Playoffs? Saturday will determine whether or not Texas will contend

We are one win away from a 10-win season in Austin. The Texas Longhorns are looking for the first of those since the plateau of former head coach Mack Brown’s tenure in 2009.

We identified a 10-win season as a regular season marker for success over the offseason. And while such seasons seemingly grew on trees in the early 2000’s, there should be a higher level of appreciation for the accomplishment this year. With that said, Texas has more to play for in 2023.

The Longhorns are 9-1 and firmly in the College Football Playoff discussion. All that stands between Texas and a Big 12 title berth is a trip to Iowa State (6-4) and what could be a rivalry finale against Texas Tech (5-5).

To be sure, neither opponent plays very good football. The Iowa State Cyclones are one of the worst offenses in the country at No. 107 in offensive success rate, No. 96 in pass success rate and No. 116 in run success rate.

By comparison, the Texas defense on the whole is stingy despite poor gross defensive stats like passing yards allowed. The Longhorns are No. 5 in defensive success rate ranking, No. 9 against the pass, and No. 11 against the run.

If Texas is a playoff contender, it will make a statement on the road in a difficult place to play. In the team’s last two trips to Ames, the Longhorns have been outscored by the Cyclones, 53-28. The last time the two teams played in Iowa, Texas lost 30-7. A playoff team would correct that performance with a win.

There’s no question there is a different level of football played in Austin this season. Even so, a convincing win over the weekend in Ames could elevate them into a different category. Texas will look to prove itself a playoff contender on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT on Fox.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire