08 July, 2023
2022 Record: 8-5 overall, 6-3 in Big 12
Head Coach: Steve Sarkisian, 3rd year: 13-12
Understand what it means when the “Texas is back” thing pops in every time the team manages a respectable victory, beyond the mocking snark. Also keep in mind that even if Texas pulls a 2022 TCU and makes it to the national championship game, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that it was “back” yet.
From 2001 to 2009, Texas won ten or more games under Mack Brown, and from 1999 to 2009, they won nine or more. Except for an all-time performance by 10 in the Rose Bowl to end the 2005 season, it was a significant player for every top recruit, it was in every championship, and it had a bizarre way of coming as near as you can to playing for a lot of national titles without actually accomplishing it.
Think about Ohio State in the present over the 2000s, you young people. That’s how it would appear and feel if Texas came “back.”
But for the time being, the program has to awaken from its haze. Texas must acknowledge that it is Texas and that it should be excellent at college football at this point. It must also do so this year, when it will be easier to come up with something truly remarkable.
The last two Big 12 champions are Baylor and TCU, which is no reflection on the conference. Alabama and Georgia are the most recent SEC champions.
Therefore, if Texas is truly going to do this, the definition of “back” has to alter. It can win the SEC Championship next year as orange and white confetti is showering down, and I still won’t buy that it 1) is in the SEC, and 2) didn’t work out a deal with the Big Ten.
Texas has gone nine seasons without posting a ten-win season or more in the SEC. Bless my heart if it does; there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t; but, no, it doesn’t happen frequently. But occasionally, it must reach double digits.
The objective moving forward is to place among the top 11 teams in a 12-team enlarged College Football Playoff. We’ll see how much the bye weeks actually count, and winning a conference title could be sweet and all, but SEC teams that go 10-2 will nearly always get in.
With the training wheels still in place, Texas must win ten games during the regular season.
Since the 2009 season, when it advanced to the BCS Championship, Texas hasn’t had a pre-bowl ten-win campaign (the 2018 squad went 10-4 with a Sugar Bowl victory against Georgia). (By the way, aside from the four newcomers, the only other Big 12 teams without a ten-win regular season since 2009 are Iowa State, Kansas, and Texas Tech.)
The squad has the potential and makeup to finally end the unforgivably dismal skid, which is the first of the positives. This Longhorn team, not just because it signed Arch, should be the best in a very long time in terms of talent, momentum, and vibe.
8-5, which was how it finished last year, isn’t good enough for this program. However, it lost to Alabama in the dying seconds, by three points against Texas Tech, by seven in a shootout with Oklahoma State, 17-10 to TCU, and 27-20 to Washington in a respectable bowl game. The squad possesses as many, if not more, high-end playmakers on both sides of the ball than anyone in the Big 12, yet it was 2-5 in games decided by one score.
The teams on the new SEC-Texas schedule are Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and of course, Oklahoma. Oh, and there will also be a trip to Michigan.
Texas will return this year, albeit that needs to be taken into account.