AUSTIN, Texas — In fun spirits, the KVUE Sports team wanted to compete against one another in a Texas Longhorns pick 'em this season, and we want to include you, our KVUE viewers.
Every Friday night, KVUE will tweet out a Twitter poll asking for your prediction of the upcoming Texas Longhorns football game with a range of victory margins for each team. The answer with the highest poll numbers will be the designated "KVUE Viewers" pick. Standings will be calculated and updated throughout the season.
Here's how the standings will work: there will be a win-loss column and a "margin of error" tie-breaker point bonus. Essentially, the difference between the actual margin of victory will be compared to the projected margin of victory. (Example: Actual score: 35-14 Texas wins, 21 point margin. Person 1: 42-7 Texas wins. Person 2: 28-21 Texas loses. Person 3: 31-17, Texas wins. Since Person 3 was the closest to the actual score, he/she will get one tie-breaker point.)
****Emily Giangreco, Sports Reporter/Anchor (@EmilyGiangreco): 9-3 (+5 tiebreakers)***
Jake Garcia, Sports Reporter/Anchor (@Jake_M_Garcia): 9-3 (+4 tiebreakers)
Jeff Jones, Sports Director (@JeffJonesSports): 9-3 (+1 tiebreaker)
Paul Livengood: Sr. Digital Sports Producer (@IamLivengood): 7-5 (+1 tiebreaker)
Bowl game: Texas-Utah in Alamo Bowl
Jeff Jones: Often times bowl games are won by the team that ‘wants it more’ —talent, coaching, and home-field advantage are all secondary to a little postseason effort. There are people who believe Texas will lack that extra effort, coming off of a disappointing regular season — and they might be right — but I’m giving the Longhorns the benefit of the doubt one more time this year. This team has senior leaders who haven’t quit and started looking ahead to the draft, despite the lackluster record. I think those seniors and a group of assistant coaches with uncertain futures find a way to guide this team to another postseason win. Devin Duvernay goes over 100 yards again, Brandon Jones creates a turnover, and UT scores an unorthodox (defensive, special teams or trick play) touchdown. Texas wins, 34-28.
*Emily Giangreco: I think this will be a close game. Utah has had a great season. But the Longhorns are playing with a chip on their shoulders. After a season of disappointments that has now led to coaching changes, this is the last game they have to prove something. I don’t see UT losing because of that. Texas wins, 35-28.
Jake Garcia: It’s been a while, but hopefully I can continue the late-season push that propelled me to first place. It feels like Texas has some momentum right now— partly because time heals wounds and partly the hiring of Chris Ash and potential hiring of Mike Yurcich have been generally well-received by fans. I think that momentum hits a speed bump in the Alamo Bowl. Utah is a well-rounded, disciplined team that seems to never get the credit it deserves. Texas, meanwhile, was marred by inconsistency all season and is doubtful to have corrected those flaws with the coaching staff having experienced so much change recently. Utah wins, 32-28.
Paul Livengood: Who would have thought back in August that Texas – at season's end – would be a seven-win team playing in the Alamo Bowl? Not me, but here we are. A season full of bumps in the road for the Longhorns have brought UT to San Antonio instead of in a potential New Years Six bowl or a College Football Playoff appearance like some anticipated. Utah enters this game as the better team on paper and I believe the Pac-12 runners up will handle their business in this Alamo Bowl. Texas is 2-1 in Alamo bowl games – as underdogs in three out of their four all-time appearances – and will not pull off the upset this time around. Utah wins, 37-31.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 14: Texas-Texas Tech
Jeff Jones: Texas has lost a few games this year and they're nearing the end of a disappointing season, but I don't think they'll let this group of seniors go out on a losing note. I expect a big day from Devin Duvernay, a sack from Malcolm Roach (who has only brought down the QB once so far this year), the team – behind it's 2 senior O-lineman – will rush for nearly 200 yards and Sam Ehilnger will be as impressive as he always is. The seniors enjoy senior day and the team ends the regular season 7-5. Texas wins, 34-23.
