Week 0 is behind us and Week 1 of the CFB season is only a few days away. Last week my colleague Michael Farber posted his season predictions, you can check those out here. This week I will give my in-depth analysis on what we can watch for in each of these games and the potential hurdles Texas will face. Grab your favorite beer, cocktail, or a cup of coffee and let’s get into it!
Week 1 (0-0)
Texas vs. Louisiana–Lafayette
The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns will pose a challenge in Week 1 for the Longhorns. Bringing back Senior dual-threat quarterback Levi Lewis and an experienced offensive-line, Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense will have their hands full stopping this rushing attack. I envision Coach Sark leaning heavily on their own running game while getting Hudson Card broken into this offense. Ultimately, Bijan Robinson will have the break out game everyone expects from him and Texas wins handily in my opinion.
Final Score: 38 — 17, Texas
Week 2 (1-0)
Texas @ Arkansas
This is one of the most important games on The Longhorns’ schedule. I could picture the memes and jokes all over the internet now if Texas loses this one, “Texas joining the SEC? They can’t even beat their WORST teams!” I think Arkansas is going to be a solid team this year and will give Texas a great, physical game. However, Texas should have the talent and playmaking ability on offense and defense to handle the Razorbacks in the end.
Final Score: 28 — 24, Texas
Week 3 (2-0)
Texas vs. Rice
This is a perfect game for The Longhorns to “grease the wheels” and let Hudson Card sling it early and often. This game should feature a lot of Hudson Card and the receivers while giving Bijan a break. If Card struggles in this game Texas fans should be slightly worried, I don’t envision that being a problem though.
Final Score: 52 — 17, Texas
Week 4 (3-0)
Texas vs. Texas Tech
Hudson Card better be ready to sling it in this one. Last year Same Ehlinger accounted for six touchdowns on the way to a 63-56 overtime victory. The Red Raiders are being led by Tyler Shough, a quarterback transfer from Oregon. A Four-Star quarterback out of Arizona, Shough is seemingly a big upgrade to Texas Tech’s offense. Pete Kwiatkowski has plenty of experience going against high octane offenses in the PAC-12. With Texas’ deep defensive backfield, they should be able to hold Matt Wells’ offense off enough for a victory.
Final Score: 45 — 42, Texas
Week 5 (4-0)
Texas @ TCU
The Horned Frogs have arguably been Texas’ biggest rival outside of Oklahoma the past decade. With Texas sporting a 3-7 record against TCU in that time frame, Coach Sarkisian must find a way to get Texas their first win in Fort Worth since 2013. TCU boasts another strong defense under Gary Patterson with Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Noah Daniels leading the unit. Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson should have a heavy workload, keeping Hudson Card’s rookie mistakes to a minimum. Texas’ backfield is good enough to lead this team to a few wins this season, this is one of them.
Final Score: 31 — 28, Texas
Week 6 (5-0)
Texas vs. Oklahoma
The Red River Showdown is one of the most anticipated games in all of college football. Usually a high scoring affair, Texas and Oklahoma have combined for 318 points in their last four meetings (79.5 PPG). However, both Oklahoma and Texas are primed to boast strong defenses this season. With Hudson Card still getting his feet wet this early in the season and Oklahoma being led by Heisman favorite: Spencer Rattler, I do not foresee Texas being able to keep up with Oklahoma on offense. The defenses will keep this game close, but Oklahoma and Rattler are eventually too much to handle in this matchup.
Final Score: 31 — 24, Oklahoma
Week 7 (5-1)
Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State will be another tough game for Texas. The Cowboys are projected to have eleven seniors or graduate transfers in their defense as starters or rotational pieces. That is an incredibly veteran defense going against a Texas quarterback who will be starting just his 7th game of his college career. Oklahoma State will also be led on offense by Spencer Sanders, a redshirt Junior who has flashed great playmaking ability in the past. The Longhorns defense will give Sanders and company problems on offense, but Oklahoma State will be doing the same to Card and company. Texas drops two consecutive one-possession games.
