An opportunity still remains for the Texas football program to turn it all around this season behind the direction of head coach Tom Herman.
After a rough loss to the TCU Horned Frogs on the road last weekend, the Texas football program was left heading into the bye week on a horrible note. Texas heads into the bye week with a record of 5-3 (3-2 Big 12), after that 37-27 defeat at the hands of TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Oct. 26. That mark knocked Texas out of the AP Top 25 and all the way down to No. 24 in the Coaches Poll. Not a good way for head coach Tom Herman to head into the bye week.
The Texas Longhorns football program will come out of their bye week with a home showdown against the No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. But this will be a long 10 days before that time arrives. The pressure on the players and coaching staff will be greater than it was since the Longhorns fell short against the Maryland Terrapins in the season opener for the second straight year in 2018.
Longhorn football fans had to figure that losing to a vastly less talented and momentous TCU team was in the rear view mirror for this program. Up until Texas knocked them off last season, TCU had a four-game winning streak in this series. It seemed like the Longhorns had finally turned the page in this series, but this game proved that narrative was incorrect.
Picking up the pieces and turning the attention to thriving throughout the rest of the Big 12 slate is about the best Herman can do now. There’s a lot to reflect on and the Longhorns do now have an opportunity to heal up. This might be the most injured team in the Big 12 so far this season.
Last season, the Longhorns weren’t among the most injured teams in the Big 12. Sometimes that luck catches up down the road. That’s not really anything the coaching staff can control beyond basic injury protocol measures.
However, this is a spot where most college football fans in general know that Herman thrives in. The Longhorns tend to really challenge their opposition when they’re considered underdogs. But they likely won’t come into the matchup in a week and a half against Kansas State as underdogs.
Mostly Herman will have his back up against the wall and will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders not to fall back into the seven-win program he was at two years ago. That’s where the Longhorns were at nearly in one season under Charlie Strong. Going back to the level of success, or lack thereof, under Strong is not what we’re looking for.
So far this year, the Longhorns are 4-3 against the spread and face a team in Kansas State that is 5-2 against the spread. The usual narrative for Herman is that he does well when he’s the underdog. But the only two games where the Longhorns were underdogs this season saw them fall short in the end (against the LSU Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners).
Herman is a perfect 2-0 in bowl games thus far during his coaching tenure on the Forty Acres. He could still turn this into a special season in Austin, but there will have to be a big turnaround in a short span of weeks. The Longhorns have a difficult schedule remaining ahead, but the past trends from Herman proves that he could thrive with his back up against the wall now.