Texas Win-Total Prediction
With a new face leading the program, can the Texas Longhorns return to being a national power in college football?
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Texas is listed with 40/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs this season. The Longhorns are also listed with 4/1 odds to win the Big 12 while their over/under total for regular-season wins is listed at 8. The over is listed at -130 while the under is set at +100.
After three losing seasons under Charlie Strong, the Texas Longhorns elected to fire Strong and hire Houston’s Tom Herman. Herman coached for two seasons with the Cougars, going 13-1 in 2015 and 9-3 in 2016. Herman also spent two seasons as a grad assistant with the Longhorns back in 1999 and 2000.
Herman inherits an offense that averaged 31.9 points and 491 yards per game in the 2016 season. Texas has seven starters back from that offense, led by quarterback Shane Buechele. The freshman threw for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns with 11 interceptions in 2016. He will have a big piece missing in the backfield in D’Onta Foreman, who rushed for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. However, Buechele does return a pair of starting receivers and tight end. Defensively, Texas was among the worst in the nation last season. The Longhorns gave up an average of 31.5 points and 448 yards per game. The good news for Herman there is that the unit was young in 2016, so the Longhorns return 10 starters from the unit. Leading the defense is linebacker Breckyn Hager, who had 64 tackles with 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. Also back is fellow linebacker Malik Jefferson, who had 8.5 tackles for loss with 5.5 sacks in 2016.
Texas opens the season at home against Maryland and then hosts San Jose State in Week 2. They make a big road trip to USC on Sept. 16 before beginning Big 12 play. Conference home games include Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Texas Tech. Road trips will be made to Iowa State, Baylor, TCU and West Virginia. The Longhorns also have the annual meeting with Oklahoma on Oct. 14 from the Cotton Bowl. It’s a lot to ask of Herman to turn this program into an 8-win team in his first season after three losing seasons under Strong. While the roster has a lot of experience, they don’t under Herman. It will take time for the playbook and style to really take effect. Even the opener against Maryland could be a challenge for Texas. I just don’t see the Longhorns getting to 8 wins in the first year under a new coach.
2017 WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: TEXAS UNDER 8 (+100)