Emily Giangreco: While the Longhorns haven’t had the best season, neither has Texas Tech. The Red Raiders can’t seem to pull our a win in Big 12 play unless it’s against a team like West Virginia that is currently having a rebuilding season. They did beat Oklahoma State by 10 but other than that, nothing impressive. The Longhorns have also had trouble in the win column this season, but they seem to at least for the most part play a close game. This is their last home game at DKR and they’re already frustrated with how the season has gone, so I don’t see them losing this one. Losing this one would be the ultimate loss. I think the Longhorns will come through. Texas wins, 42-35
Jake Garcia: If not now, then when? Texas needs this one in the worst way possible. A loss and the Longhorns run the chance of having a losing season. Perhaps more significantly, a loss and there will be calls for the entire coaching staff to go. I say Texas stops the bleeding – at least for now – this week at home on senior day against a down-in-the-dumps Texas Tech team. The Red Raiders have lost five of six, and while all of them have been close, they also have only one road win all year. Texas, meanwhile, is 4-1 in true home games. It'll be tough to look at it as anything other than a consolation prize, but the Horns will send the seniors off in (relative) style with a win to close out the regular season. Texas over Texas Tech 35-31.
Paul Livengood: What if I told you Texas hadn't beaten Texas Tech in Austin since 2013? Would you believe it? Well, it's true. The Longhorns have dropped both of the last two matchups to the Red Raiders at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in close, nail-biting games. In fact, every game for the past four seasons has been a tight one – Texas has just won both road games in the past four years. Each of the last four games has been decided by one possession and I don't see this one being any different. There is inclement weather expected for this game, which will certainly affect game plans and execution of those game plans. Don't let Tech's 4-7 record fool you ... because this team has been competitive in just about every game they've played this season. Four of their seven losses are by three points or less: 30-27 versus Kansas State, 33-31 versus TCU, 37-34 versus Kansas and the controversial 33-30 double overtime loss to Baylor. After all of this Tech talk ... you'd think I'm picking the Red Raiders, right? I would, but there are two factors that give the Longhorns the edge in my mind: senior day and the weather. Tech is notorious for airing out the ball and that should be more difficult to do given the conditions. And finally, I expect Texas to come out inspired to send off the senior class with one last "W' in DKR. But Tech won't go down easy. Texas wins a "low-scoring" affair, 24-20.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 13: Texas-Baylor
Jeff Jones: Texas needs this win to keep the Longhorns’ very, very slim Big 12 title hopes alive — but I don’t think they get it. Baylor has found ways to win close games all season long and that’s what I believe we see in Waco. The stars on UT’s offense will all produce. We’ll see big performances from Sam Ehlinger, Devin Duvernay, and others, but Baylor will make one more play at home and come away with the W. Baylor wins, 35-31.
Emily Giangreco: Do I even need to explain? Baylor’s season has been amazing. Yes, they lost last week, but that doesn’t change what Charlie Brewer and the Bears have accomplished so far. Texas, on the other hand, has made too many mistakes and hasn’t played to their “standard” in what seems like a long time. The Longhorns know that this game is crucial if they want to have a chance at the Big 12 Championship game, but I just don’t see it happening. The Brewer vs Ehlinger battle continues and I’m picking Charlie and the Bears to come out as the winner. Baylor wins, 35-28.
*Jake Garcia: It's not that I think the Longhorns have given up on the season nor do I think they have Tom Herman out, it's that I think Baylor is the better team. A better team on paper and by recruiting rankings, maybe not, but a better team in psyche and execution, absolutely. The offensive play calling will be more creative this week from Texas, and the defense will continue its incremental improvement, but it won't be enough. Baylor will come out hungry, eager to get past its second half meltdown last week and eager to punch its rightful spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Baylor wins, 34-27.
Paul Livengood: At the beginning of the year, I would have said Texas by a mile and a half. But that was before we knew Texas would be riddled with injuries, not tackle well on defense and come into the game with four losses. I thought maybe one or two losses maximum for the Longhorns coming into this game. But here we are ... Texas has not looked like the team we thought they'd be this season and neither has Baylor, but in a good way. Who would have thought Baylor would be 9-1, with its only loss coming at the hands of a wild second half Oklahoma comeback? Definitely not me, I'll admit that. With that being said, Baylor looks like the better team at this point of the season and the Bears are at home against the Longhorns. Vegas is giving a little more than home field advantage in the spread at 5.5 points and I agree with that assessment. Texas still has talent and something to play for, though, and I don't see them going down without a fight. But, I still see them going down, nevertheless. Baylor wins and eliminates Texas' Big 12 title game hopes, 40-34.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 12: Texas-Iowa State
Jeff Jones: Texas needs a turn around game. A narrow win over K-State didn't do the trick, but a win on the road against Iowa State might. The game will be cold and I don't expect the scoreboards to heat-up quite like they have in the past. I believe Texas will do enough to win and hopefully the win sends the Longhorns on the right track for the rest of the season. Big things are still within reach for this year's team, but a loss this Saturday would eliminate those hopes. Texas wins, 28-24.
