Ask Farrell: Will Texas be a contender? Or will it struggle?

Mike Farrell, Recruiting Director
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One of the narratives heading into the college football season is that Texas is primed for a run at the Big 12 championship and thus a shot in the College Football Playoff.

It all starts around quarterback Sam Ehlinger, a major winner who had 25 passing touchdowns and 16 rushing scores last season and who is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. What should also help Texas’ offense is a solid group of receivers, led by Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay, although losing freshman Bru McCoy back to USC hurts.

There are skilled players at running back and the offensive line will have some realignment, but there are talented players at each spot.

The defense will be interesting. Nine starters need to be replaced, with only safeties Brandon Jones and Caden Sterns returning. But a lot of outstanding players could immediately emerge for the Longhorns.

Texas beat Oklahoma in the regular season last year and had losses of one point, three points and five points to West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Maryland, respectively, and then was beaten by the Sooners in the conference title game. But Texas bounced back in a huge way in the Sugar Bowl by downing Georgia 28-21 to gain momentum heading into this season.

However, not everyone is so optimistic about the Longhorns. Athlon Sports preseason magazine wrote that Texas would be a team on the decline this season.

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FARRELL'S TAKE 

We ask Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell if he sees Texas struggling this season, or if the Longhorns could make a run at the Big 12 title and have a chance to get into the playoff.

“There’s no way Texas is on the decline. That’s ridiculous. But it’s going to be tough to win the Big 12 and make a playoff push for one reason — Oklahoma. The Sooners should once again be dynamic on offense and should be improved a bit on defense and they are the team to beat in the conference, for sure.

"Does that mean Texas has no chance against the Sooners? Absolutely not, and a lot will be determined by how Jalen Hurts plays and if he can live up to Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. But I still have the Sooners as the winner of the Big 12 next year, and I think Texas is a year or so away.”

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