Final Score: 28 — 24, Oklahoma State
Week 8 (5-2)
Week 9 (5-2)
Texas @ Baylor
After two consecutive losses and a bye week, Texas heads to Waco to face the Baylor Bears. Baylor had a down year in Dave Aranda’s debut season, going 2-7 in their Big-12 only schedule. Picking up two wins against Kansas and Kansas State, both at home. This should be a pick-me-up game for The Longhorns and Hudson Card. Look for this as a huge statement game for Sarkisian and Card. If they flourish their development will be going smoothly. If they struggle we will be left wondering if this head coach and quarterback are the ones who will bring the 40 acres back to prominence.
Final Score: 42 — 17, Texas
Week 10 (6-2)
Texas @ Iowa State
Matt Campbell has done a fantastic job turning The Cyclones into legitimate National Championship contenders. With the trio of Brock Purdy, Breece Hall, and Charlie Kolar leading the Offense for Iowa State, Texas’ lack of linebacker depth will be exposed. DeMarvion Overshown’s biggest weakness is in the run game and being physical at the line of scrimmage, a bad matchup when going against Breece Hall. Mike Rose is an All-American linebacker for ISU and won Big-12 defensive player of the year last season. Bijan Robinson will likely not be able to take control of this game alone, Card will need to play the best game of the season if Texas is to have a chance in this one. Ultimately, Clock management and solid defense will be the story of this game, giving the edge to The Cyclones.
Final Score: 31 — 21, Iowa State
Week 11 (6-3)
Texas vs. Kansas
The Longhorns are fortunate to have a relatively easy schedule at the end of the season. Kansas should pose no threat and Bijan Robinson should be on the bench before halftime. This is a perfect game to see how Texas’ younger players like Byron Murphy II (Freshman, Defensive Tackle), Ja’Tavion Sanders (Freshman, Tight End), Casey Cain (Freshman, Wide Receiver), etc. are developing with real playing time.
Final Score: 52 — 12, Texas
Week 12 (7-3)
Texas @ West Virginia
The Mountaineers are another team that does not look like a legitimate threat to Texas in 2021. Although better than Kansas, West Virginia under Neal Brown has a 7-10 conference record and has not beaten Texas in the two games they have played. I expect to see the starters for Texas the entire game, but I also expect Hudson Card to begin to blossom into a legitimate playmaking threat himself. Instead of leaning on Bijan and the rest of the Longhorn playmakers, Hudson Card has to begin to show why he is Texas’ QB1 for 2021 and beyond.
Final Score: 38 — 21, Texas
Week 13 (8-3)
Texas vs. Kansas State
This will be another tough game for Texas to end the season. Kansas State will have a great running game led by Duece Vaughn. As mentioned with Iowa State, this will present a problem for Texas unless Overshown improves as a run defender. One of the other linebackers like Luke Brockermeyer or David Gbenda also must show they are worthy of being starters in 2022, as DeMarvion Overshown will most likely be headed to the NFL in April. Texas is too talented to lose this game, although I predict it will be closer than most Longhorns fans would expect.
Final Score: 41 — 38, Texas
Texas Finishes 9-3 On The Season
A 9-win campaign in the first season as a Head Coach on the 40 acres has not been done since Mack Brown in 1998. That is very favorable company to be in and should be praised as a huge success. Steve Sarkisian is working with a lot of talent left behind from the Tom Herman era, but that talent was never developed properly and development takes time.
Sarkisian’s staff looks like one of the best in college football and the most important thing to look at is who improves from the beginning of the season to the end. Does Hudson Card struggle against Arkansas but flourish later in the year against Iowa State or Kansas State? If so, that is a good sign for Sarkisian and the Longhorns future. The same can be applied to every player, especially young starters like Xavier Worthy (Freshman, Wide Receiver), Jake Majors (RS-Freshman, Center), Jerrin Thompson (Sophomore, Defensive Back) and Alfred Collins (Sophmore, Defensive Lineman). It is bound to be an exciting season for Longhorns fans as they get ready to make the leap into the SEC. Steve Sarkisian and his staff have a lot on their shoulders, trying to prove they belong in the best conference in college football. It all starts September 4th.