The maxim “Texas is back” has become a running joke used by Longhorns skeptics since the program’s last Big 12 title in 2009.
Texas hasn’t been relevant on the national stage in more than a decade, but after the team’s impressive 34-24 victory against Alabama on Saturday, the overused saying may finally have some credence.
The Longhorns entered their Week 2 matchup against No. 3 Alabama as seven-point underdogs, but they left with little doubt they were the better team.
Quarterback Quinn Ewers looked the part from the opening play, as he completed 24 of his 38 pass attempts for 349 yards and three touchdowns. Three wide receivers finished with at least 75 yards, and 10 different players caught a pass.
The defense, which is the strength of this team, held QB Jalen Milroe to 14-of-27 passing, 255 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Texas racked up five sacks and nine tackles for loss in a performance that proved it has the best defense in the Big 12.
It’s easy to overreact to one game and start screaming “Texas is back!” from the rooftops just to watch the Longhorns turn around a few weeks later and drop a game they shouldn’t. But this year feels different. Looking at the remaining 10 games on the schedule, Texas should be able to go 11-1, at worst, and punch its ticket to the College Football Playoff.
The Longhorns have only two games remaining against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll. They get No. 19 Oklahoma at a neutral site and No. 15 Kansas State on their home field. Texas’ remaining road games are against Baylor, which already lost to Texas State, Houston, which just lost to Rice, TCU, which lost to Colorado as 21-point favorites and Iowa State, which mustered just 13 points in a loss to Iowa.
Alabama on the road was by far the toughest test for the Longhorns this year, and they passed with an A+ grade.
Ewers is a legitimate Heisman contender, the offense is deep with weapons in the backfield and on the outside and the defense is loaded with NFL talent all over the field.
Now that Texas has jumped its biggest hurdle, it couldn’t ask for a friendlier schedule the rest of the way. This is a College Football Playoff team as long as the Longhorns can handle their toughest opponent — themselves.