Bevo is going to be bummed about this. Sports Illustrated is throwing the penalty flag on the University of Texas Longhorns as one of the most overhyped college football teams ahead of the 2019 season.
In a new piece published by SI.com, four college football writers were asked to opine about which college teams being heavily touted during the offseason might not live up to the hype. Two of the four writers singled out Texas.
“For all the constant talk about how Texas is back, especially after winning 10 games for the first time this decade (there are many that have picked the Longhorns to make some national championship noise), the lack of depth — especially on the defensive end — has to have [head coach] Tom Herman concerned,” observed one of the writers, Scooby Axson (who, we must emphasize, is a University of Oklahoma grad).
Axson cited two particular weaknesses for UT: a lineup with eight new defensive starters and a flimsy contingency plan in case quarterback Sam Ehlinger gets injured. Much to the chagrin of Texas fans, that one-two punch “might have Texas looking up at Oklahoma once again,” Axson wrote.
SI.com writer Ross Dellenger dismissed Texas for similar reasons. He, too, mentioned the loss of eight seniors as defensive starters, as well as a pass defense that ranked 110th nationally last season.
While acknowledging that the Horns are top-20 contenders and that Ehlinger is a solid starting QB, he complained that the “Texas is back” chatter “is so overpowering that the Horns can’t possibly meet the expectations.”
We’ll find out soon enough. The Horns’ 2019 season kicks off August 31 at home against Louisiana Tech University.
Earlier this year, Texas scored the No. 6 spot in Sporting News’ preseason college football rankings, the No. 9 spot in Sports Illustrated’s rankings, and the No. 10 spot in USA Today’s rankings. These optimistic outlooks follow last season’s 10-4 record and Sugar Bowl victory.
Recognizing the “Texas is back” talk spurred by the successful 2018 season, CBSSports.com writer Dennis Dodd noted that no one outside the UT football program “has higher expectations than the Longhorns themselves.” Put another way, he quoted Herman as saying that the Horns define their own success.
“Texas may not be ‘back,’ whatever that means at the moment, but it is certainly back to being confident,” Dodd wrote recently. “And that’s a hell of a start to Herman’s third season.”
Despite the deflating comments by Axson and Dellenger, the SI.com article did offer one nugget that could perk up Bevo just a bit: Another writer went with Texas A&M University as the offseason’s most overhyped college football team.