The media covering the Big 12 have spoken with their ballots. Texas will finish fourth in the division. For Longhorn fans, that might as well be last place.
Before Burnt Orange Nation sticks its head in the sand, consider this: Big 12 media preseason polls have been hit or miss in ranking Texas, according to ESPN's David Ubben:
- 2010: Picked second in the Big 12 South, finished at 5-7 and last (sixth) in the South.
- 2011: Picked fifth in the Big 12, finished at 8-5 and tied for sixth in the Big 12.
- 2012: Picked third in the Big 12, finished at 9-4 and tied for third in the Big 12.
Texas returns 19 starters. That coupled with its reputation as king of the conference should yield a No. 1 spot. But it did not. Not by a long shot.
For an elite football program to return almost everyone and still be sandwiched between No. 3 TCU and No. 5 Baylor (gasp!) is shocking. Even more so because Oklahoma—the Sooners return only 11 starters this year—is projected to finish second in the league.
There could be a lot of "overrated" chants being thrown around the conference this fall.
If a team does not live up to the expectations or projections of the media, is the team really overrated? The team did not rank itself; the media did. So shouldn't it be the one labeled overrated for its lack of expertise?
The media may be wrong, but their lack of faith in Texas is disheartening for the Longhorns.
Is head coach Mack Brown causing some doubt? Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz? Quarterback David Ash? The defense's propensity to surrender almost 30 points per game last year? The tough schedule?
That so many questions are being asked is indicative of how much of a question mark Texas is for prognosticators. Texas football shouldn't be a question mark.
The Longhorns look like a seasoned team. They have a seasoned coach. They have the passionate fanbase. They have a ton of money. They have their own network, for crying out loud.
They also have the fourth-best team in the Big 12, according to Big 12 media. Texas is one rung above Baylor. Who is more insulted? Baylor or Texas?
Baylor has beaten Texas in two of its last three games. Two of those victories occurred on Texas' home turf. In 2011, after tying the game 24-24 early in the third quarter, the Longhorns' defense allowed 24 unanswered points. Texas lost 48-24.
Perhaps that is why Baylor is lumped so closely with Texas. Baylor is improving. But Texas also has a tendency to field great teams every four years. In 2005, Texas went 13-0 and won the BCS title. In 2009, Texas went 13-1, losing to Alabama in the BCS title game.
It is 2013. It has been four years since Texas made an appearance in a BCS title game. The timing is perfect.
The Longhorns are flying below the media's radar. Their peers think they are trending in the wrong direction.
It is time for Brown to turn "the Tide."