Four bold predictions for Texas football in 2022

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While the 2021 season is far from over for Texas, the program is certainly headed in the right direction.

With a new head coach in town, it was expected to experience some bumps in the road, but the bumps that have happened thus far have been more painful than ones in the past. In two of the three losses that Texas has endured this season, they were up by double-digits and really had no business losing the game. The team sputtered in the second half, and the weaknesses were extremely exposed.

However, the Longhorns have shown signs of what is to come under Steve Sarkisian. At times, the offense has looked like one of the most dynamic offenses in the nation. The defense has a lot of room to grow, but when you consider the fact that these players are in their third system in three years, it is safe to assume that having the same defensive scheme for a full season and offseason will only help next season.

Most of all, this season has revealed that Texas has some star power on the team in sophomore running back Bijan Robinson, freshman receiver Xavier Worthy, and pass rusher Alfred Collins. The foundation for the team to take the next step is there, the staff and the players just need to build on the success they experience this year.

With that being said, here are four bold predictions for Texas’ 2022 season.

Bijan Robinson wins the Heisman

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This one honestly could have happened this year if the Longhorns did not lose consecutive games to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. His 50-yard touchdown run against Oklahoma would have likely been his “Heisman moment” had they finished out the game with a win. Sarkisian has coached high level talent before at Alabama, but it is fair to say that Bijan Robinson is the best running back he has coached. Barring injury, Robinson will have a great opportunity with an improved offensive line next season, and hopefully improved passing game to pop off more than he has already.

Robinson’s 946 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns through seven games were all done with a subpar offensive line, and a passing game so inconsistent that defenses could key in on the run game. It is safe to assume that Sarkisian and his staff will address the offensive line this offseason, whether it be recruiting or via the transfer portal. Robinson is already poised for a big season this year, but Heisman voters factor in wins, so he is likely going to be a finalist at best. Next season will be his year.

Texas will have someone record double-digit sacks

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This has been a major issue this season, as the defensive line is a committee that does not have one individual that is racking up sacks like Joseph Ossai was. As it currently stands, Ovie Oghoufo and Alfred Collins are tied for the lead on the team with two sacks a piece, and Collins leads the team in hurries with 10.

The Longhorns have simply been unable to generate consistent pressure, and when they do, they have not been able to finish the play off with a sack. They need someone to step up and assert themselves as the alpha off the field and on the field. They are bringing in a class full of defensive linemen, and Alfred Collins will likely continue to get better. There is also the possibility that Ja’Tavion Sanders makes the move to the defensive side of the ball, but right now Collins seems like the best bet to erupt and rack up double-digit sacks.

Texas wins at least 11 games for first time since 2009

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Steve Sarkisian has yet to coach a team to double-digit wins in his first seven years as a head coach, and although he has a chance to win the remaining games on the schedule this year, it is likely that Texas drops another game. He won nine games in his first season at USC, but had personal issues that hindered him from doing the job the following year, and was let go while holding a 5-3 record.

There is a new found hype around Sarkisian and Texas, due to the success he had at Alabama and the glimpses the team has shown this year of having a prolific offense. He will start to usher in players that fit his mold, along with having current players for a full year, so he definitely has the potential to develop the team even more. The Longhorns have an interesting schedule next season, but assuming there is a ton of turnover in the Big 12, it should be manageable as it is very backloaded allowing them to build confidence. They will likely not beat Alabama Week 2, but outside of that game, every game on the schedule is very winnable.

The Longhorns finally best the Sooners and win the Big 12

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The Longhorns were in a prime position to beat Oklahoma this season, but were unable to finish out the game due to the stellar play of Oklahoma’s Caleb Williams. Texas has been just a play away in the last few matchups, and the last three meetings have been decided by single digits, so theoretically they will figure it out one day. The biggest thing that hurt them this season was the fact they were not prepared for Williams at all, and his ability to extend plays with his legs exposed the defense.

With Sarkisian getting a chance to recruit or acquire helpful talent from the transfer portal at the receiver and offensive line position, along with the defense getting a chance to be in the same system two summers in a row, the Longhorns are poised to end Oklahoma’s four-game win streak against them. This is the boldest prediction of them all, as we don’t know what will happen to the roster between now and next August, but Texas really needs to have a breakthrough before heading to the SEC.

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