It’s what I consider the first day of college football. We finally get a full card of action, beginning in the early afternoon, all the way to the late-night hours. I will try and hit time slots throughout the day, and the marquee matches that everyone wants a pick for. This isn’t exactly a marquee matchup, but it’s a big game for one of the biggest fan bases in college football.
The Texas Longhorns usher in the Tom Herman era early Saturday afternoon. Herman leaves Houston after achieving enough to get attention from a much bigger school in Austin. Charlie Strong coughed up a hairball in his tenure at Texas, and got the boot in favor of Herman.
Like Strong when he came in from Louisville, there are major expectations that come with this job. Herman has no time to wait on building a winner, despite the fact that a college coach needs some time to filter in his recruits. Thankfully Texas will have much talent for Herman to work with. Strong just wasn’t able to bring it all together. Herman went 22-4 at Houston, as he took the Cougs and put them on the national map. If he can be the savior of Texas football, Herman will be due for a massive payday in the future.
Herman won’t necessarily have to rebuild, like I said there’s talent. And with that, expectations are going to be there from day 1. The Longhorns went 5-7 in 2016, and need much better than that this season. Fans and alumni are getting pretty restless, as they haven’t been much of a team since Colt McCoy was the starting quarterback.
It’s not supposed to be like that for a program like Texas. They are in tough in the Big 12, with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma without a doubt ahead of them. Can Texas beat Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry? Sure. However, I don’t think Herman has the magic pixy dust to have them surpassing Oklahoma in the rankings, yet.
Maryland hopes to reach some level of respectability in 2017. They haven’t put a dent in the BIG 10 since joining the conference a few years back. There is far too much weight in the conference to compete. When you’re battling Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Michigan State for recruits, it’s not easy.
Maryland did get 6 wins to make a bowl game in 2016, where they lost to Boston College in the Quick Lane Bowl. It’s a tough schedule for Maryland, starting Saturday against the Longhorns. Get our free Maryland vs. Texas pick below here at The Sports Geek.
Maryland Terrapins vs. Texas Longhorns Betting Odds:
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Maryland vs. Texas Pick:
Herman will inherit an experienced guy at quarterback from Charlie Strong. Shane Buechele may just have one season under his belt, but he got a ton of reps and looked like a quarterback who had a promising future. I agree with that statement, I think Buechele is ready to put on a display in Austin this season. He threw for 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as a freshman. Buechele also possesses the ability to scramble on the ground. He rushed for 161 yards in 2016. I expect that to go up this season under Herman. Reports out of camp suggest that he’s the most improved player on the team.
Running back Chris Warren returns as well, along with four talented offensive linemen. Like I said, Herman is coming into a team with plenty of talent around him. He’s going to get a head start in Austin. Perhaps the most troublesome area at Texas under Strong, though, was the defense. The Longhorns broke the kind of records they didn’t want to. Last season they allowed 31.5 points per game for the worst defensive showing in school history. I expect the defense to eventually get better under Herman, but there will still be room for improvement.
The Terrapins allowed 29 points per game, and were prone to getting torched against good offenses. They typically could handle the average to bad offenses in 2016, but throw a good offense in front of them and they had problems. D.J. Durkin is in his second year as the head coach at Maryland, and should get a powerful running attack. The Terrapins averaged 200 yards per game on the ground for the second straight year. Their line and running backs are largely intact, so expect more big numbers on the ground.
Look for Ty Johnson to make some plays out of the backfield in this one. He’s coming off a 1,000 yard campaign, along with a whopping 9.1 yard per carry. Caleb Henderson, a UNC transfer, will get the keys at quarterback. He’s a big kid with some wheels that can catch a defense off guard. The total in this one is just a little too short for my liking. I handicapped it at 61 or 62 but we’re getting 56. It goes without saying that I like a pick on the OVER.
PICK: OVER 56 (-110)