan, D’Onta, Jamaal, Gilbert, or Leaks. At least not yet. If he comes back another year and does it again, we can have the conversation.

Cameron - I think he would have to come back another year and win the Heisman.

The first College Football Playoff rankings were unveiled with the Longhorns coming in at No. 7 - behind Oregon but ahead of Alabama and Oklahoma. Is that the right ranking? Or do you even pay attention knowing there is still a month left in the season and everything will play itself out?

Daniel - It’s right for the moment, but I am not worrying about the initial rankings. The only rankings that matter are the ones they show come December. The rest are just to get people arguing about who should be in and who should not.

Gerald - I’ll answer the second question first, no. I don’t really care yet for about 100 reasons. I’m pretty sure Mississippi State was the No. 1 team in the first-ever CFP rankings, this is all for TV. I don’t know if the rankings are right, but they line up with the justification that the committee usually hands out. Texas’s marquee wins are better than Alabama and their loss is better than Oklahoma’s. It’s circular logic, but it seems like Texas has a clear path to the CFP, just win.

Cameron - I think it’s the right ranking because if Oregon and Texas played each other right now, Oregon would be favored and have looked like the better team since a tight loss to Washington on the road. But I won’t get too fired up over the rankings because if Texas wins out, they’ll be in the playoffs.

Believe it or not, Texas owns a 6-game winning streak against Kansas State. Does that become 7?

Daniel (7-1) - For the first time this year I am going to allow my pessimism to show. All week I have not been able to shake the feeling that the Longhorns might get got in this game. My concern stems from the unknown Texas has at quarterback and the fact that we are likely to see Kansas State run some variation of the triple option that was giving the Texas defense some issues against Kansas a few weeks ago. I hope for their sake I’m wrong this week.

Kansas State 27, Texas 23

Gerald (7-1) - Against my better judgment, I’m going to say yes. Kansas State is a darling of the advanced stats models, but I really think that Texas is put together to shut down what Kansas State wants to do. I think it may be a more slow-paced affair, but I have Texas 31-21.

Cameron (6-2) - Texas 23, Kansas State 27. Saturday’s game will be about defense and right now Kansas State is healthier than the Longhorns. In the end, I think the Wildcats are able to establish the run game with Howard and Johnson and control the time of possession. If both teams were at 100%, I would take the Horns but their injury luck might be up this week.