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Steve Sarkisian’s tenure at Texas won’t get off to a hot start according to a few CBS Sports analysts.
Of the five potential upsets for the 2021 college football season, CBS Sports analysts Barrett Sallee and Tom Fornelli included Texas in two of them. Each of the games are early-season matchups for the Longhorns under a first-year head coach.
Louisiana proved they’re capable of being a spoiler last year when they surprisingly defeated Iowa State in the season opener, and we’re all aware of the history between Texas and Arkansas. While anything can happen on any given day in college football, there’s one thing we know for sure: Sarkisian’s squad will be tested right off the bat.
Louisiana over Texas (Sept. 4)
Sorry, Steve Sarkisian, your Texas tenure isn’t going to get off to a roaring start. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns — fresh off of a 10-1 season and a Sun Belt title — will roll into Austin and spring the upset in Week 1 of the college football season. Coach Billy Napier, who probably should be coaching a Power Five team at this point, has put together back-to-back double-digit win seasons, returns “super-senior” quarterback Levi Lewis, running back Chris Smith and a whopping 96% of the offensive production from last season’s squad. Meanwhile, Texas’ defense finished seventh in the Big 12 in total defense last year, sixth in scoring defense and has undergone a coaching transition. Yikes. Texas is going to have to score 40 to have a chance — and it won’t be able to do it. – Barrett Sallee
Arkansas over Texas (Sept. 11)
One of the things I look for when trying to identify potential upsets is an early-season game. Teams usually aren’t operating at 100% efficiency yet, and are more prone to the kind of stupid mistakes good teams often have to make to lose to teams they’re supposed to beat. I also look for advantageous spots in the schedule, and I think this could be one for an Arkansas team that was pretty feisty last season. Under a new coach in Steve Sarkisian, Texas will have to open its season with a tough Louisiana team that has just about everybody back from a team that finished 10-1 last season. Arkansas gets to open the season with Rice. In other words, the Hogs get a more leisurely warmup while Sark and the Horns are in for a scrap. That could lead to Texas being ripe for an upset in Fayetteville. – Tom Fornelli