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College Football 2013: Texas Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 7/16/2013 7:34:12 PM

When people in the online sports betting legal community try to size up the Big 12 Conference, they will be led to an inescapable bottom line: Texas is still not “Texas.” The Longhorns might win nine games, but at Texas, nine games (in the regular season) won’t cut the mustard. This is a program that expects conference championships or, at the very least, BCS bowl appearances. After drifting in the wilderness the past three seasons, Texas head coach Mack Brown needs a huge year in 2013 in order to feel secure about his job. Will he get that? The prevailing betting odds are going to lean against Brown, at least if 10 regular-season wins is the goal Texas is shooting for.

The biggest concern for Texas entering 2013 is the quarterback spot, with the offensive line not far behind. The Longhorns have suffered in recent seasons precisely because they have lacked the brilliant, game-changing type of quarterback they had on their roster for several years. Vince Young and then Colt McCoy made sure that Texas was taken care of for several seasons, but after the Longhorns’ appearance in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game against Alabama (at the end of the 2009 season), the well ran dry under center, and Brown has been scrambling to find the right fit at quarterback ever since.

A sound sports bet has to be able to depend on some appreciable degree of consistency from a team and its players, but that’s not part of the portrait for Texas… not at the quarterback position, at any rate. David Ash has shown flashes of promise, but he has not been able to put together an airtight season from start to finish. He rallied Texas past Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl last December, but one can assign only so much meaning to that one contest. Ash lives in a Big 12 Conference that demands high-level consistency from its quarterbacks. It’s not clear by any means that Ash has reached the point where excellence can be expected of him every single Saturday. He has to be better this season, and his wobbly offensive line needs to be at its best in order for Ash to flourish. If Texas can’t get a first-rate combination of passing and pass protection from week to week, opposing defenses will be able to stop the Longhorns’ running game and make Texas a limited offensive ballclub in 2013.

For people interested in football betting, it has to be said that the best play one could make on a 2012 Texas game proved to be fairly elusive. This was largely true because the Longhorns would sometimes sputter on offense (as they did against Kansas), only to crumble on defense in other situations (Baylor and West Virginia). As much of a problem as the offense sometimes was in 2012, the defense was even more of a head-scratcher for Texas. The Longhorns’ defense, under new coordinator Manny Diaz, simply could not tackle. Linebackers and safeties were dreadfully bad last season, as the Longhorns displayed tissue-thin weakness at multiple positions and displayed none of the ruggedness that marked the school’s better defenses in the first years of the new century, when the program was beginning to regain its identity as a college football powerhouse. Texas has to improve by leaps and bounds, not by small, incremental degrees, in order to win 10 regular-season games this fall.

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