After two tough home losses, is this Texas football team destined for a record not seen in these parts since the 1950’s?
How far can this Texas football team sink in 2015? If you go by the numbers alone, apparently pretty low.
Looking at the team’s advanced statistical profile for this season, wins will be tough to come by. Put together by SB Nation’s Bill C, the team profile looks at factors like adjusted points and scoring margin, turnovers, sack rates and a host of other metrics and spits out whether a team will win a game or not (“spits out” is a poor choice of words for a formula that Bill C obviously spent a great deal of time perfecting – my apologies Bill).
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According to Texas’ statistical profile the Longhorns will only win two more games this season – Kansas and Texas Tech.
We don’t need any formulas or fuzzy math to know the Kansas game is a lock (and I bet Texas gets all of the calls to, you know, smooth things over for the Oklahoma State game). Texas Tech is playing pretty decent football at the moment so I wouldn’t necessarily say Texas has this game in the bag.
How historic would this three wins be?
Three wins would mark the lowest win total for a Texas team since the Longhorns finished 4-7 in 1997. Mack Brown clapped his hands off during a 5-7 season in 2010. Losing records just don’t happen in these parts. Charlie Strong may join the ranks of only a handful of Texas coaches to experience this.
Throwing the numbers, formulas and algorithms aside for a moment, let’s look at the remaining games on Texas’ schedule.
TCU and Oklahoma look formidable, I will admit. Formidable but beatable. It will take near perfection from all three units – offense, defense and special teams. Being this is such a young team the likelihood of this happening is slim. The Longhorns will almost assuredly be 1-5 going into the Kansas State game.
The Wildcats are an enigma because their non-conference schedule has been soft. Bill Synder’s crew has victories over South Dakota, UTSA and LA Tech (a 3OT thriller). A weak non-conference schedule doesn’t mean Synder won’t have his players ready to play. Texas fans felt Kansas State was a winnable game last year. All Synder did was draw up the perfect game plan and not only beat the Longhorns, but pitched a shut out. Still I like Texas in this one. (2-5)
A road trip to Ames follows. If anyone can feel Texas fan’s anguish, it is the Cyclones program. Texas was the beneficiary of a couple of missed calls which allowed the team to escape with an ugly road win in 2013. The Longhorns probably shouldn’t expect the same kind of treatment from the Big 12 officiating crew in this game so playing a fundamentally sound football game should do the job and help Texas leave with a win. (3-5)
Kansas is next, and as long as Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins don’t suit up Texas will roll in this game. (4-5)
A road trip to battle a surprising West Virginia team looks to be tougher than it did a month ago. The Moutaineers are playing some pretty good football, especially on defense. West Virginia crushed Maryland 45-6 last week. November in Morgantown can mean nasty weather so this may be a game decided by defense. The Texas defense isn’t very good right now. (4-6)
The Thanksgiving matchup with Texas Tech looks to be an interesting contest. Patrick Mahomes‘ play is much improved form 2014. He looked a little overwhelmed in last year’s game before Quandre Diggs ended his night. This season Mahomes is a different quarterback. He beat Arkansas and came within 10 yards of knocking off TCU last week. I see this as a toss-up game going to the team who still has something to fight for. Texas could be desperate for a win to stay in the hunt for a bowl game. (5-6)
The season finale against Baylor could be for a chance to become bowl eligible. Looking at this game today it is hard to see the Texas defense stopping Baylor’s offense. I don’t know how Jerrod Heard and the offense can keep pace with Seth Russell and those dangerous Bears receivers. A lot can happen between now and Dec. 5, but I feel Baylor will win this game without much problem.
In the end a three-win season seems unlikely, but I don’t think Texas will beat that mark by many wins.