Emily Giangreco: The Longhorns win over Kansas State is going to give them the confidence they need to power through the rest of the season. They knew coming off of that bye week that they had something to prove and they did it. Iowa State is on a two-game losing streak and normally I’d say home field advantage is a thing but in this case, the Cyclones are 3-2 at Jack Trice Stadium. So, I don’t see home field advantage even being a factor. Maybe the cold will play a role and Iowa State will take a lead because of that? But it’s been cold here in Texas, so I don’t see that being a factor either. Texas needs this win, I know it and I’m sure they know it. Texas wins, 35-28.
*Jake Garcia: Iowa State seems due. The Cyclones have lost four games this year to high-caliber opponents — all by seven points or fewer. Texas, meanwhile, hasn’t been a solid road team this year. The Longhorns are likely to be without Collin Johnson, and in a cold weather climate, this one might boil down to which team is more successful running the football. While Keaontay Ingram is certainly trending in the right direction, I’m not ready to anoint him as someone who’s primed to carry the team to a win. It’s only the second time I’ve picked against Texas this year (the first being when the Longhorns faced Oklahoma), but it feels like Iowa State is destined to eventually break through, make good on its talent, and secure a marquee win. Iowa State wins, 28-24.
Paul Livengood: So ... it's going to be cold. Really cold and windy, according to weather game time forecasts in Ames. This will play a huge factor in the game, as I think the weather will limit the effectiveness of the quarterbacks for each team. I think the winner of this game will be whoever can find a better success running the football. Despite being seven-point underdogs, I think Texas goes up to Ames and leaves with a hard-fought road win in the cold. Expect a big game from Keaontay Ingram and Sam Ehlinger as a two-headed rushing attack. Texas' rushing defense has come alive in the last two weeks after being gashed by Oklahoma and Kansas. I'm going with a lower scoring game here, Texas wins 27-24.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 11: Texas-Kansas State
Jeff Jones: The best stat I've heard all week: Texas is 1-4 when Sam Ehlinger throws multiple interceptions, but the Longhorns are 3-1 following those multi-interception games.This weekend's showdown follows one of those multi-interception games. I don't think a tough month of October will derail this team's entire season. They're mentally strong enough to keep pushing forward, and Sam Ehlinger will remind us that he's the same guy who opened this season with a 15:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Sorry K-State ... that No. 16 ranking in the initial CFB poll was nice while it lasted, but that run has ended. Texas wins, 38-27.
Emily Giangreco: I see this being one of those games that comes down to the very last minute. Kansas State beat Kansas, Oklahoma, and TCU in their last three matchups. All three are teams Texas has struggled with this season. The Longhorns have an advantage being at home, but I still don’t think it will be enough. The Wildcats also gave the Sooners their first loss of the season and I personally think that’s huge. Both teams are fighting for a spot in the Big 12 Championship and both have something to prove. I just think Kansas State ends up winning this. Kansas State wins, 49-45.
*Jake Garcia: It feels like I'm going out on a limb predicting a Texas win. I can't imagine if you would've told me that at the start of the season. But at some point, talent is going to win out. I think that comes to a fruition this week with the Longhorns healthier than they have been in months and needing to show they haven't given up on this season. The Big 12 Championship game is still attainable, but this is absolutely a crossroads week. If Texas wins, the team will have the jolt of energy needed to run the table. If Texas loses, I bet it amounts to a four-game losing streak. There's a lot to play for and a lot we'll learn by Saturday's result. Texas wins, 30-27.
