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The Texas Longhorns are getting some love entering year three of the Tom Herman regime; and for good reason! The Hook ‘em Horns enter 2019-20 off a bounceback 10-4 campaign that included a Red River Rivalry triumph over the Oklahoma Sooners as well as a 28-21 handling of the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. The lone major blemish was dropping the rematch to OU in the Big 12 title game. That aside, Texas has cranked out successive top-three ranked recruiting classes and will need to eat into that newfound talent and depth considering a whopping nine starters need to be replaced on the defensive side of the ball. Fully understanding that, quarterback Sam Ehlinger proclaimed the Longhorns as being back following their dismissal of the Bulldogs. Whether that translates into success at online sportsbooks for college football bettors both on a weekly basis and in the futures market remains to be seen.
After throwing for 41 touchdowns and nearly 3,300 passing yards a season ago, Ehlinger will most definitely be targeting Colt McCoy’s school record of 45 touchdown passes accrued back in 2008. The true Heisman Trophy contender will also look to rip opposing defenses on the ground off rushing for 482 yards and 16 TD as a sophomore. In order to be as effective as he was the year prior, an offensive line replacing three starters is going to need to find new guys to step in so the offense doesn’t skip a beat. Thankfully, one of the Big 12’s best centers returns in the form of Zach Shackelford. Keaontay Ingram will spearhead the running back position off averaging 5.0 yards per carry and rushing for 708 yards and 3 TD. Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s exodus to the NFL hurts, but the Horns passing attack is in good hands with Colin Johnson the leader of an experienced group that will likely get bolstered with incoming freshman Malcolm Epps’ big play ability.
Todd Orlando has got his work cut out for him entering the season. In the grand scheme of things, that might not be such a bad situation to be in after all considering the defense was the weak link of the Horns’ squad last season. It ranked No. 67 overall and gave up nearly 26 points per game ( No. 57 ). Most bothersome was a pass defense that gave up better than 262 passing yards per game ( No. 112 )! That simply won’t cut it in the pass happy Big 12, so a complete overhaul of the defense might just be what pushes the program past the Sooners in the conference’s pecking order. The front seven will be replaced in its entirety along with both cornerback positions. With that, the defense’s strength will come at the safety positions with incumbents Brandon Jones and Caden Sterns returning; the latter took home All-American honors as a freshman. The defensive line does have some returning experience, but redshirt frosh Keondre Coburn is a likely difference maker and one to watch. All of the linebackers and both cornerback slots will be filled by players with little to no experience of playing at the collegiate level.
Texas has no doubt closed the gap on Oklahoma’s reign atop the Big 12 standings, but this year’s roster makeup suggests more of building than putting it all together to win a championship. The offense will no doubt rank out amongst the best in the country so long as it can get its passing attack off life support and strike for big plays downfield. The defense has a ton of talent on hand, but it’s going to take some time for it to come together. With only five home games and a pair of neutral site battles, the schedule isn’t the greatest. The new look defense will be tested immediately in Week 2 against LSU, and then it’s got West Virginia on the road before returning to the Cotton Bowl to battle Oklahoma the following week. Then there are trips to TCU, Iowa State and Baylor remaining on the docket. With that, it’s tough seeing this squad managing one or less defeats through that gauntlet. Ten wins is likely the high water mark, so if you’ve got the itch to wager on the Longhorns qualifying for the College Football Playoff at top rated sportsbooks, lay the chalk on NO!