Big 12 football season preview 2020: Is this the year Texas is finally back?

Tom Herman, Sam Ehlinger, Texas Longhorns. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tom Herman, Sam Ehlinger, Texas Longhorns. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Tom Herman, Sam Ehlinger, Texas Longhorns
Tom Herman, Sam Ehlinger, Texas Longhorns. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Big 12 football conference champion: Texas Longhorns

This feels like deja vu. Just about everyone was picking Texas to finally take down Oklahoma last season. They were such a darkhorse, they were quickly becoming a favorite. All that hype led to a 5-4 record in the Big 12, and a tie with three other teams for third place in the conference. It was a massive disappointment that now has head coach Tom Herman on the hot seat.

The season has never really lined up as it has for Texas this season. Oklahoma isn’t replacing a Heisman Trophy candidate with another assumed Heisman Trophy candidate. Spencer Rattler might be great, but he isn’t at the level Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray or Jalen Hurts were at this point in the offseason.

That leads us to Texas. Sam Ehlinger took a step back last season, but if he learned from those mistakes, he could rival Trevor Lawrence for the best quarterback in college football. The fact he doesn’t have the LSU matchup early in the season will allow him to build some confidence before his big matchup with Oklahoma. Because of the massive run from LSU last season, Texas already had a loss going into Big 12 play. Now, they only have expectations going into conference play.

It’s not just Ehlinger, though. This piece predicts Jordan Whittington as the breakout player. He’s a one-man scoring machine. The running back room is as good as ever with starter Keaontay Ingram and phenom freshman Bijan Robinson. Those two are going to run all over these Big 12 defenses.

Speaking of defenses, there is some serious talent on the Longhorns’ defense. Joseph Ossai is being regarded as a monster pass rusher. Linebacker has a great group of players, even though Texas lost Tony Fields to West Virginia. DeMarvion Overshown and Ayodele Adeoye could be really good. There’s a ton of experience in the secondary, too.

Herman is coaching for his job this season, and this is exactly what he needs to provide more confidence in Austin. After the disastrous Charlie Strong era, Texas hopes they didn’t make another mistake at their most important hire. Herman is going to get these guys excited, motivated, and most importantly, winning.

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