Texas Longhorns Win Total: o/u 8
Texas is back! Right? The slogan has become satire within College Football over the past few seasons as the Longhorns are now on their third head coach since Mack Brown. Under Brown, Texas won a national title and reached another in a five-season span. Steve Sarkisian comes over after calling plays for Alabama, and the burnt orange nation has optimism that he can light up scoreboards in the Big 12.
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Seems strange right? This should just be one of those opening week blowouts against a Sun Belt team, shouldn’t it? Not so fast. The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off a 10-1 season that included an opening week one win against Big 12 member Iowa State and a final AP ranking of 15th nationally.
Coach Billy Napier garnered big school interest a season ago but decided to remain with Louisiana to build on the success from a season ago. The Longhorns are 9.5-point favorites at home on Bovada, but this is a game that Sarkisian can’t afford to overlook to start his tenure in Austin.
Oklahoma (10/9) Dallas, TX:
The history and the pageantry of the Red River Rivalry is one of the few big traditions left in college football. Played each season during the Texas State Fair in the old Cotton Bowl Stadium, this matchup is one of the Big 12’s biggest each year.
Oklahoma comes in as the favorites to win the Big 12 (-180 Bovada), with quarterback Spencer Rattler favored to win the Heisman (+450 Bovada). Last season featured a four-overtime thriller that ended with the Sooners coming out on top. BetOnline has the opening betting line favoring Oklahoma by 10.5 points.
At Iowa State (11/6):
The Longhorns have traditionally dominated this conference matchup, but the Cyclones have started to turn the tables under head coach Matt Campbell. Iowa State has won the last two matchups against Texas by a combined five points.
Iowa State enters the season with its highest preseason ranking in school history, ranking 7th in the AP poll. Quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall should both be players to consider in the Big 12 player of the year vote at the end of the season. The Cyclones are a 7.5-point favorite in Ames to open the season on BetOnline.
As mentioned above, Steve Sarkisian takes the wheel in Austin with hopes that the offensive success featured at Alabama can carry over to the Big 12. Long-time quarterback Sam Ehlinger has graduated and moved on. Still, veteran Casey Thompson stepped in during the Longhorns bowl game and threw four touchdowns on just ten passes against Colorado.
Hudson Card provides more of a dual-threat option for Sarkisian and should put some pressure on Thompson to earn snaps. Either quarterback will benefit from the Robinson brothers (not related), Bijan and Keilan, who should provide explosiveness from the position.
On defense, Sarkisian and defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski inherit a rotation heavy with upper-level students. Alabama graduate transfer and former five-star recruit, Ben Davis, comes over to help bring a winning pedigree to the side of the ball that has struggled in recent years.
Over eight wins.
“Texas is back,” or they’ll start to trend that direction at least. It’s not likely that this happens in year one, but the signs of that revelation should start to show this season. Texas opens as underdogs in two of the games listed above but has a high chance of being favored in the other games on their schedule.
Texas Big 12 Conference Champions:
The Longhorns will have to win one or both games against Oklahoma and Iowa State to make it back to Dallas for the Big 12 Championship game. Bovada has the Longhorns at +750 to win the conference, while BetUS feels slightly better about their chances at +550.
Bijan Robinson Heisman Trophy Winner:
Robinson showed flashes as a freshman of his amazing ability with the football in his hands. Comparisons have been made to former college football star Reggie Bush, whom Sarkisian coached at USC.
Alabama running back and first-round pick, Najee Harris, put up eye-popping numbers in Sarkisian’s offense a season ago, and Robinson looks to fill a similar role. Oddsmakers have consistency on the betting line here as both Bovada and BetOnline have Robinson at +2200 to take home the trophy.