Could this be Mack Brown's last round-up?
Texas Longhorns 9-4 (5-4) in 2012
Synopsis: The biggest and loudest critics of Johnny Manziel this off-season have come from Austin, Texas. The Bevo Nation seems to be more concerned (obsessed?) about what Texas A&M is doing than teams they will actually be playing this season. For the first time in what seems like a long while, neither Texas nor Oklahoma are the preseason favorite to win the Big XII this football season. Favorite Oklahoma State and the emerging programs at Baylor and TCU should be the top subjects of concern for the Longhorns.
Head Coach Mack Brown is on the hottest of hot seats after his program has been on a downward slide ever since the Crimson Tide's dismantling of Colt McCoy and Texas in the 2009 BCS Championship Game. Since that 37-21 loss, the 'Horns have gone 5-7, 8-5, and 9-4 (11-15 in Big XII play).
Brown's hope may rest on the arm of QB David Ash who suddenly becomes one of the more seasoned QBs in the conference. With two former 5-stars RB in the backfield (Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown), you would think Texas could do better than 53rd in team rushing in 2012. The defense returns a lot of experience but they lost their two best (see below). The Longhorns had Top 3 recruiting classes in years 2010-2012 (dropped out of the Top 20 in 2013) and those player should be coming of age. If he loses with this talent, all the more reason to give him the boot.
Key Losses: DE Alex Okafor, S Kenny Vaccaro, WR Marquise Goodwin, DT Brandon Moore, TE D.J. Grant
Key Returners: QB David Ash, WR Mike Davis, DE Jackson Jeffcoat
Newcomers: OG Darius James, ATH Tyrone Swoopes
The Schedule (I'm wimping out here with Toss-Ups because I am not sure who they lose to but they will lose)
08/31/13 New Mexico State (Austin, TX) - Win
09/07/13 at BYU (Provo, UT) - The 'Horns better not take the Cougars lightly. This road game could be trouble - Win
09/14/13 Ole Miss (Austin, TX) – Yeah, I know Ole Miss is on the rise, but they are not there yet. Home team gets the Win
09/21/13 Kansas State (Austin, TX) - The 'Cats will have some growing pains without Collin Klein – Win
10/03/13 at Iowa State (Ames, IA ) - Win
10/12/13 Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX) - Landry Jones is gone. Can Texas get off the 3-game slide to Oklahoma? - Toss-Up
10/26/13 at TCU (Fort Worth, TX) - The Frogs are always tough and this one is in their house - Toss-Up
11/02/13 Kansas (Austin, TX) – Win
11/09/13 at West Virginia (Morgantown, WV) - no more Geno Smith (the other one) - Win
11/16/13 Oklahoma State (Austin, TX) - Toss-Up
11/28/13 Texas Tech (Austin, TX) - New Head coach Kliff Kingsbury could cause problems - Win
12/07/13 at Baylor (Waco, TX) - Up and coming program could surprise - Toss-Up
Let's go Bowling! Yes but nothing too exciting.
* I feel like Texas loses at least two of the above Toss-ups. IMHO: The Big XII's lack of a championship game hurts their league's chances of getting into the BCS Championship Game.