35 Comments

  1. matonmacs

    I so want you to be right on Texas but Last year’s defensive ineptitude on money downs really has me gun shy. If that changes I can buy it. Oh would it not be glorious to have a Sugar Bowl rematch in the first round!

  2. Clayton Davis

    Texas could very well be out of the playoffs if they don’t show up against LSU, depending on how other teams do, even if they run the table in the conference. Not hard to imagine Bama and Georgia taking playoff spots if they both run the table and the SEC championship loser puts up a fight in their championship game.

    There’s always hope that OU’s D improves enough to cover this year’s O’s almost inevitable decline*, but it’s more likely that we improve quite a bit on defense but just not enough to turn each of those close ballgames into wins like at the end of last season.

    *I think we’ll still put up lots of yards and points, but it won’t be quite as explosive.

    • ianaboyd

      If Texas is 12-1 it’s hard to see them missing the playoffs. For that to happen you’d need a team from the B1G, P12, or Notre dame to be undefeated or have a better 12-1 resume. That’d be tough.

      • Clayton Davis

        Not saying it would definitely happen, but I could very easily see that happening. Maybe Washington or Utah puts together a run in the PAC 12, or more likely OSU runs the table in the B1G. Or does a 2018 and drops a game to Nebraska in the season and avenges their loss in the championship game.

        The thing to worry about for Texas, aside from the actual challenging games on their schedule, is not having those dumb games like Kansas or Kansas State, or particularly against Maryland, games where an outmatched opponent makes them look bad by keeping the score closer than it should be, or actually take the L.

        • ianaboyd

          I don’t know that it will matter so long as they don’t take the L, but Texas figures to blow teams out more often this year.

          I don’t see Washington, Utah, or Ohio State going 13-0 or 12-1 as “very easily happening.” 12-1 B1G champ Ohio State vs 12-1 B12 champ Texas would be fascinating. At that point you’d want the LSU win (and for LSU to have played well) on the resume. I don’t think Utah or Washington would have the resume to get in over Texas if all are 12-1, can you imagine that happening?

          • Clayton Davis

            I think the odds of Texas going 12-1 or better are less than Washington going 12-1 or better, and significantly less than OSU going 12-1 or better. If OSU and Texas are both at 12-1, their resume is likely very similar. I understand you see it differently, but we’ll see this fall.

          • ianaboyd

            Who has the best QB of those three teams? The best OL? The best D?

            Texas has a good shot of being the best at all 3.

      • Clayton Davis

        Sure, Texas has a shot. Also has a shot at being the worst at 2 of the 3. Maybe 3 of 3 if Ehlinger can’t stay healthy.

  3. Mike

    I think you’re underestimating Jalen Hurts. He’s not the same guy he was as a freshman. The last time we saw him in action, he was 5/5 on 3rd down in the 4th quarter of the SEC CG. The completions were high-level throws:
    -Twice hitting a well-covered Irv Smith over the MOF while deftly side-stepping the pass rush and staying in the pocket
    -Finding Jaylen Waddle deep down the sideline on a tremendous throw while desperately rolling out
    -Firing a pass to Waddle on a smash route shredding zone coverage near the boundary
    -Finding Jeudy in the back corner of the end zone after eluding the pass rush and throwing on the run

    I wonder whether Hurts was told to be extra careful with the ball in 2016 and 2017 as Saban knew he had a defense good enough to beat nearly everyone regardless of QB play. He just couldn’t afford turnovers.

    With a different focus and in limited action, his numbers were—in many regards—better than Tua’s last year. When they needed him the most, he read the defense and passed his way down the field en route to two TD on two 4th quarter drives. He’s also a powerful runner.

    Given an off-season with Lincoln Riley, and I think you might really be underselling Jalen. I don’t think he’s the Heisman or first overall pick like his predecessors, but he might have a truly outstanding year. He might even be the best QB in the pass-happy Big XII.

      • Clayton Davis

        I don’t think that’s true, unless you mean broadly contain as in stop him altogether. I think it’s fair to wonder if you can really extrapolate that he’s going to be all-conference in a league full of talented QBs buttressed by QB friendly systems, but he’s clearly better than freshman Hurts.

        • ianaboyd

          Sure, better than freshman Hurts, and I mean contain him in the pocket. Or make him do things he’s not comfortable doing. Georgia wasn’t prepared for him.

          • Mike

            He did make some very strong throws from the pocket and showed a presence that he never had before.

            To your point, his mobility was certainly an asset too. And Georgia was missing their best edge player at that juncture of the game. So, who knows?

            I still think you’re underestimating him.

            What’s cool, though, is that this isn’t at all theoretical. That is, we will soon know a lot more about Jalen’s true abilities as a passer…

            My prediction is that he’s going to be great and Riley’s stock as a QB whisperer is going to go ever higher, even though a large part of Jalen’s growth will have come in practice last year as a second stringer at Bama.

