The Longhorns are poised to take back the top of the conference again

Big 12 preview: Time for Texas

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I will be writing about the Big 12 this season on SportsMap. I welcome all your comments and takes about the conference and college football. I will have my big college football bold predictions article and Heisman trophy preview next week.

Texas is back...on the right track

The Longhorns are poised for success this season. The most success they've had in a long time, in fact. I believe they are the team to beat in the Big 12. Not the Oklahoma Sooners.

Sam Ehlinger is the best quarterback to play for the Longhorns since Colt McCoy. Let that sink in. It has been ten years since Texas entered a season with this much talent and ability at the quarterback spot. Ehlinger is legit. He has a little more Baker Mayfield in him than he'd like to admit. The attitude and mentality, he's tough as nails and not afraid, is something the signal callers of the last decade have lacked. Sure, I could spout off how he was one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the nation statistically, but what you need to know is he can be better and if he is, watch out for the Horns.

The rest of their offense has potential in some areas and plenty of question marks too. A few new starters on the offensive line will be a hurdle Texas has to get over fast with LSU coming up quick on the schedule. I believe in this group of offensive linemen more than previous incarnations. They feel tougher even if they were an average pass blocking group when it comes to sacks and poor when it comes to the rushing game. They need some help and good luck with the running backs. Keaontay Ingram hurt his knee recently leaving Daniel Young and Jordan Whittington as the backs next up. If Ingram gets all the way healthy soon, he has a chance to be special. Collin Johnson is a huge target and could be one of the best college wideouts this season.

On defense, they're one of the deepest teams in the nation in the secondary. Stud safety Caden Sterns hurt his knee recently but should be back in time for to help lead the defense with Brandon Jones. They have to be solid there with so many starters to replace. The front seven is a mix of young talent and players with some experience. Defensive coordinators Todd Orlando and Craig Naivar have a tall task but if they can pull it off Texans should roll through a lot of teams.

Players to watch

​Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

Oklahoma TE Grant Calcaterra

Lamb will be a first round pick next year. Calaterra made a ton of catches in big moments. They're a freaky duo for Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts to reach his full passing potential.

TCU WR Jalen Reagor

Impressive stats last year with quarterback play leaving plenty to be desired. If the Frogs get some consistency at quarterback this is potentially a Biletnikoff Award winner.

Texas Tech Safety Adrian Frye

A defensive player from Texas Tech? You're damn right. Five interceptions as a freshman last year and this year with a different defense, hopefully better, and some experience under his belt he will try to repeat his freshman all-american season.

Baylor QB Charlie Brewer

Brewer isn't getting a ton of love ahead of the season, likely considered the fourth or fifth best quarterback in the Big 12, but he might end the season as the most statistically impressive passer. This could be a very top heavy Big 12 group of quarterbacks and Brewer has a chance to stand out among them.

Bold Predictions

The winner of the Red River Rivalry game loses the Big 12 Championship rematch

Baylor is the third best team in the conference

Matt Campbell is coaching his last season with Iowa State

Matt Rhule is coaching his last season with the Baylor Bears

Oklahoma State is the fourth best team in the conference and knocks off multiple ranked opponents

Texas Tech's Alan Bowman throws for the second most yards in the conference, behind Baylor's Charlie Brewer

The state of Kansas only wins two Big 12 games and Les Miles and his Jayhawks win neither of those

The Big 12 produces eight bowl teams

Key Games

Sept. 7 LSU at Texas

This is a game that will determine if the Longhorns will have enough juice to get into the college football playoff. I believe a win here would allow the Longhorns a loss on their schedule and still keep them in the hunt for the national title.

Oct. 12 Red River Rivalry

This is a huge game for both schools. It will matchup likely two top ten teams and would be one of the best wins on anyone's schedule hoping to be in the college football playoff.

Nov. 9 Iowa State at Oklahoma

The Cyclones play in Norman and then host Texas the following week. Splitting those could drastically affect the Big 12 race. Winning both and suddenly the Cyclones have one of the best resumes in the nation. They could very well be a speed bump of the Big 12 elite.

