2016 Conference Preview: Big 12

DARK HORSE

Texas

I mean…they have to put it together at some point, right?

This decade has not been kind to the Longhorns to put it lightly. After winning an incredible 85.3 percent of their games from 2000-09. They’re just 41-35 since and head coach Charlie Strong, now entering his third season, might be on the hot seat after going 11-14 in his first two seasons.

Texas never has a problem reeling in the talent. Since this struggling period (by their standards), they have had either the best or second-best recruiting class in the Big 12, some of which ended up being ranked top-5 nationally. This year is certainly no different, the best crop of 2016 recruits in the conference once again, a class that features a top-5 dual-threat quarterback in Shane Buechele who will surely compete for the starting gig.

They have a defensive-minded coach in Strong who has had some success as a head coach, posting back-to-back 10+ win seasons in 2012 and ’13 with Louisville before being hired as the head man at Texas. However, one has to wonder if Strong doesn’t bring Texas to at least eight or nine victories in 2016? He may be out the door sooner rather than later.

In addition to the quarterback challenge between Buechele and incumbent senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, Texas returns a running back tandem of D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III, a tandem that combined to rush for just 1,142 yards in 2015.

Doesn’t sound overly convincing to pick Texas as a dark horse? Eh, it’s okay, I’m not buying a ton of stock into it either, but they just seem like the logical choice given their constant influx of high-profile talent. It’s got to come together at some point again.

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And hey, if it doesn’t, that only further proves that unpredictability in sports is what makes it all that more exciting.

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