Win total projections for each Power Five program in Texas. Where should you lean?

Photo Courtesy of UT Athletics | Edit by DCTF

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The gap between spring games and media days leaves us with nothing to do as college football nerds besides project and predict. Gambling lines with potential win totals for each of the FBS teams are beginning to trickle into the public betting arena. The Lone Star State is home to 13 FBS programs in 2023 thanks to the addition of Sam Houston

Here, we make the case for the over and the under for each team’s win total starting with the six Power Five programs. We’ll release the G5 projections later in the week.  

Lines set by FanDuel Sportsbook as of June 5. 


The Line: 9.5

Case for the over: Texas returns 10 offensive players with at least 10 games of starting experience including a former five-star quarterback, future NFL draft picks at wide receiver and tight end, and an offensive line with All-American potential at multiple positions. The defense enters year three with the same staff, and the group showed impressive improvements in year two. Only Alabama should be favored if Texas lives up to its potential.

Case for the under: Texas has earned its reputation as a paper bovine over the last decade-plus. The over requires the Longhorns to reach 10 wins for only the second time since 2010. Head coach Steve Sarkisian, who is 13-12 in his two years on the 40 Acres, has never won 10 games in a season in nine years as a college head coach. The defense lost a trio of draft picks in the front seven and concerns at linebacker exist. And that’s not to mention the need to replace the production of Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. 


The Line: 7.5

Case for the over: Texas A&M fields the fourth-most talented roster in the country, according to Bud Elliott’s blue-chip ratio which measures a roster’s percentage of four- and five-star recruits. The Aggies sit at 73 percent, checking in behind Alabama (90), Ohio State (85), and Georgia (77). LSU made the SEC championship game last year with a less talented roster. Texas A&M’s talent is also experienced, even if it was trial by fire for young players in 2022. The addition of offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino also provides hope that the offense improves. Year two with the same defensive coordinator should help the talented young front seven improve against the run. Jimbo Fisher has won at least eight games in four of his five seasons in College Station. 

Case for the under: A culture feels evident from outside of the Texas A&M football program. The Aggies underwent a ton of roster turnover after the 5-7 2022 season. That might be addition by subtraction, but it remains unclear if cohesion and togetherness can be achieved in such a short span. Programs such as Colorado and SMU are also hoping to solve that puzzle. The SEC is a gauntlet and a trip to Miami in Week 2 is no gimmie. The Aggies are 6-10 against SEC opponents over the last two seasons and the bottom of the conference is only improving. The Aggies were awful against the run last season and the offense can’t build the plane out of Devon Achane. 


The Line: 7.5

Case for the over: Recent history suggests not to be bet against Sonny Dykes. The DCTF 2023 summer cover subject was 46-46 through his first seven seasons as a head coach. He’s 38-12 over the last four, including reaching the championship game last year with TCU and leading SMU to its first 10-win season since the Death Penalty. The Horned Frogs replinshied the ranks through the transfer portal and on the recruiting trail. Quarterback Chandler Morris won the job last year and should be an excellent fit in the new offensive coordinator’s scheme. The defense should be better in year two under Joe Gillespie, and his defensive line fits better into the odd-man front thanks to a few key additions. The safety room is loaded. 

Case for the under: TCU loses its best player from literally every position group on the offense and defense, including Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan at quarterback and Thorpe Award winner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson in the secondary. The Horned Frogs also lost the interior of its offensive line and their best pass rusher. The Big 12 might not field an elite team capable of winning a title in 2023, but there aren’t many easy games on the schedule either. A late stretch against the best teams in the Big 12 might be too much to ask. 


The Line: 7.5

Case for the over: Joey McGuire broke through the dust ceiling in Lubbock to beat Texas and Oklahoma at home in the same season for the first time in program history while leading the Red Raiders to an above .500 record in Big 12 play for the first time since Mike Leach roamed the sidelines. And that was only Year 1. Texas Tech returns 75 percent of its offense and a good chunk of the toughest games on the schedule take place in Lubbock at night. One more regular season win than 2022 feels reasonable, especially if the quarterback position receives better luck in the injury department.  

Case for the under: Honeymoons end. The defense lost 48 percent of its production, including leading tackler Krishon Merriweather and top 10 draft pick Tyree Wilson. Expected starting quarterback Tyler Shough has injured his collar bone and missed significant time in two straight seasons. The offensive line struggled mightily in pass protection. History is also on the side of the under. The program hasn’t won eight regular season games since 2009. The eight-win seasons of 2022, 2013, 2012, and 2010 included bowl victories. 


The Line: 7.5

Case for the over: Blake Shapen sheds the sophomore slump and looks more like the quarterback who set a Big 12 championship game record for consecutive completions thanks to improved targets around him. The offensive line was replenished through the transfer portal, and the running back room is the best in the Big 12. Richard Reese is a true star, and he won’t have to handle the rushing load alone in Waco. The defense took a step back in 2022, but a change at defensive coordinator and head coach Dave Aranda’s acumen on that side of the ball means it is only a one-year blip. Aranda reversed course and utilized the transfer portal to create more competition and provide more leadership on his roster. The Bears don’t live Waco until over a month into the season. 

Case for the under: Sandwiched around the Big 12 championship run in 2021 are two losing seasons for Aranda & Co. Shapen was not the quarterback thought they’d see in 2022 and he’s back to lead the offense again in 2023. The main strength of the offensive unit – the offensive line – is mostly new. Who knows is an improved weaponry at wide receiver and running back is enough to push Baylor from six wins last season to eight in 2023? The defense must be better. That was the catalyst of the 2021 season and the unit still lacks playmakers, at least proven ones heading into the season. 


The Line: 4.5

Case for the over: A 3-0 non-conference record would only leave the Cougars two wins away from cashing on the over. That would require beating UTSA, Rice, and Sam Houston. The Roadrunners are the toughest challenge, but at least it is a home game. Head coach Dana Holgorsen is back to calling plays, something he’s historically excellent at for the Cougars. He’ll need to be because there are questions at quarterback, running back, and offensive line. Some young and talented weapons at wide receiver are waiting to replace Tank Dell’s production. Doug Belk’s defense can’t possibly suffer more bad luck than the unit did last year. Improved play on third down gives the Cougars a chance to steal at least a pair of Big 12 games. West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Cincinnati play in Houston. 

Case for the under: A Week 1 loss to a talented UTSA team would put the Cougars behind pace in a race to five wins. A 2-2 start with wins over Rice and Sam Houston alongside a Week 3 loss to TCU means Houston must win three of its final eight games to cash the over. Finding those three games is tough. The loss of quarterback Clayton Tune and Dell is crippling, as was the transfer of running back Alton McCaskill. And that’s not to mention the 10 offensive linemen who’ve transferred over the last two off-seasons. The defense was subpar last year. The unit must try to improve while replacing some of the programs best players in recent memory.  

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