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Friday, September 01, 2006

Official Predictions for the Defending National Champions

As we sit here slightly more than 24 hours away from the defending national champions taking the field against North Texas, it's time for me to memorialize my predictions for the Horns' chances this year. I have to admit that I've been back and forth on how I think the team will do.

Vince's departure from the Forty Acres not only left me a shell of the man I once was; it also transformed the Horns from favorites to repeat to just another pseudo-contender. With Colt McCoy or Jevan Snead starting at QB, I thought Mack was looking at a definite two-loss season (Ohio State and Dirt Burglar Community College) with the possibility of dropping another one to a conference also-ran (heeeeelllllllllooooo, Texas Tech!). But I don't see things shaping up nearly as negatively now.

Rhett Bomar opted to pursue a career in fraud instead of football, single-handedly crippling the Dirt Burglars' season. McCoy and Snead have looked good in practice. The Horns return sixteen (16) starters. The monkey is off Mack's back. Preseason favorite Ohio State is breaking in a ton of starters on defense, and media darling Notre Dame has as tough a schedule as you're likely to see. I've rethought my outlook. Without further ado, here's my take on how the Texas Longhorns' 2006 schedule will break down:

1. North Texas (W)
2. Ohio State (W)
3. at Rice (W)
4. Iowa State (W)
5. Sam Houston State (W)
6. Big Red Motors University (W)
7. Baylor (W)
8. at Nebraska (L)
9. at Tech (W)
10. Okie State (W)
11. at K-State (W)
12. A&M (W)

Thus, I'm calling 11-1 for the good guys. I am sure I will take some heat for picking the Horns to lose to Nebraska, but allow me to present my rationale. By the time they play on 10/21/06, I think the Horns will be 7-0 and the Huskers will be 6-1, with their sole loss being to USC. The game will be played in Lincoln, and it will represent the first time McCoy (or Snead, but in all likelihood McCoy) has to play in a truly hostile environment. I think the crowd will make things difficult for Texas' young QB, and the missteps will be magnified. It just smells like the sort of game where Nebraska gets some momentum and hangs on to win at the end. I'm not sold on Bill Callahan, but I do believe that the game will be the sole blemish on the Horns' regular season. I still like the Horns to repeat as Big XII champs in a revenge title game against the Huskers. But do they make a return to the national championship game? No. The Horns will be one of a handful of one-loss teams, and I see them on the outside looking in when it comes to playing for the big one. A BCS bid is surely in the cards, but I don't see a second straight shot at the title.

3 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

Great post. I'm rethinking the OSU game, which I originally thought would be a likely loss for the Horns. We'll see how the defense for the Buckeyes looks Saturday against NIU, who has a very talented running back. I am ready to reverse course and call a win for UT in that game, assuming Saturday's events aren't disturbing. I'm still concerned, as Troy Smith is possibly this year's version of VY, but I think the Horns and their fans pull this one out in a classic.

Interesting call about Nebraska. I would think that the Red River Shootout, while obviously not as one-sidedly antagonistic of a crowd, should prove ample testing ground for the freshman QB, in addition to the incredible hype leading up to the OSU game. I think the Horns' D will be too much for the Huskers' cute little offense to handle in that one.

I like the 11-1 number, and I don't think there's any way that the Horns lose two games on this board, now that Paul Thompson's the QB in Norman. I'll mark Lubbock, though, as the game the Horns are most likely to lose. Strange things happen in the desert, and if Mike Leach's offense gets clicking early, I'm afraid the Horns won't be able to throw the ball well enough to keep up. The rest of their games should stay low scoring enough for the running game and the defense to get the win.

On the national scale, I would not be surprised at all to see no teams make it through the regular season undefeated. There are just too many good inter-conference matchups this year, I think, which is great for football and bad for the retarded BCS schematic. It will be very interesting to see how the season plays out, and I am thrilled that the season is finally here.

Fri Sep 01, 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Ted Bosquez said...

Tim - I think it is more likely that we lose to Texas Tech than to Nebraska and their still developing offense.

I think we defeat tOSU and the Land Thieves, but I am very nervous about the Red Raiders as (1) Mike Leach is one of the few truly innovative coaches in the collegiate ranks (2) while they will have to break in a new QB and RB, they have experienced receivers and an improving offensive line (3) every year Leach recruits a little better and the Tech defense continues to improve and (4) in a shoot out, I am not sure if our offense will be up to the challenge to score 48 points to Tech's 45 points.

Forget the Huskers - they are a dying program - fear the masked bandits and their tortilla tossing masses.

Fri Sep 01, 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Kris said...

I will also agree that Texas loses to Tech AND Nebraska.

The next time a team wins the Big XII with a freshman QB will be the first time.

Wed Sep 06, 04:18:00 PM  

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