It’s almost put-up or shut-up time for the Texas Longhorns, with the Rice Owls arriving in about a week's time for the season opener. Year No. 3 must produce success for Steve Sarkisian and with a talented roster and depth, it looks like the Horns are poised for it. What is your official win-loss prediction for the Longhorns?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - I feel like they have the talent and depth to finally get over that hump and get back to double digits in the win column this year. I think the schedule and the rest of the Big 12 conference sets up nicely for Texas to make a run and make it to Arlington. Put me down for 10-2.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - 10-2 (8-1) is what I’m standing on. I don’t think I’d be mad about 9-3 (7-2) if it landed them in Arlington, which it likely would.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - 11-1 (8-1). Yep. I’m drenched in burnt orange Kool-Aid. It’s all over my shirt but I don’t care because the Big 12 is wide open and I believe for the first time since maybe 2009, Texas has the most depth in the conference.
Will the Horns reach their first-ever College Football Playoff? A return to a New Year’s Six bowl? Or another trip to the Alamo Bowl?
Daniel - If things go how I THINK they can I am penciling them in for an NY6 appearance this year. I think another trip to the Alamo Bowl would be considered a big disappointment given the buzz we have heard out of camp this month.
Gerald - I’ve got them in the NY6 for sure. The most common outcome in the Big 12 has been a one-loss champion and I’m not the type to eschew the most common outcome. I think if Texas can make it through the conference unscathed, they’ve got a great shot at the CFP, but I want to see what it looks like in Tuscaloosa before I start having that conversation.
Cameron - College Football Playoff as the fourth seed. I should probably delete this while I can but based on my 11-win prediction, Texas would reach the Big 12 Championship and most likely be in the playoff. Maybe I’m reaching but at minimum, the floor on a good season for the Horns is a NY6 bowl.
Which player(s) will have a breakout year?
Daniel - If he is healthy, I am penciling in Isaiah Neyor for comeback player of the year. I was very excited about him last year prior to the injury and all signs point to him being healthy and ready to go this year. It may be tough given the talent and depth of the receiver room, but I think he will remind folks why he was so sought after when he hit the portal from Wyoming.
On the defense, I am picking Anthony Hill because all of the buzz and feedback points to him seeing snaps sooner rather than later. He is going to be a chess piece that will be utilized in pressure packages and I think he will be presented with opportunities to make some impactful plays.
Gerald - I don’t know if Jonathon Brooks counts. If he does, then Brooks will be my offensive breakout. If he doesn’t then I think I am going to ride the DJ Campbell train on offense. Defensively, I think Manny Muhammad is going to be the guy who more people should be talking about already.
Cameron - Byron Murphy will be talked about like Jaylan Ford was last year. Offensively, he’s already a beast but Ja’Tavion Sanders is going to take an even bigger leap and showcase why he’s the second best TE behind Brock Bowers in the country.
Offensive MVP, Defensive MVP, and Newcomer of the Year
Daniel - Offensive MVP - Quinn Ewers
If Ewers takes the steps forward that everyone thinks he is going to I think this is pretty simple. The ceiling for the offense and the team as a whole is going to be dictated on how much he has improved over the offseason.
Defensive MVP - Jaylan Ford
Ford was snubbed as the Big 12 DPOY last year and he is in a contract year before heading to the NFL. If he continues to improve this year he will reel even more accolades in 2023.
Newcomer of the Year - AD Mitchell
We got a preview of Mitchell’s ability in the spring and I think we are going to see a heavy dose of him this fall. Health and availability have been the only thing keeping him from being more productive than he was at Georgia. With the other weapons around him, he has a chance to really take his production to the next level this year.
Gerald - Offensive MVP is going to be Ewers without a doubt. With the way the WR room is right now, he’ll never want for targets. Defensive MVP I’m going to keep it simple and say Jaylan Ford repeats as the alpha on the defense. I already tipped my hand at newcomer but I think Manny Muhammad is going to be that guy for Texas.
Cameron - Offensive MVP - Quinn Ewers. Defensive MVP - Jaylan Ford. Newcomer of the Year - Anthony Hill.
Ewers is going to take a big leap this season provided he’s healthy. Ford is the anchor of the defense and with DeMarvion Overshown gone and the injury to Mo Blackwell, Anthony Hill will step up on defense and establish himself as a key contributor early on.