It’s no surprise that Texas’ season opener against Louisiana is garnering national attention, as the Longhorns are in the midst of a new coaching change, and the Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off one of their best seasons in program history with the nearly the same roster.
In the past three seasons under Billy Napier, Louisiana has compiled an impressive 28-11 record and three consecutive Sun Belt titles. While they are viewed as an underdog for the matchup with Texas, they should certainly not be overlooked. Louisiana quarterback Levi Lewis is 24-4 as a starter, and the team is returning 20 of their starters from last season’s squad, along with the addition of six Power Five transfers.
These could all be reasons as to why Bleacher Report chose the Week 1 matchup of Texas and Louisiana as one of the biggest upsets to watch for.
This is a very dangerous game regardless of when it would be scheduled. It’s the first game of the Sarkisian era, and the first big challenge for one of Texas’ inexperienced quarterbacks under center.
This is an experienced Louisiana team that has already tasted ruining a Big 12 team’s start to a season, as they knocked of Iowa State in their first game of the season last year. The Ragin’ Cajuns are beginning the 2021 season ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll.
Here is what Bleacher Report said about the matchup:
Texas should know better than to overlook Louisiana. Last season, the Ragin’ Cajuns upended Iowa State 31-14 in the opener.
Nevertheless, the Longhorns are nine-point favorites. Vegas anticipates Texas will hold off the Sun Belt co-favorites and give Steve Sarkisian a victorious debut.
But as Louisiana returns a strong majority of its production from a 10-1 team, Texas is installing a new offense with a wide range of new personnel. That includes a first-time starter at quarterback, whether it’s Hudson Card or Casey Thompson. The competition hasn’t ended, so uncertainty continues to linger around the offense.
Talent usually wins out, and Texas is an understandable favorite. However, Louisiana already has proof of concept; the Longhorns—win or lose—are probably in for a four-quarter struggle.
Sarkisian is hoping to avoid the horrible start that Tom Herman experienced when Texas was upset by Maryland in his first game as the head coach. With nine days until the season opener, the Longhorns still have some personnel questions that have been unanswered.
Sarkisian choosing to not name the starting quarterback could be a testament to how close the competition is, or him not wanting to give Louisiana a player to key in on. That’s up for interpretation. Regardless, Texas needs to shake off any rust and show up ready to play. If they don’t come prepared on either side of the ball, Louisiana will be treating the start to the “All Gas, No Brakes” era to a disappointing detour from the jump.