For those like myself who keep a tab on NBC’s ‘Friday Night Lights,’ we’ve repeatedly (and most likely practice this slogan in our everyday lives) heard the phrase “Texas forever.” A show based on the pride, tradition, and passion that endures within the Lone Star State, some of the modern-day college football teams from Texas can’t even be grouped in “Texas at the moment.”
Although excluded from the 2015 college football playoff, the unlikely heroes of Baylor and TCU notched records of 12-1 and 11-2, whereas the programs of Texas and Texas Tech found their seasons dismantled.
Could the 2015 season see different results? We break it down.
My stomach twists, turns, and reaches an indescribable level of nausea when envisioning Longhorn quarterback Tyrone Swoopes dance and maneuver his way around the pocket. A raw and fundamentally-challenged quarterback will hope for a turnaround season following a subpar 6-7 record. The Longhorns were also outmatched by Arkansas 31-7 in their bowl game.
Throwing for less than 180 yards in five of seven contests a season ago, Swoopes will desperately seek a weapon or two on the outside given the departure of leading receivers John Harris and Jaxon Shipley.
Perhaps signees Collin Johnson and Reggie Hemphill will contribute immediately. Both four-star recruits will dress for the burnt orange in 2015.
In regards to scheduling, Texas will travel to Notre Dame, West Virginia, Baylor, and TCU. The Longhorns would in turn be satisfied with acquiring a single win in those away contests.
Prediction: 5-7, no bowl game bid
Art Briles’ recipe has something mighty fine cooking in Waco, and the Bears should pose as another immense threat in the Big 12 even without their quarterback from a year ago in Bryce Petty.
You can also cross off Antwan Goodley at the receiver position, but returners include KD Cannon, Jay Lee, and Corey Coleman — all guys who hauled in 600+ yards and six or more scores. While Baylor’s passing game receives the majority of attention, Shock Linwood’s load should climb at running back. The 5″9′ sophomore scampered for 2,133 in his first two seasons.
The Bears relapsed a tad on defense, but in the Big 12, defense remains optional at times. I see no reason that suggests Baylor can’t win the whole damn thing. While a majority of conference play stays put in Waco, the Bears face tough tests at Oklahoma State, TCU, and Kansas State. But, I still think this team could be elite.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
I’m high on the boys from Lubbock in 2015, as I feel the offense found a superb groove in 2014 led by a passing offense that ranked eighth in the country.
Like Baylor, I don’t expect much pressure coming from the defensive side of the ball, but the Red Raiders provide a handful of productive players at the skill positions.
Wide receiver Jakeem Grant has improved each year since becoming a Red Raider, and while Devin Lauderdale and Ian Sadler should step up with more experience, Texas Tech also brings back a 1,000-yard rusher in DeAndre Washington.
With a stellar 40th-ranked 2015 recruiting class (ahead of Baylor), this may very well be the start of something terrific for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Prediction: 6-6, bowl game bid
TCU Horned Frogs
No one emerged as a more valuable player in the country quite like quarterback Trevone Boykin.
You can say what you’d like about the season Ohio State had at quarterback, but not one other guy in the country displayed versatility quite like the TCU gunslinger. He had 3,901 yards through the air, 707 on the ground, and 41 total touchdowns. All that and more return for the Frogs in 2015.
The supporting cast of wide receiver Josh Doctson and running back Aaron Green should respond once more in 2015, both supplying TCU with breakout seasons.
With a few holes to plug in at offensive tackle and linebacker, the veterans and motivation as a whole should contribute to the success of another glorious season. However, I do not predict the Horned Frogs to break the playoff bracket, or any other Big 12 representative for that matter.
Prediction: 11-1, loss at Oklahoma.
Well, there you have it. Baylor and TCU seeing similar results to 2014, while Texas struggles to find their identity and the Red Raiders starting to rise in 2015.
I’ll also make a side note that Texas State should receive a bowl bid following a seven-win season if they mimic their results from a year ago. Has the committee ever watched Friday Night Lights? This is supposed to be Texas forever.
Someone failed to get the memo.