These five bold predictions, may cause some to swell with that burnt orange pride, while others may pull out their hair, and even some might go search the schedule to see if I’m really that crazy. Nevertheless, here they are, the five pillars to the Longhorns 2019 season.
1. Texas beats LSU
The week two matchup is the premier non-conference game for the Big 12. This is a bold(ish) prediction because LSU will likely be the favorite heading into the game.
The national media has apparently forgotten the Sugar bowl against Georgia last season. Texas made a statement against the Bulldogs, but admittedly this is not the same team.
There are things I like in this game, however. Playing at home in Austin is a big plus. I also expect the Horns to stop the run as they did against Georgia. In general, the Longhorn defense is expected to be one of the best in the Big 12, while I like the Horn’s chances at stressing the Tiger’s defense in ways they’re not used to.
2. They Don’t lose in September
For the first time since Mack Brown stepped off campus in Austin, the Longhorns will be perfect through September. This is a bold prediction because not only do they have to get through LSU, they would have to beat Oklahoma State as well.
Texas has only beaten Oklahoma State twice in the last 9 meetings, and they haven’t beaten the Pokes in Austin in the last decade.
Beating the Cowboys would go a long way to getting the monkey off their back while giving them major momentum heading into October.
3. Loses Red River Showdown, Wins Big 12
A flip of the script, so to speak. The Longhorns won the annual rivalry game last season, but fell in the championship game rematch.
This year, the Longhorns end up losing a close one in the Cotton Bowl. However, by winning out the rest of the season the Horns roll through to the Big 12 Championship and return the horrid “agony of defeat” flavor to the Sooners.
4. 1st CFP Appearance
This one is really going to rely on that I’ve nailed the bold predictions to this point, but I’m all in now. Winning the Big 12 Championship leads to the Longhorn’s first ever College Football Playoff appearance.
5. Two 1,000-Yard Rushers
Texas has not had a 1,000-yard rusher in the Tom Herman era. Running backs Keaontay Ingram and Jordan Whittington could both go for 1,000 yards this season. Especially, as they are about the only two healthy backs on the roster.
This duo, led by established back Keaontay Ingram, could remind of us of a running back tandem that we saw take college football by storm in 2005, with Jamaal Charles and Ramonce Taylor.
Ingram is the only returning healthy back, and rushed for 708 of Texas’ 2,143 rush yards last season. Whittington, a true freshman that may turn out to be an ace in the hole, will be responsible for helping Ingram make up the missing production.
The Longhorns could have two 1,000 yard rushers this season. Texas has shown they can move the ball in the air effectively, as is practically scripture in the Big 12, but now they have the tools and weapons to be dominant in the run game.
A balanced Texas offense will be a force to be reckoned with. Look out for these two young backs to set the tone early in games, throughout the season. Especially as defenses play to quarterback Sam Ehlinger and dare the Horns to beat them on the ground.
Perhaps my boldest prediction is that Ingram and Whittington both will eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. However, they would need to really put on a show. One, they will be sharing those yards with Ehlinger. Two, Texas has only had one 1,000-yard rusher in the last decade. That was D’Onta Foreman in 2016. So for two to do it in the same season would be incredible, but not impossible. Foreman actually rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2016.
One thing is for certain, Ingram and Whittington should remind us what it’s like to have a strong running game back in burnt orange.