Can Texas Win The Big 12? Here’s How It Can Happen

The Texas Longhorns had another disappointing season in 2016, and it resulted in the firing of Charlie Strong. Now, Tom Herman is taking over the talented Longhorns roster, and the sky appears to be the limit for this team. They will start 2017 projected to finish third or fourth in the Big 12, but we think they could finish the year as conference champions. Here are four things that need to happen for them to claim the Big 12 title:

1) More consistency from Shane Buechele
Let's be clear - Shane Buechele is going to be Texas' starting quarterback next season, no matter what Herman refuses to say. He was dynamite early in the season but fell apart late, throwing two touchdowns and five interceptions in the last three games of the year (all losses). Some of that can be blamed on him being a true freshman, but the Longhorns can't afford him to have any kind of a drop off. They need him to improve, not digress.

2) Malik Jefferson making "the leap"
Jefferson was the biggest disappointment of the 2016 season. As a true freshman in 2015, Jefferson showed all the indicators of a star, racking up 61 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks despite being limited with injuries. However, he wasn't nearly as effective as a sophomore and had minimal impact week in and week out. Will he be able to progress the way we all expect him to under Herman? The Longhorns need him to.

3) Overall defensive improvement
Jefferson is just one cog in a Texas defense that really needs to improve. Last year, the Longhorns ranked 93rd in total defense and 90th in points allowed per game. Opponents routinely gashed them with ease - seven teams scored over 30 points on them, including four who scored over 40.

Herman is bringing defensive coordinator Todd Orlando with him from Houston, who is known for his aggressive, blitzing style of defense. It worked for the Cougars last year, who ranked 14th in total defense. Texas is counting on seeing similar success this year.

4) Hold serve at home
This is the really the key for every team during the regular season, but Texas has a favorable schedule in terms of having their biggest games in front of their home fans. We know that Darrell K. Royal Stadium is one of the toughest places to play in the country, and it will be the setting for some of the Longhorns' most important games. Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech all have to make the trip to Austin, giving the Longhorns a distinct advantage in all four of those games. Now, Texas just has to go out and win them.

Follow our Texas Longhorns news page for all the latest Texas football news!

Back to the Texas Longhorns Newsfeed

Related Topics: Texas Longhorns Football, Big 12 Football, NCAA Football