After beating the then-No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners, the conversation surrounding the Texas Longhorns quickly transformed into win out and watch your stock rise. While the Longhorns managed to hold off Baylor, 23-17, to make for what is now six-game winning streak, pieces began to move elsewhere, opening the door for Texas to take a considerable step in the polls on Sunday afternoon.
The first domino to fall was the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs, falling to the No. 13 LSU Tigers on the road. The Tigers turned in a convincing, 20-point win over their conference rival, behind a 275-yard rushing performance.
As the pieces continued to move, the No. 7 Washington Huskies missed a 37-yard field goal, heading to overtime against the No. 17 Oregon Ducks. After the Huskies kicked a field goal on their opening possession of OT, Oregon’s CJ Verdell scored from six yards out to end the game and clinch the win for the Ducks.
The heartbreak continued in Happy Valley, as No. 8 Penn State gave up a 25-yard touchdown pass as time expired to fall 21-17 to unranked Michigan State, falling to 1-2 in Big 10 play.
Lastly, much closer to home in the Big 12, No. 6 West Virginia took a trip to the always-hostile night game at Jack Trice Stadium, and left with a 30-14 loss, which of course, has Big 12 implications beyond the sheer fact that the Mountaineers were yet another one of the eight teams ranked ahead of Texas to fall on Saturday.
What this all means for the Longhorns, is that the Texas could potentially make its first appearance in the Associated Press top 5 since the start of the 2012 season, which likely isn’t a statement the burnt orange nation expected to read ahead of the 2018 season.
Ultimately, that may not mean something in the grand scheme of things, but with the Longhorns expected to be favorites in all but one of their final five games of the year, they truly do control their own destiny. If Texas can win out, they will play in the Big 12 Championship game for the first time since the 2009 season, and with how many dominos fell on Saturday, winning out and taking home the Big 12 title should mean a trip to the College Football Playoff.
But first, Texas must get answers about the health of quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who left the game against the Baylor Bears in the first quarter. Fortunately for the Horns, Texas heads into its bye week before facing the final five games of its season.
Texas’ odds to win each of its remaining five games, per ESPN’s FPI:
- @ Oklahoma State — 52.5%
- West Virginia — 60.7%
- @ Texas Tech — 46.2%
- Iowa State — 72.1%
- @ Kansas — 84.6%