CBS Sports tabs Steve Sarkisian among coaches facing pressure in 2022

Steve Sarkisian, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Sarkisian, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

All eyes this fall will be on how second-year head coach Steve Sarkisian is able to guide the Texas football program through a critical season for him and his staff. Texas had a disappointing finish last fall, falling well short of expectations with a record of 5-7 (3-6 Big 12) that saw this team miss out on bowl season for the first time in roughly a half-decade.

Sark and the Longhorns will be put to the test right away this fall during a difficult non-conference schedule that sees them face two likely preseason top 25 teams. Texas will face the defending National Champion runner-up Alabama Crimson Tide and defending Conference-USA Champion UTSA Roadrunners in the last two weeks of the non-conference slate.

These early-season tests for Sark and the Longhorns will really see how much this team has improved in the necessary areas this offseason. If Texas can’t show that they’ve made the necessary strides to find more success in the win column this fall, then immense pressure will start to fall on Sark and his staff.

And this is something that is pointed out in a recent list from Chip Patterson of CBS Sports this week that highlights the head coaches around college football that are under the most pressure in Year 2 at the helm. While CBS Sports did actually rank Sark higher on their list of Power Five head coaches in 2022 compared to 2021, there is still some valid skepticism regarding his standing at Texas in Year 2.

Texas football HC Steve Sarkisian tabbed as a coach with a lot of pressure in Year 2

Here’s more on what this CBS Sports piece had to say on the matter of Sark falling under pressure in Year 2 at Texas.

"Texas went 5-7 in Sarkisian’s Year 1 and lost six of the last seven games, including letting Kansas walk it off with a game-winning two-point try in overtime in Austin. It wasn’t an issue of competitiveness, as we saw the Longhorns suffer one-score losses to the three best teams in the conference (Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma), but there’s also the built-in frustration of not being able to convert any of those opportunities into quality wins — particularly when flipping any one of the five one-score losses would have made Texas bowl eligible instead of missing out on the postseason for the first time since 2016."

There are two sides to this coin in terms of the argument of how hot Sark’s seat is this year. The first, which Patterson hits on in this piece, is some of the poor coaching jobs that the Longhorns put on display last year. That was especially the case in the losses to the Kansas Jayhawks and in the meltdowns against the likes of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Baylor Bears, and Oklahoma Sooners.

On the other hand, though, Texas was close to getting bowl eligibility in almost every single one of their six losses in Big 12 play last season. Outside of the road loss to the Iowa State Cyclones last season, Texas was literally one bounce away from beating the other five opponents during that six-game losing streak.

It’s hard to imagine that Texas won’t be able to find a way to at least win half of those games this fall if this team plays in as many close contests as last season.

Moreover, Texas has an improved roster that should better fit what Sark and his staff are trying to do on each side of the ball. Landing key transfers such as quarterback Quinn Ewers and wide receiver Isaiah Neyor should usher in a new era on offense for the Longhorns.

The defense should also fair much better in Year 2 under Pete Kwiatkowski.

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Meaningful improvement for Sark and the Longhorns this fall likely means winning at least eight or nine games during the regular season. If Texas wins seven games during the regular season along with showing ample improvement in a bowl game win could also be enough to keep most of the pressure of Sark and his staff heading into the 2023 offseason.