While the question of Texas‘ “return” to college football prominence has been widely up for debate across social media and conversations between passionate fans, ESPN’s Paul Finebaum believes that the only way to determine the answer is based on the results of the Longhorns’ game against Alabama.
On a recent episode of Sportscenter, Finebaum and the rest of the panel were discussing college football takes that may not be widely agreed with, which prompted Finebaum to mention that the Texas Longhorns will compete for a spot in the CFB playoff in 2023.
Finebaum backed up his claim by saying, “They’re going to be the pick to win the Big 12. But they have Alabama in Week 2, in Tuscaloosa. You will see on College GameDay that day upsets are picked. I promise you that. If they pull that one off, they’re going to be off and running.” Finebaum added, “They have one of the best quarterbacks in the country. They have the most famous freshman in the country in Arch Manning. And I think they’ve got a shot at getting to the Playoff, and a legitimate shot this time.”
While the CFB Playoff still feels like a bit of a stretch, Steve Sarkisian returned 16 starters from last year’s squad including players like Quinn Ewers, Xavier Worthy, and Jaylan Ford who all had generated impressive numbers last season. It is important to note that Ewers struggled with injuries in his first season and had some “freshman moments” on the field so if Finebaum’s prediction is to come true, keeping him on the field is a major key.
The two teams actually played last season in Austin where Ewers suffered an injury after a solid start against the CFB blue blood, but with Hudson Card in at QB and the momentum starting to shift, Saban and the Crimson Tide took down the Longhorns 20-19.
To Finebaum’s credit, Texas does have the roster to contend for a spot in the CFB Playoff, and they were picked to win the Big 12 this season by the media. However, Texas hasn’t won a Big 12 title since the 2009 season under Mack Brown, so history is not on their side. The Longhorns kick their season off on September 2nd against Rice, with Alabama in Week 2, and the Big 12 opener two weeks later in Waco against Baylor.