The Texas Longhorns may have finally found their man in Tom Herman, a former graduate assistant under Mack Brown in Austin several years ago and a relative unknown in the head coaching ranks until turning Houston into a power in the Group of Five ranks. Herman won a national title as offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Ohio State and turned that into his first head job. He led the Cougars to a 22-4 record in two seasons with a New Year’s Six bowl during his initial campaign. The pressure will be on Herman from the outset after three straight losing seasons under Charlie Strong.
2016 Record: 5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS, 4-8 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 8
National Championship Odds: +4000
Odds To Win Big 12: +635
Despite a level of talent that rivals any in the Big 12, Strong could never put it all together. When the offense was clicking the defense struggled. And when the D actually stopped an opponent, the offense couldn’t score points. The Strong era ended with a thud as the Longhorns went 5-7 for a second straight season and for the first time since the 1930s Texas football endured three consecutive losing campaigns.
The season began nice enough with a thrilling overtime win over Notre Dame. But as it turned out the Irish were not very good and the victory lost some of its meaning. A loss to Cal when the Horns allowed 50 points was disturbing, as were losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The defense just couldn’t shut the high-powered attacks down.
Strong did produce a culture change in Austin, but in order to keep his job he needed victories as well. They were just hard to come by. If the decision to move on from Strong wasn’t already made, a loss to Kansas last November was the last straw. Texas doesn’t like losing and it doesn’t like losing to teams it shouldn’t lose to. Ending the year with three straight losses and a 31-9 whoopin at the hands of TCU was enough for the Longhorns to look elsewhere.
Had Strong returned he likely would have seen a turnaround with his club. Instead, he leaves a decent roster with plenty of offensive weapons for Herman to work with, that is, after all, his forte. Herman’s Houston team averaged over 38 points per game the past two seasons and the Longhorns could have a big year offensively. And they’ll need to in order to keep up in the Big 12.
Herman isn’t committing to a starting quarterback, but incumbent Shane Buechele is the likely starter. He had good numbers last season throwing for nearly 3,000 yards with 21 touchdowns, but there were problems with interceptions and sacks. And there isn’t a Plan B. Freshman Sam Ehlinger is in the mix, and that’s it.
The run game will be divided among several players after the departure of D’Onta Foreman, who took his 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns to the NFL. Chris Warren will likely get a bulk of the carries behind an offensive line that has plenty of experience. The offense should be much better and the defense needs to be much better. That’s why new coordinator Todd Orlando got the big bucks to come to Austin. Upon his departure, Strong said whoever is coaching Texas in 2017 will win 10 games. We’ll see just how good of a prognosticator the former coach is.
Week 1: Texas vs. Maryland, Saturday, September 2
Week 2: Texas vs. San Jose State, Saturday, September 9
Week 3: Texas at USC, Saturday, September 16
Week 4: OFF
Week 5: Texas at Iowa State, Thursday, September 28
Week 6: Texas vs. Kansas State, Saturday, October 7
Week 7: Texas vs. Oklahoma, Saturday, October 14 (Dallas, TX)
Week 8: Texas vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday, October 21
Week 9: Texas at Baylor, Saturday, October 28
Week 10: Texas at TCU, Saturday, November 4
Week 11: Texas vs. Kansas, Saturday, November 11
Week 12: Texas at West Virginia, Saturday, November 18
Week 13: Texas vs. Texas Tech, Friday, November 24
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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