Is this year Pasadena or bust --unless you are College Football News who predicts three loses-- for the Texas Longhorns, because with some erie similarities from the 2005 season to the 2009 season. The Horns are coming a good season, but there was controverisy over the Big XII tie breaker rules the league has that gave Oklahoma the nod over Texas even though the Longhorns won the head to head matchup. During the offseason no changes were made to that rule.
The offense which was amazing last year which was 5th nationally, but was third in the Big XII by averaging just over 42.2 points per game which was .2 more then Missouri. The offense returns eight starters with big losses come from the departures in RB Chris Ogbonnava, WR Quan Cosby,RG Cedric Dockery so the offense should stil be fine. WR Cosby was the team leader with 92 receptions and since Texas just reloads however those receptions will not be that easy to replace.
When looking for replacements to take over Cosby's spot on the field looks to be speedster James Kirkendoll, but also look out for junior Brandon Collins who has been praised by QB Colt McCoy. Both of these receivers are top notch recruits and Collins was a four star from the 2006 class while Kirkendoll was a four star from the 2007 class.
The tight end might be scrapped entirely after injuries have decimated the top few candidates to start, and it is anyones guess if or who Mack Brown will stick at that spot.
Obviously the quarterback situation is great for Texas as they have Heisman Trophy runner-up in Colt McCoy. McCoy did it all for Texas which included a mind boggling 76.7 percent completion percantage as well as averaging 8.91 yards per attempt. Not exactly sure who McCoy can improve off those numbers, or even staying in the 70 percentage.
McCoy is poised to challenge for the Heisman and is most likely to win it in 2009. The reasoning because the Heisman voters are most likely not to vote for a back-to-back winner --even though Tim Tebow did receive the most first place votes last year-- which almost certainly eliminates Bradford; not because of skill but because of voters tendancy. With all the hype surrounding "The Choosen One" and the Gators it will be hard to provide a good enough season where anything less then a BCS title is considered a failure.
When I mean most likely to win it does not constitute as a guarantee, but if Texas wins the Big XII--which means the 'Horns will be in Pasadena for the BCS title game-- and is anywhere close to his 2008 numbers he will be striking the pose in New York.
The only downside to McCoy and the Texas offense is the running game, because Texas did not have a premire back in 2008 and the team was lead in rushing by Colt McCoy with 561 yards and carries with 136 attempts. Getting running yards was not the problem, but Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis strayed from the run and leaned much more on Colt McMoy and the pasing game. The 2009 Longhorns must find a balance and incorrporate the run more, so that the team can be more balanced which could provide for big plays in the passing game.
The offensive line is very experienced with 91 career starts but the line was a much better passing line then a run block offensive line. Which is another reason why the team trended toward more passing plays then running plays. Also, consider that Texas nearly exclusively is in the shot gun formation which can hinder running plays by taking too long to get to the line of scrimmage. The running backs themselves will be used in a roation or situational role with Vondrell McGee the likely starter, then there is Fozzy Whittaker who is the most versitale of the backs, and then Cody Johnson who wll be the short yardage specialist.
Defensively well it is the Big XII which is why conferene stats are more of a tool to use when measuring success then national defensive rankings. The rush defense was amazing which was first in the Big XII by giving up only 83.54 yards per game, and even more impressive was the 3.05 allowed per rush; oh also the 'Horns just happened to be third nationally as well in total rushing yards allowed. There is concern because they lost three key defensive line man to the NFL In DT Roy MIller, DEs Brian Orakpo and Henry Melton, so the rush defense could take a hit.
The pass defense is seventh in the league in yards allowed, which normally would be sound for alarm, however defensive passing yards are misleading when it comes to good teams. Any time Texas was up by 8 or more points the Longhorns were ninth in the Big XII in passing yards.
The Horns have playmakers in the secondaery with Earl Thomas, Aaron Williams, and Chykie Brown then there are a few more who could start for nearly any team in the country, so look for them to make big plays on defense.
The season really comes down to two games that could be a loss and then a third that has the potential to be a loss, and all three are in a row. There is always the Red River Shootout against Oklahoma then the potential trap game at Missouri, and then legitimate threat Oklahoma State which is also on the road.