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Texas A&M Football

Longhorns join Southeastern Conference with grandiose expectations

July 6, 2024
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For years the anticipation has been building for Texas to join the Southeastern Conference.

The Longhorns’ exit from the Big 12 is final.

Their foray into SEC football begins this season. They are thrilled.

“We're excited about it,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said to an audience in Houston last month. “It’s a great league.”

Perhaps Sarkisian should be reminded that the Titanic’s passengers were excited, too.

A potential iceberg looms almost every week in the SEC, which is much more treacherous than the Big 12.

But there are a few obvious reasons the Longhorns appear capable of successfully navigating the obstacles on their maiden voyage through the SEC.

First, the Longhorns were gifted an advantageous SEC schedule. Based on opponents’ 2023 results, Texas’ conference schedule ranks 15th among 16 SEC teams.

Texas plays just two conference teams that managed more than seven victories last season. Neither are away games. The Longhorns are at home against Georgia and play Oklahoma in Dallas.

Perhaps Sarkisian should be reminded that the Titanic’s passengers were excited, too.
A potential iceberg looms almost every week in the SEC, which is much more treacherous than the Big 12.
But there are a few obvious reasons the Longhorns appear capable of successfully navigating the obstacles on their maiden voyage through the SEC.

More importantly, though, quarterback Quinn Ewers is a Heisman contender. He’ll play behind a stout offensive line anchored by All-American candidate Kelvin Banks Jr.

That line, and the presence of running back CJ Baxter, should ensure the ground game is productive.

But even with Ewers there are doubts of whether the passing game can be as explosive as last season when the Longhorns were ranked 17th in passing offense.

Star receivers Xavier Worthy (first round) and Adonai Mitchell (second round) were selected in the NFL draft.

Their departures leave voids that Texas hopes to fill with transfer Isaiah Bond of Alabama and five-star recruit Ryan Wingo.

Yet, there are even more questions on defense. Last year Texas was third in the nation against the run. But that was with defensive tackles Byron Murphy (first-round pick) and T’Vondre Sweat (second-round pick) dominating at the line of scrimmage.

Their departures also leave huge voids that the Longhorns hope to fill with transfers Jermayne Lole (Louisville) and Bill Norton (Arizona).

Texas is also counting on transfers to upgrade the pass defense, which was ranked 116th last year and allowed 300 yards or more in eight games.

Transfers Andrew Mukuba (Clemson) and Jay’Vion Cole (San Jose State) were brought in tighten up the secondary.

Even with questions at receiver and on defense, the Longhorns have grandiose hopes for this season.

"My goal is that we're playing on January 20th,” Sarkisian said. “That's a long road.”

Of course, January 20 is the date of the national championship game.

Texas could indeed meet that goal. But in the SEC, getting there will be no pleasure cruise.


Texas Longhorns

2023 record: 12-2; 8-1 in the Big 12

Aaron E. Martinez/USA TODAY Network
Quinn Ewers was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by the Associated Press and Phil Steele last season.

Primary area of strength: Quarterback Quinn Ewers is a legit Heisman contender. He passed for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. If he gets hurt — which he often does — highly-regarded prospect Arch Manning is the backup.

Primary area of concern: Last season Texas was ranked 116th in the nation in pass defense. Six opponents accumulated more than 300 passing yards. All-Big 12 defensive back Jahdae Barron returns as does starting safety Michael Taaffe. But 2023 starters Ryan Watts was taken in the NFL draft, while Terrance Brooks (Illinois) and Jerrin Thompson (Auburn) transferred. Longhorns are hoping transfers Andrew Makuba (Clemson) and Jay’Vion Cole (San Jose State) will shore up the secondary.

Top three players

  • OT Kelvin Banks: A starter since he arrived as a freshman, Banks has All-American and all-conference credentials. He’s projected as a future first-round draft choice. Last season he allowed just one sack.
  • QB Quinn Ewers: He’s 16-6 in two seasons as a starter. Ewers has passed for 5,656 yards and 37 touchdowns in his two seasons in Austin.
  • LB Anthony Hill: As a true freshman Hill recorded 67 tackles and five sacks in 2023.

Top three additions

  • WR Isaiah Bond: The transfer from Alabama is best known for catching the last-play touchdown pass to beat Auburn. He had 48 catches for 668 yards and four TDs in Tuscaloosa.
  • LB Trey Moore: Transfer posted 14 sacks last season to set a UTSA record. An All-AAC selection a year ago.
  • WR Ryan Wingo: Five-star recruit was the No. 2 receiving prospect in the nation.

Top three departures

  • DT Byron Murphy: First-round draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks. Posted 29 tackles.
  • DT T’Vondre Sweat: Second-round draft choice of the Tennessee Titans. Posted 45 tackles.
  • WR Xavier Worthy: First-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs. He had 1,014 receiving yards last season.


2024 Texas schedule

  • Aug. 31 vs. Colorado State
  • Sept. 7 at Michigan
  • Sept. 14 vs. UTSA
  • Sept. 21 vs. ULM
  • Sept. 28 vs. Mississippi State
  • Oct. 12 vs. Oklahoma (in Dallas)
  • Oct. 19 vs. Georgia
  • Oct. 26 at Vanderbilt
  • Nov. 9 vs. Florida
  • Nov. 16 at Arkansas
  • Nov. 23 vs. Kentucky
  • Nov. 30 at Texas A&M
Discussion from...

Longhorns join Southeastern Conference with grandiose expectations

7,078 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 5 days ago by Iraq2xVeteran
centerpole84
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I'll probably be yelling "Go Blue!" On Sept 7.
BCR
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Yeah, more about the horns. Already sick of hearing about the horns.

Bad enough it's on all sports outlets. They are even dominating these boards.
Keith70Chevelle
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Here is to tu coming into the conference
Papa Joe
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AG
How and who picked their SEC schedule???
Did ESPN come up with this easy schedule and how many games are on the whorn network?
rab79
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AG
Papa Joe said:

How and who picked their SEC schedule???
Did ESPN come up with this easy schedule and how many games are on the whorn network?

There was probably a snakey thumb on the scales.
Iraq2xVeteran
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AG
I think Georgia and Texas A&M will be likely losses for Texas. Georgia will be Texas' toughest opponent, even at Darrell K. Royal Stadium. Texas A&M will be Texas' toughest road game. Also, I think Michigan and Oklahoma are tossup games for Texas. Michigan lost many starters and most importantly their head coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL, but it will still be a tough road game. Oklahoma lost all 5 starting offensive linemen from last year, but they have won 11 of their last 15 games against Texas, including the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game. For these reasons, I think Texas has a floor of 8-4 and a ceiling of 10-2.
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