  4. ryan

    Lol. Sorry Ian, Texas isn’t going 12-1 while replacing 80% of the defense, 3 OL, LJH and lacking quality QB depth. Then you have Tom Herman at the helm, who can’t seem to consistently win even when he’s favored in nearly every game.

    Also love how you doubt a Lincoln Riley offense as loaded as this one.

    • ianaboyd

      Texas OL should be better than last year, particularly if they have similar injury luck. They can’t afford to lose Ehlinger for a prolonged period, much like Clemson goes down a peg without Lawrence or Bama without Tua. Or OU without Kyler last year had that occurred.

      Replacing a single skill player in the spread isn’t hard if you’re recruiting Texas and your infrastructure is good. You notice that everyone in the league reloads at WR?

      80% of the D is a bogus stat. Alex Grinch would happily trade his first team secondary for Texas’ 2nd team unit.

      • Philly Frog

        Yeah, I’m really interested in seeing how well both OU and UT reload on the OL this year.

        You are certainly testing my preconceptions on both.

        Historically, losing that many snaps at that position group correlates pretty highly with reduced production.

        Gotta love that Shackelford kid, though.

        • ianaboyd

          I doubt it, they have a lot of experience across the OL.

          Everyone is forgetting that they’re plugging in a 4th year starter transfer at LG between a Lt who started 13 games last year and a C who’s a 4th year starter.

          • Philly Frog

            Sure.

            But it’s still a new guy who has to get comfortable with a new system and new teammates. I agree that GA Tech does not admit dunces, though.

            But I do think it’s a bit of a reach to presume Braun will be better than Vahe. Maybe so, maybe no.

          • ianaboyd

            Vahe was a solid player but I don’t think he ever made an All-B12 team. Braun is a different kind of nasty in the run game.

            I get practice reports and they say what you’d realistically hope for about Braun. Pass pro will need time but he’s translating his run blocking prowess immediately.

          • Clayton Davis

            That’s why I think they could have some problems early on. Even if you have great talent and guys who have been in the system for a couple of years, the 5 of them need to play as a unit. Probably won’t matter against LA Tech, but it might against LSU.

            I know you know this, because you regularly point it out about OU. And it mattered for OU in 2015 and 2016.

          • ianaboyd

            Potentially in pass pro with Braun, overall though these guys have played a lot. Kerstetter and Okafor have both started multiple games in the past, everyone in this group has.

      • ryan

        We’ll see. It’s not as if Texas has a great reputation for developing OL, and like the others said, they have to learn to play together. Last I checked, none of those teams ran/run their QB right at LBs and have already had concussion issues.

        Not everyone, and I’m not sure Texas gets the benefit of the doubt here. You’re treating Texas with a reputation they haven’t earned.

        Maybe Grinch would, but that doesn’t mean much. Texas usually fails to utilize that talent and Oklahoma can make up for it’s deficiencies with its offense. The margin is much smaller for Texas. Texas was incredibly inconsistent defensively in 2018 and they lose nearly all their best players from a below average unit.

        Texas lost to Maryland last year and squeaked by teams that had no business being on the same field. Yet somehow you have higher expectations for a less experienced team.

        It’s been a decade since Texas had back to back double-digit winning seasons. Maybe pump the brakes before you assume they can just pick up where Mack Brown left off just because they only lost 4 games.

        • ianaboyd

          This is all silly and biased. Herman has coached two seasons at Texas and OL coach Herb Hand has been there for one year.

          You’re trying to use a decade of coaching turnover and incompetence along the line to define the new regime.

          And as I’ve written in a dozen places, I don’t wait on the future to occur before I prognosticate that it can happen. That’s lazy analysis in my opinion.

          • ryan

            And putting your hopes and dreams on people who haven’t proven capable is homerism. Take a look at Herman’s career at Houston. You’ll see a team that had the same issues as his Texas team.

            Great as an underdog, terrible as a favorite.

  5. Mike

    I am fired up for that LSU @ Texas game!

    Not a fan of either team, but I love so much about the matchup. Both QBs are awesome, gritty veterans and nearly perfect college players. Both defenses are loaded with skill and are extremely well-coached.

    Texas’ offense is fundamentally sound, completely modernized, and hard to stop. Maybe they’ll be more explosive this year with more speed, but exploding on LSU is virtually impossible anyway. I don’t know what to expect from LSU on offense with all-new schemes, but I look forward to seeing Burrow do whatever he’s told, taking some shots, and getting up like the Energizer bunny.

    Then, with so few games of this magnitude on the overall docket… so many things will be predícated upon the result. It’s not exactly fair, but if LSU beats Texas on the road and then fails to win their division while Texas goes on to win their conference, that could be really problematic for the Big XII and a good argument for the inclusion of two SEC teams in the CFP.

    From the relatively rare spectacle of interconference powers meeting on campus to the fantastic matchup of big-time talent in neighboring states to the potentially very important December implications… the game has it all.

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