Why You Should Take the Over on Texas

We’re still 57 long days away from the 2017 college football season and Texas fans all over the country are eagerly anticipating the September 2nd kickoff against Maryland. Along with the countdown to opening kick, fans look to the city of Las Vegas to see what Sin City envisions for their team. Recently, South Point Sportsbook in Las Vegas released a list of all 130 FBS school’s win totals for the 2017 season.

For the unexperienced gambler, a win total is a projection provided by Vegas sportsbooks in order for people to bet on. So if your team has a projected win total of ten, you would bet on whether you think your team will win over or under ten games.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am as diehard as it gets when it comes to Texas sports; but above all, I’m fair. Coming off of a 5-7 season and losing to a two-win Kansas Jayhawks team for the first time in 78 years, I was not surprised that the win total for Texas was set at 7.5, which ranked sixth in the Big 12. Though not surprised, I do believe Vegas is off the mark with this win total. So if you’re a Texas fan or just a fan of football in general this is why you should take the over on Texas in 2017:

SCHEDULE

With the addition of the College Football Playoff teams have started to schedule more challenging non-conference games. Texas is no exception to this as they will play two teams from Power 5 conferences, Maryland and USC, in the first three games of the season. Texas will face the Terrapins in the 2017 opener and a lot of people are projecting that game to be much closer than it should. To those people I say this: Maryland’s win total in 2017 is 3 and they went 6-7 last year with their most impressive win being a 50-7 beatdown of what would become 3-9 Purdue. Maryland proceeded to get run through by Penn State, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska.

Other easy wins I predict for the 2017 Longhorns include: San Jose State at home, @ Iowa State, @ Baylor, @ TCU, Kansas at home and Texas Tech at home.

Toss-up games, in order of confidence that Texas can win, are: Kansas State at home, Oklahoma (because that game is almost always a toss-up), @ West Virginia and Oklahoma State at home.

That leaves Texas with six nearly guaranteed wins, meaning you’d be betting on Texas to win two of the toss-up games or one of those and a bowl game.

TOM HERMAN

I'm not usually one to buy into the pre-season hype. I generally have to see something before I believe it, but Herman seems like the real deal. There's no doubting that Herman has proved himself in big games as he is 6-0 against teams ranked in the AP Top 25, including Texas' biggest rival Oklahoma. But beyond W's it seems that Herman has players buying in to his system. Though people like to joke about the pee chart and Herman's cheek kisses. His athletes enjoy how much he cares about them and often refer to him as a father figure.

Another thing I love about Herman is his knack for aggression. In Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 2017 edition, senior linebacker Naashon Hughes is quoted saying, “’(Practices) are a lot harder, they’re a lot tougher. We go 20, 24 periods a day, and it’s all contact. We tackle the whole time.’” Hell, the biggest take away from the spring game was that Texas kicked it off with a one-on-one tackling drill as the rest of the team circled around and hyped them up. This makes me more excited than Herman’s impressive record against good programs because it brings a physical aspect back to this team, something that has been missing since the late years of Mack Brown.

But above all, Tom Herman is a winner, influenced by other winners such as Urban Meyer and Mack Brown. He is a coach that refuses to kneel in the presence of adversity and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

EXPERIENCE

D’Onta Foreman was the best running back in the Big 12 (don’t @ me OU fans) and losing him hurts. Texas’ running game won’t be the same, however Chris Warren III got some quality time his freshman year and averaged almost 100 yards per game last season before being sidelined with an injury. With his experience and stud freshman Toneil Carter lining up behind QB Shane Buechele, I can rest easy knowing the running game will still be productive. Speaking of Buechele, the expected starter is going into his sophomore season after posting nearly 3,000 yards in a very impressive showing last year. He won the Manning Passing Academy QB challenge and continues to improve his long ball, something he really struggled with last season.

The most anticipated position for Texas this year is wide receiver. Sophomore Collin Johnson and senior Armanti Foreman are two of the names you’ll hear thrown around and it’s easy to see why. According to ESPN, Johnson is 6’ 6”, 212 lbs. and he plays every bit of it. The man is a consistent threat in the red zone and although he only had three touchdowns last season, I think you’ll see a lot more production from the big man now that he has some experience under his belt. Foreman, brother of D’Onta, is a senior wide receiver and is hungry to get his name out there in hopes of hearing his name on draft day and joining his brother in the NFL. Expect great things from the most experienced receiver in the talented corps.

On the defensive side of the ball, look to junior linebacker Malik Jefferson to ignite the fire in Texas’ defense. Although Jefferson hasn’t lived up to the expectations of fans thus far, Texas’ defensive coordinator Todd Orlando found a way to conjure up 11 sacks against Lamar Jackson with his defense in Houston so good things should come from the Texas linebacker crew. Texas gave up 448.2 yards per game last year, down from 452.6 the year before, and are looking to improve upon that number. Junior nickel back P.J. Locke III and junior CB Holton Hill, both returning starters, look to lead a secondary that has been the biggest hole in the Texas defense for the past few years.

With nine returning starters on both offense and defense, Texas fans have a lot to look forward to when it comes to a more experienced team.

I think it is extremely realistic to say that Texas can beat a 7.5 win total, in fact, I expect them to. Winning seven or eight games in 2017 may not be what Texas fans want, but with the hole Texas is in, it’s a long way back to the top and 2017 is just a step in the right direction.

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