Nov. 29 Texas Tech at Texas

This will be the last game on the Texas schedule before I believe they will play in the Big 12 Championship game. This potentially will be the game that decides if Texas Tech plays in a bowl game or not. The bowl game for the Red Raiders if you will. Not the easiest finish to the schedule.

Nov. 30 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

Bedlam will always be one of the most important games on the Big 12 schedule. Oklahoma's tough task before a potential Big 12 Championship game. It could be a really nice win for Oklahoma's playoff resume, or a great spoiler victory for the Cowboys.

Projected finish

Texas (Big 12 Championship game winner and best record)

Oklahoma

Baylor

Oklahoma State

Iowa State

Texas Tech

TCU

West Virginia

Kansas State

Kansas

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

12. RICE

The struggle continues as Baylor comes to town the week after Texas left an impression of a boot print on the backside of Rice. I think this program is a long way off from winning games against Texas and Baylor but showing a little "want to" could go a long way with the alumni and the student section.

11. TEXAS STATE

I think I was wrong about Texas State not being the eleventh worst team in the state but honestly, maybe they are. This week at least will shake out the bottom of the list and show who is where as all the schools on this end of the list are playing similarly equal teams.

10. UTSA

How bad is UTSA? We'll know after this week. I think they can play a hard game against North Texas and honestly winning it isn't out of the question. This week will go a long way to determine the pecking order of the bottom of this list and if UTSA wants to move up, this is their chance.

9. UTEP

This week Nevada comes to town and UTEP gets to try and play away the memories of their Week 2 loss. How they perform this week will determine the integrity and quality of this team. Can they step up their game and respond to the adversity of a season slipping away?

8. NORTH TEXAS

Losing to SMU and then to Cal, the season is quickly slipping away from North Texas but here comes UTSA. This is a game that will determine the season for North Texas. Are they losers or are they going to fight for their season? This game will answer that question.

7.  TEXAS TECH

So much losing last week, it feels like almost the whole state of Texas lost. Texas Tech losing to Arizona did not help their season at all but there was no way to bump them down because everyone else lost too. Tech's off this week so the Red Raiders can reload and try again next week.

6. SMU

So yet again I correctly predicted SMU would win, and now they're looking strong. This week they have a chance to really elevate their season by traveling to now ranked #25 TCU. This is the hard one; rolling strong, good momentum but here's hoping momentum travels because this is a tough road game. I don't think SMU's winning ways continue but the upset would be huge for their year.

5. HOUSTON

So last week someone e-mailed me and asked why I had U of H over Baylor, considering Baylor was having a better year so far and I pointed out Houston's loss was to a Oklahoma and Baylor had been beating up cupcakes. Well the losing continued and now Baylor moved up while on a bye; Houston is down and it looks like even a win against Tulane won't change things.

4. BAYLOR

Coming off the bye, they passed U of H in the rankings because honestly U of H lost again. Baylor looks to continue its dominance of cupcakes this week against Rice and unless something changes this is probably where they'll be until they play Oklahoma later this season.

3. TCU

TCU won against Purdue and now they have SMU coming to town. These mid-level teams battling it out is the hardest thing to predict, because it's tough to gauge how far apart these teams are. I think TCU will win this game but even if they do, how much do we reward such a win? These are the things that makes college football fun.

2. TEXAS A&M

Texas A&M did exactly what I thought they would and beat Lamar. That probably helped the locker room feel better about their season but here comes Auburn and honestly, it's tough to see a way A&M wins this game. Obviously this will be the game to watch, but the odds of it going well are slim.

1. TEXAS

Texas took full advantage of Rice and took care of business. A big win after a loss is always what the doctor ordered but now Oklahoma State is coming to town and Texas needs to decide if they want to have a good season or a bad season. Stay Tuned.

Feel free to check out my brand new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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