This is it. This is the year Texas football has to perform well and take the next step in its evolution. Texas has not won its conference championship since 2009. That was also the last season in which Texas made the national championship game of college football. Texas has been greatly removed from the national conversation in college football for nearly all of the past 13 years. The Longhorns did make a few Big 12 Championship Games, and they did make a New Year’s Six bowl, but they haven’t done anything more than that.
Here’s a shocking fact, given how successful and prominent Texas was 20 years ago: The Longhorns, who won the 2005 national championship and were a regular top-10 team for several years early in this 21st century, have won 10 games only once in the past 13 seasons. They have lost at least four games in each of the last 12 seasons, not counting the shortened 2020 pandemic season. Fans are desperate to see this team finally compete for championships once again. Coach Steve Sarkisian knows he has to deliver.
Texas Longhorns 2023 Futures
Odds To Win Big 12: +100 at BetOnline
Odds To Win National Championship: +2500 at BetOnline
Best Bet To Win Heisman
Quarterback Quinn Ewers is priced at +1200 for the Heisman Trophy. He has the package of skills needed to perform well on a large scale. His injury last season hurt Texas’ chances of winning the Big 12 title. If Ewers can play a full season in 2023, the Longhorns feel confident they can achieve what they should. Ewers plays for one of the better quarterback coaches in the country, Steve Sarkisian, who guided Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones at Alabama and coached Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. He is surrounded by high-level offensive skill position talent at Texas. He has the ingredients needed to succeed. So much of his situation is set up for him to do well. If he handles the pressure and delivers a Big 12 championship to Texas, he should be in the thick of the Heisman conversation come December.
Pick: Quinn Ewers
Best Player Prop To Bet
Xavier Worthy Receiving Yards
Xavier Worthy is a dazzling talent in the Texas offense. He has eye-popping speed and considerable natural ability which jumps off the screen when viewing film or archived video footage. If you see a receiving yards proposition connected to Worthy, it will be natural to think he will go over, just because he is so conspicuously talented. However, Texas – while loaded with talent and ability – is an unproven team. A lot of hype has greeted previous seasons of Texas football, and the Longhorns have not been able to translate potential into reality.
There is a certain degree of skepticism which is warranted with the Longhorns in 2023, and if you share that skepticism, you will probably think that Worthy – despite being a high-end NFL-level talent – won’t collect as many receiving yards as he probably should or could. It might not be his fault, but Texas’ offense has to perform well enough as a collective whole in order for Worthy to derive maximum benefit from being on the UT roster. Go with the under for Worthy’s receiving yards if you see a prop for the number.
Pick: Xavier Worthy Under Receiving Yards
Regular Season Win Total
Texas is part of the Big 12 Conference for one more season. The Longhorns will leave for the SEC next year, so this is their Big 12 finale. The Big 12 had 10 schools in 2022, but with the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston, the Big 12 will have 14 schools for this one year before moving to a 16-team setup next year, when Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado join the conference.
Because the Big 12 has 14 schools and not 10 this year, Big 12 teams aren’t playing every other member of the conference. They will play nine games in the conference but will not play four schools. Therefore, the complexion of the schedule matters. Which teams have the easier road and which ones have the tougher path? Texas’ schedule has these particularly tough games in 2023: at Alabama, versus Oklahoma in Dallas at a neutral site, at Houston, home versus Kansas State, at Baylor, at TCU, and home against Texas Tech.
Examining The Schedule
The game at Alabama will be very tough for Texas. The game against Oklahoma is the game Texas wants to win the most. Texas probably does have a more complete team than OU this season, and it has an offense which will likely be able to outflank Oklahoma’s defense. Part of why Texas has so much hype this year is that Oklahoma struggled last year and is not the dominant program it was in the Big 12 under former coach Lincoln Riley. New coach Brent Venables struggled in his first season and might need at least one more year if not two to get OU back to the top tier of college football. Texas probably will beat Oklahoma.
The game at Houston should be a Texas win. Houston has not been especially strong in recent years. The home game versus Kansas State will be tough. The Wildcats play very physical and disciplined football which can frustrate Texas’ speed and athleticism. That game feels like a loss for Texas.
With the win total being 9.5 for Texas, the ability to go over the total comes down to the Longhorns’ ability to win at Baylor, at TCU, and at home versus Texas Tech. TCU is nowhere close to the level of talent it had last season when it reached the national championship game. Texas should beat the Horned Frogs. Texas Tech is recruiting better and improving its roster under coach Joey McGuire, but the Red Raiders might not have enough firepower to outscore the Longhorns in a shootout.
This leaves the trip to Baylor, where defensive mastermind Dave Aranda will try to outflank Sarkisian’s Texas offense. Baylor struggled last year but should be better this year. If Baylor makes significant improvements in 2023, it should be able to knock off Texas. The ultimate verdict is that Texas will lose to Alabama, Kansas State, and Baylor, going under the 9.5 total.