We're counting down the days until football is back in the state of Texas, and we're officially down to the final 10 days. To celebrate, we're making 10 completely insane predictions – that just might come true. Don't hold us to these predictions too hard, though. They're meant to be out there.
Shane Buechele throws for 4,000 yards
Okay, 4,000 yards in his first season as a starting quarterback might be a little generous, but Buechele is set up to have exponentially more success at SMU. James Proche and Reggie Roberson are as good receivers as you’ll find in college football. The combination of Rhett Lashlee and Sonny Dykes should be perfect to put him in better positions. If Buechele acclimates quickly, watch out.
UTEP wins four games
Over the past two seasons, UTEP has won a measly single game. In 2019, that will change. The Miners have multiple winnable games on the schedule, including matchups against Rice, New Mexico State, Charlotte and UTSA, not to mention a matchup with bad FCS opponent Houston Baptist to open the year. The Miners will take advantage of the favorable schedule, as Brandon Jones takes much better care of the ball than Kai Locksley did last year.
Incarnate Word upsets UTSA
To call this the biggest game in UIW history would be underselling it. The Cardinals won the Southland Conference for the first time a year ago, and proved themselves as the top FCS program in the state. An opportunity to knock off the much more high-profile in-city rival at the Alamodome is one they won't pass up.
McLane Mannix leads the state in receiving
Texas Tech's top receiver might not have even gotten a Big 12 offer out of high school. Mannix starred at Midland High School, and quickly translated production-wise at Nevada. He posted 107 catches for 1,653 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Wolfpack. Now, on a team looking to replace First Team All-American Antoine Wesley, Mannix can become the star.
Texas State more than doubles its win total
Last season, Texas State won just three games. Looking at the schedule, winning seven isn't outrageous. Games against Texas A&M, SMU, Arkansas State and App State are almost surely losses. Matchups with Georgia State, South Alabama and Nicholls are likely wins. That gives the Bobcats six games to pick up three wins, including a potential bowl game. It'll be close, but Jake Spavital should fix plenty of ailments in year one.
Texas A&M beats a Playoff team
The Aggies have a brutal schedule in 2019, but that just creates a few extra opportunities. Texas A&M plays against three teams that could make the College Football Playoff: Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. LSU isn’t far behind, either, though beating the Tigers would almost certainly knock them out of a playoff spot in the last week of the year. Do the Aggies have what it takes to shock the world? Maybe.
Houston fields the nation's best offense
Dana Holgorsen is one of the best offensive coaches in the country. D’Eriq King is the AAC’s best quarterback. Patrick Carr and Kyle Porter are solid running back contributors. Marquez Stevenson leads perhaps the most underrated receiver corps around. Put it all together and you could see the most productive offense in football.
TCU’s best quarterback is a true freshman
The Horned Frogs have six quarterbacks on campus, including Kansas State grad transfer Alex Delton and Ohio State transfer Matthew Baldwin. However, the best player won't be any of the veteran options; it'll be Max Duggan. Already, Duggan has started to move into the top group of the quarterback competition. Expect Gary Patterson to open with Delton, but Duggan could become a standout starter later in the year.
Sam Houston State runs away with the Southland
Last year was a bad year for the Bearkats, there’s no denying it. With all the returning talent in 2019, don’t expect it to repeat itself. Quarterback Ty Brock ended up as a Jerry Rice Award finalist. Wide receiver Nathan Stewart is an All-American. The defense brings back several key contributors. The 2018 season was a blip on the radar, and Sam Houston is ready to reclaim its rightful throne.
Baylor makes the Big 12 title game
Yes, Baylor has a chance to be much better, and that plays a part. If this wild prediction comes true, it will have a lot to do with the schedule. The Bears only leave the state three times, and twice are to play the lowly Kansas teams. Matchups with Texas and Oklahoma are at home. If the Bears can pull one or two upsets, nine or 10 wins could absolutely be on the table.
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