If the 2018 season was any indication, the Texas Longhorns are on the precipice of getting back to the upper tier of college football.
But progress doesn't always move in a straight line. As they look to take the next step, can the Horns improve on their record from last season?
Athlon asked a few editors and one of its college football contributors to share their realistic win/loss projection for Texas in 2019.
Texas Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2019
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s no doubt Tom Herman has Texas trending in the right direction and consideration for a spot in the preseason top 10 is warranted. As last year’s matchups and final standings indicated, the gap between the Longhorns and Oklahoma has closed. However, for Texas to take the next step, quarterback Sam Ehlinger needs more help from his supporting cast in the form of big plays, and the defense – while very talented and loaded for the future – has only two returning starters. In other words, how fast can the Longhorns cycle the next wave of starters into stars? The Sept. 7 date against LSU should be a good barometer test for Herman’s team. Road trips to TCU, Iowa State and Baylor in the second half of the season won’t be easy, but the guess here is Texas navigates the personnel turnover and schedule to meet Oklahoma once again in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Texas' Week 2 clash with LSU will be one of the most impactful non-conference games on the 2019 college football schedule. The fan base of the winner will start talking about the College Football Playoff. The loser? Well, there's always a conference championship. And Texas figures to be in the mix for the Big 12 crown one year after losing to Oklahoma in the league title game. I envision a similar scenario in 2019 — a Texas win over OU in the regular season and a Sooner win over UT in the Big 12 Championship Game. Along the way, I can see the Longhorns stubbing their toe a couple of times, at TCU and Iowa State. The result: Another very good, but not great, season for a program that is trending in the right direction.
Allen Kenney (@BlatantHomerism)
After a season-opening loss to the Maryland Terrapins last year, Texas regrouped and finished the season at 10-4. All in all, head coach Tom Herman did a masterful job of managing his team’s games and putting the Longhorns in position to win tight contests. Ten of UT’s 14 games were decided by a touchdown or less; the Longhorns won seven of them.
Texas’ schedule picks up this year with a non-conference game against LSU and Big 12 road trips to TCU, Iowa State, Baylor and West Virginia. It’s not unreasonable to think the 2019 team needs to outperform last year’s squad just to match UT’s 9-3 regular season. Improvement to that degree doesn’t come easily with the replacements being made by the Longhorns. It seems more likely that UT will tread water this season in preparation for a big run in 2020.