Best case, worst case for 2023: Texas Longhorns

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Spring football is ongoing across the state of Texas now that spring break is over. The 13 FBS programs in the Lone Star State are allowed to participate in 15 on-field practice sessions, including 12 involving contact. Spring games are littered throughout April with most taking place on April 15 or April 22. Houston goes first when the Cougars play their spring game on April 7. 

The 2023 season is one of change. Sam Houston is moving up to Conference USA from the FCS ranks. Houston is now in the Big 12. UTSA, North Texas and Rice are preparing for their first season in the American Athletic Conference. 

But what is the best and worst case that can happen for each team in 2023? Here’s where we stand on the Texas Longhorns


2022 record: 8-5 

2023 schedule:
Sept. 2             Rice                                         
Sept. 9             at Alabama      
Sept. 16           Wyoming        
Sept. 23           at Baylor         
Sept. 30           Kansas  
Oct. 7              Oklahoma       
Oct. 14             IDLE
Oct. 21             at Houston      
Oct. 28             BYU                 
Nov. 4              Kansas State     
Nov. 11            at TCU             
Nov. 18            at Iowa State   
Nov. 24            Texas Tech      

Best case for 2022: The Longhorns are poised for a run at the Big 12 title – their last opportunity before moving to the SEC – thanks to a strong group of returning starters and an always talented roster. Texas returns five starters along the offensive line, multiple passing targets, and over half of its production on defense. The Longhorns also sport two five-star talents at quarterback. Kansas State went from eight wins in 2021 to a conference crown in 2022. Texas wants to pull the same trick.

A 10-win season is within reach, as is an outside chance at reaching the College Football Playoff in the same fashion TCU made the splash last season. A Week 2 trip to Alabama provides Texas a chance to prove itself. Texas is talented enough to go 12-0. Even an 11-1 regular season record results in a Final Four appearance if the Longhorns win the conference title game. The best case for Texas is that Quinn Ewers takes the next step as a field general, the offensive line dominates, and the defense continues to improve in year three under defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. 

Worst case for 2022: Talent is never a question on the 40 Acres. Consistency and toughness are the problem points for the Longhorns, and we won’t know if this is the same ole Texas program from the last 10-plus years until they face adversity. The passing game must improve and there isn’t a Bijan Robinson or Roschon Johnson to carry the load. A blowout loss to Alabama could rupture the fragile psyche inside the locker room which leads to another average season in Austin. A seven or eight-win season does feel to be the floor thanks to the talent level and schedule. Texas is 13-12 in two seasons under Steve Sarkisian. Rolling into the SEC as a roughly .500 program is less than ideal. Sark would be on the hot seat heading into 2024, which would hurt recruiting and could lead to an exodus in the transfer portal. 

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