By Greg DeVries
I would like to imagine that when people see the University of Texas ranked No. 15 in the country, they laugh, roll their eyes and throw away whatever news source gave them such a standing.
They lost to every ranked team they played and then also lost to Missouri, finished the Big 12 season 4-5 and nearly missed bowl eligibility for the second year in a row.
I know its defense was pretty good, but it was this same defense that gave up 55 points to Oklahoma, 38 to Oklahoma State at home and 48 to Baylor in the rain.
Texas may return seven starters on the defensive end, but only three of them earned All-Conference accolades.
None were All-Americans.
The Longhorns are also losing big parts of that 2011 defense: Blake Gideon, Emmanuel Acho, Keenan Robinson, and Kheeston Randall have all moved on.
All in all, Texas’ defense will still be towards the top of the Big 12.
As I’m sure you remember, it was their abysmal offense that was the glaring sore thumb of the team, and that is an understatement.
David Ash has been named the starter for the first week against Wyoming.
You can watch that game on the Longhorn Network.
Or, you know, not.
Last season, Ash threw for a grand total of 1,079 yards and threw twice as many interceptions as he did touchdowns.
Those stats rival that of a running quarterback, but his best rushing game last season was against Texas Tech where he ran for 59 yards.
That’s over half of the field.
It doesn’t matter how good the Longhorns’ wide receivers are because Ash isn’t going to get them the ball on a regular basis.
That leads me to the running back situation.
Malcolm Brown was a five star recruit out of high school, but losing Fozzy Whittaker hurts.
I don’t want to take anything away from Brown and Whittaker’s talent levels, but it is likely that Texas ran the ball so much because they couldn’t pass the ball well enough to beat any conference foes.
A big part of every run game is the offensive line.
Texas has an experienced one, but there is a hole at one of the offensive guard positions.
The Longhorns clearly have a laundry list of problems, so what gives?
It is possible that ESPN would artificially inflate Texas’ football prowess so that they could generate interest in the Longhorns and, in turn, earn a return on their $300-million investment in the Longhorn Network, but I’m not one to back conspiracy theories.
If Texas does manage to linger around in the top 25 for a few weeks, it will probably drop after playing Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Baylor in consecutive games.
Five other teams in the Big 12 are ranked, so the road will be bumpy for every team. But Baylor fans can rest easy knowing that it will be another long season for the folks down in Austin.