For the second year in a row, the Texas Longhorns opened up last season with a disappointing loss to Maryland. Naturally, that led to fears that 2018 was going to be another trying campaign akin to the one the team put together in 2017.
If we rewind to 2017 for a sec, the Longhorns essentially traded wins and losses all year to close out the regular season with a mark of 6-6. The reward for that season was a trip to the Academy Sports Outdoors Texas Bowl where they picked up a 33-16 victory over Missouri.
The 2018 season was markedly different. The team was competitive throughout and posted a number of big wins along the way, including a 48-45 win over Oklahoma in the annual Red River Showdown game. The club would stumble with back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and West Virginia, but they rebounded to win the final three games of the regular season.
That set up another meeting with Oklahoma to decide the Big 12, but this time it was the Sooners that prevailed. It was a disappointing outcome to be sure, but Texas would find itself invited to a much more prestigious bowl for their solid season, taking down Georgia in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
The victory over the Bulldogs had all the makings of a statement victory or at least one which can serve as a solid building block for 2019. NCAAF betting sites agree, as Texas is the second choice to win the Big 12 behind favored Oklahoma, with both clubs having odds that are well ahead of the pack.
As the futures market sees it, Texas has returned to relevancy in the world of college football, and that sentiment has been shared by plenty of prognosticators and pundits as well. So what does that mean for the program with the 2019 season just mere weeks away?
Are the Longhorns poised to surge further, or is another step back in order before they officially return to the upper echelon of NCAAF? Let’s examine and find out, starting with a more detailed look at the 2018 season that was for Texas.
Texas Longhorns 2018 Season Recap
Record: 10-4 | Standings: 2-Big 12 | Playoffs: Won AllState Sugar Bowl
Texas was on the road to open the year as big 13-point favorites over Maryland. The game was close at the half with the Terrapins holding a 24-22 lead. The Longhorns pulled ahead with a third-quarter TD, but Maryland would score 10 points in the final quarter to pull out a 34-29 stunner.
It was a frustrating start to the year, but the club dusted itself off quickly. Texas would go on to rip off a six-game winning streak, a span which included a trio of victories over ranked squads. Then #22 USC came to town for the third game of the season, but Texas walloped them by a score of 37-14.
A home date with #17 TCU was up next, which the Longhorns won by a score of 31-16. A few weeks later, it was the annual rivalry game with Oklahoma, a contest which went down as one of the more memorable of the entire 2018 college football season.
Texas held a 24-17 lead. Texas roared out halftime for 21 points in the third quarter, but Oklahoma would answer with a big 21-point quarter of their own in the fourth. It was all tied up at 45 apiece with just seconds to go when Cameron Dicker booted a 40-yard field goal to give Texas a 48-45 win.
The Longhorns had a mark of 6-1 after the following week’s win over Baylor, but the good times would be temporarily put on hold afterwards. A 38-35 road defeat to Oklahoma State was followed by a 42-41 home loss to West Virginia.
Texas rebounded to win its next three games with all three wins coming by seven points or more. Another showdown with Oklahoma was on tap after that to decide the Big 12, but the Sooners walked away with a 39-27 victory this time around.
The Longhorns were invited to the Allstate Sugar Bowl to square off with Georgia. Sam Ehlinger had three rushing touchdowns on the day as Texas built up a 28-7 lead in the final quarter. The Bulldogs would close the gap, but Texas prevailed by a score of 28-21 over one of the top programs in the country.
For the year, Texas finished up at 47th in the nation for points scored per game, while the defense came in 57th for fewest points allowed per contest.
Texas Longhorns Offseason
Tom Herman will return for his third year of patrolling the sideline. Tim Beck will be back as offensive coordinator, while Todd Orlando returns at DC. Just two Longhorns were chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, but another eight players would go on to sign as undrafted free agents.
A program with this history and stature has little trouble attracting talent, and that was certainly true this season. Texas scored one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, highlighted by a pair of five-star recruits in versatile talents Bru McCoy and Jordan Whittington. Other potential future stars from this class include wideout Jake Smith and LB De’Gabriel Floyd.
Ehlinger returns behind center, while Keontay Ingram leads the way out of the backfield. Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay are among the names penciled atop the wideout depth chart. Returners on defense include DE Malcolm Roach, LB Jeffrey McCulloch, and S Brandon Jones.
Texas Longhorns 2019 Schedule
|1||Sat. Aug.31||vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||8:00 PM||Longhorn Network|
|2||Sat. Sept.7||vs. LSU Tigers||7:30 PM||ABC|
|3||Sat. Sept.14||vs. Rice Owls*||8:00 PM||CBSSN|
|4||Sat. Sept.21||vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys||TBD||TBD|
|6||Sat. Oct.5||at West Virginia Mountaineers||TBD||TBD|
|7||Sat. Oct.12||vs. Oklahoma Sooners**||TBD||TBD|
|8||Sat. Oct.19||vs. Kansas Jayhawks||TBD||TBD|
|9||Sat. Oct.26||at TCU Horned Frogs||TBD||TBD|
|11||Sat. Nov.9||vs. Kansas State Wildcats||TBD||TBD|
|12||Sat. Nov.16||at Iowa State Cyclones||TBD||TBD|
|13||Sat. Nov.23||at Baylor Bears||TBD||TBD|
|14||Sat. Nov.30||vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders||12:00 PM||TBD|
*Game to be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX
**Game to be played at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, TX
Texas opens up the year with a home date versus Louisiana Tech, but the competition ramps up over the next few weeks. Over the first month of the season, the Longhorns will face both LSU and Oklahoma State. They’ll be home for both of those challenging tilts.
After a week off, Big 12 play heats up with a trip to West Virginia. That’s followed by the 2019 edition of the Red River Showdown with Oklahoma. Dates with Kansas and TCU are up next before another bye in the first week of November.
Over the final month of the season, Texas will have a challenging road date at Iowa State. The season wraps up with a home contest versus Texas Tech. Overall, it’s a pretty tough schedule with contests versus a number of high-powered offenses on tap.
Texas Longhorns 2019 Outlook
The Longhorns schedule is condensed with a trio of four-game stretches wrapped around two bye weeks. For each segment of the schedule, we can point to two games which could be difficult depending on how things shake out for the opposing squads.
That’s six potentially interesting games all together, with the Longhorns home for three of them: LSU, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. They’ll be on the road to face West Virginia and Iowa State, and square off with Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl.
We can likely count on LSU and Oklahoma posing the biggest threats, while we’ll have to wait and see what 2019 brings for the other four teams. Either way, the road to double-digit victories is a challenging one.
Texas Longhorns 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the oddsmakers have set the bar for Texas in 2019. It’s just a shade under last year’s 10 total wins, but a step up from the nine victories the team had last regular season.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
The Big 12 looks like it’s going to come down to Texas and Oklahoma, but there are a number of other intriguing tilts along the way. We highlighted the biggest potential trouble spots up above, and the Longhorns have the benefit of being home for three of them.
If we assume they can take care of business at home, then that leaves the neutral site game with Oklahoma, as well as road dates with West Virginia and Iowa State. The matchup with the Sooners could be a toss-up once again, and Texas is certainly capable of at least earning a split of the other two.
That gets the team to 10 wins in our book, which places us on the Over for Texas in 2019.