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Staff Roundtable: College Football Playoff, Early Predictions, and the Transfer Portal

Who has the early edge in a rematch of Texas vs Washington?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 02 Big 12 Championship Game - Texas vs Oklahoma State Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s finally happened. The Texas Longhorns are playoff-bound for the first time ever. The three of y’all were pretty close on predictions, with Cameron correctly picking their regular-season record and even a CFP spot. Looking back to then and now, what were you right about the most, and what has surprised you this season?

Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - I think I was most right about this team finally getting over the ten-win hump this year based on the talent level on the roster. Texas returned a lot of experience and imported some legit talent via the portal and it paid dividends this year on the field. I think the thing that surprised me the most was the overall resiliency this team showed when things got tough or they hit adversity. In years past we would see Texas teams fold when the pressure mounted and that wasn’t the case this season.

Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - I was the most surprised about going into Tuscaloosa, which was the differentiator for me and my end-of-season picks. I honestly was banging the drum of “Texas can go 9-3 and still with the Big 12” based on some battered fan syndrome I am still dealing with. Texas’s ability to not do the Texas thing and drop a winnable game was the biggest surprise of the season.

Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - I think we all said this team had the most depth in the conference and that showed with Texas losing key players throughout the season but still found ways to win. I was skeptical of the special teams unit going in, mostly about Burt Auburn and Ryan Sanborn. Auburn was named to the All-Big 12 team and Sanborn was excellent so I was way off on that one.

Who was your MVP of the Big 12 Championship?

Daniel - Quinn Ewers and my vote was locked in before halftime. He was on pace to have a chance to put the record well out of reach for folks moving forward, but obviously, once the game was in hand Sark got him out of the game and got the reserves plenty of run.

Gerald - Has to be Quinn Ewers. Set a personal record, and a conference record, and tied another, all while becoming the fifth QB in school history to go over 400 yards. The reason Texas was able to jump out to such a big lead was the 12-12 start he had and the Longhorns never looked back. Honorable mentions to Murphy and Sweat for shutting down Ollie Gordon.

Cameron - Ewers. Going into the Big 12 Championship, I thought Ewers needed to have a big game and he answered by having the game of his life. Missed only two or three throws by my count but executed, showed poise in the pocket, and most importantly showed up in the biggest moment yet again. I love this kid.

The revenge tour continues for the Horns as they’ll face Washington in the Sugar Bowl after falling to the Huskies 27-20 in last year's Alamo Bowl. How do you think the Longhorns fit against them in Pt. 2?

Daniel - While I don’t love the matchup for Texas, I think they stand a better chance than they did a year ago. Texas was down some key players in the Alamo Bowl and this time around it will be all hands on deck, as they start the ring chase. Those receivers from Washington against the Texas secondary probably make me the most nervous.

Gerald - I think it’s probably the least-favorable matchup of the four in the playoff, but I also think the advantage Texas has doesn’t go away. Interior pressure does weird things to pass protection and a quarterback’s timing and frankly, there’s not another pair of interior linemen who do as good of a job as the Longhorns’ guys do. So while I think Washington is built to exploit some of Texas’s deficiencies on offense, I also think the Longhorns add wrinkles they have yet to see this year.

Cameron - We’ve seen what passing-first offenses have done to Texas and the success they’ve had against the defense but the Longhorns lost by just a touchdown last year and this year’s team is a whole lot better so I’ve gone back and forth. The key for the Horns is creating pressure and forcing Pennix into making mistakes. If he is going to have time in the pocket, it will turn into a shootout.

What are your initial predictions for the College Football Playoff?

Daniel - I am fighting to be a pessimist about this matchup. Right now I want to take Texas to win this rematch, but ask me again come game week.

Gerald - My heart tells me that Texas/Bama will be for the championship, with Texas coming out on top. My head is having too hard of a time to go in another direction, but I think that if Texas makes it out of the semis then there’s a good chance that we’re planning a parade.

Cameron - I have Texas beating Washington in the Sugar Bowl and Alabama taking out Michigan in the Rose Bowl with the Crimson Tide defeating the Longhorns in the National Championship.

The portal is officially open and by the number of tweets and stories, the three of y’all might be in the transfer portal too. What names stand out to you the most?

Daniel - Juice Wells, Trey Moore, and Andrew Mukuba. There will certainly be more names that become relevant, but all three of those players provide Texas with instant upgrades based on what they are set to lose in 2024.

Gerald - With the Longhorns thin at safety, former LBJ standout Andrew Mukuba is the biggest name that stands out to me. I said about a month ago on my podcast’s Twitter account that he was the “realistic” player that I would most add from the portal this offseason, so I’m going to continue to ride that wave.

Cameron - Texas needs to target Interior Defensive Lineman and Safeties in this portal so Walter Nolen and Andrew Mukuba come to mind. Mukaba has the Texas ties but Nolen will have every school in America after him. One thing is for sure, this is the deepest portal ever.