Paul Livengood: There are legitimate reasons and arguments I see to picking either side. For Texas, they have not lost a true road game (UT was the "home" team against Oklahoma.) except to LSU, the No. 2 ranked team in the country, by one possession. Also, the Longhorns' backs are against the wall in terms of potential chances to make the Big 12 Championship. So, UT has to have a sense of urgency moving forward and they're just now starting to get healthy again, which is clearly much needed. On that note, the past three weeks have not been the most inspiring performances from UT: losing to OU, barely sneaking a two-point home win against Kansas, and then dropping a game to TCU. On the flip side, Kansas State beat both TCU and OU at home, and destroyed Kansas on the road 38-10. Plus, positive and negative momentum is definitely something to be considered in sports. Kansas State is trending up and one could argue Texas is trending down at this point in the season. When I look at the matchup, Kansas State does something very well that has given the Longhorns fits the past month and a half: run the football. TCU, Kansas and OU all gashed UT's defense on the ground and the Wildcats offense has rushed the ball 65 times, 45 times, and 33 times in their past three games. Unless Sam Ehlinger has a Heisman-like performance, I see Kansas State controlling the game at the line of scrimmage and coming out of Austin with a win. I originally thought at the beginning of the season that Texas would potentially win the Big 12 and make a run at a College Football playoff spot, but I'm officially off that train. Kansas State hands Texas its third conference loss of the season and beat the Longhorns, 42-38.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 10: Bye Week
Week 9: Texas-TCU
Jeff Jones: Midway thorough the week, Texas was only a one-point favorite over a TCU team that enters this showdown carrying two straight losses. If you still have time to put some money down on the Longhorns to cover that spread – do so now! I'm not convinced Texas is ready for the elite teams across the nation, but they have more than enough firepower to give the Horned Frogs their third straight loss. TCU is struggling at quarterback, which will allow Texas to load up and slow down the Big 12's fourth-leading rusher, Darius Anderson. The TCU defense is the best in the conference when it comes to yards per game, and they might give the Longhorns offense more trouble than they've seen so far this season – but even if Sam Ehlinger, Devin Duvernay and the rest of the guys don't move the ball "with ease," they'll make enough plays to come out with the W. Texas wins, 27-16.
Emily Giangreco: TCU is reminding me a lot of Texas right now. They started off great this season but these last few weeks they’ve fallen off. Texas winning by a field goal against Kansas is something no one expected. Because of that, I think this game will be close and high-scoring. TCU has put up numbers earlier in the season, including 51 against Kansas. Texas wins, 49-42.
*Jake Garcia: At this point, this game is pretty much a toss up. And there are many signs that say TCU might actually win. The Horned Frogs have had the Longhorns number in recent history, especially at home. Four years ago, they handed the Horns their most lopsided loss in 15 seasons. In 2017, they became the only team to beat a Herman-coached Longhorns squad by more than 14 points. Running back Darius Anderson and receiver Jalen Reagor have skill sets that have exposed the Texas defense in recent weeks. Injuries are still plentiful for the Longhorns secondary. Just as one starter, Jalen Green, returns, another key player, DeMarvion Overshown, goes down. Even with all of this, I'm still taking Texas. Give me Sam Ehlinger over Max Duggan in a game that has all the looks of coming down to the wire. Texas wins, but barely, 28-27.
Paul Livengood: This is going to be an interesting game. I think the difference here will be Texas' ability to either stop the run or not. TCU ranks twelfth nationally in rushing yards per game, and the Longhorns defense has been suspect to the run game in recent weeks. Kansas' Pooka Williams just gashed UT for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and OU's Jalen Hurts racked up 131 and a touchdown the week before that. More importantly, an effective run game keeps Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns offense off the field. Despite the Horned Frogs' mediocre 3-3 record, it'll be a much closer game than I think people expect this one to be. But, Texas just has too much talent to lose this game, in my opinion. The Kansas result was a huge wake up call for UT, too. Texas will win a tight, semi "low-scoring" (for UT's standards) affair, 21-20.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 8: Texas-Kansas
Jeff Jones: It’s not basketball season yet, so don’t expect Kansas to hang with Texas. I think the Longhorns will get up early, and stay up. I’m more interested in monitoring the distribution of touches Roschon Johnson gets compared to those Keaontay Ingram gets than I am the outcome of the game – because we all know what that will be: a UT win. Texas wins, 41-13.
*Emily Giangreco: So far in the Big 12, Kansas hasn’t put up more than 20 points all season. We’ve talked about Texas’ young defense, so I see the Jayhawks putting up 21 ... but no more. Texas will dominate this one offensively, even though they’ve had some issues the past two weeks. Texas wins, 42-21.
Jake Garcia: The stars have aligned for a dominant Texas showing on Saturday. Motivated by a lackluster showing in the Red River Rivalry, the Longhorns will get back on track in a big way against Kansas – a team that, yes, is improved under Les Miles, but still Kansas at the end of the day. The Jayhawks are breaking in a new offensive coordinator, and while he may be the next brilliant, young offensive mind, he was coaching an NAIA team a year ago. A year ago! That is one heck of a meteoric rise, but the Longhorns pose a bit bigger challenge than an NAIA opponent. Just a bit. Further, the one thing the Jayhawks do well, running the ball, is what Texas excels at the most on the defensive side of the ball. Texas wins. Texas covers. Texas plays well in front of a home crowd that hasn’t seen this team in a month. Texas wins, 41-17.
Paul Livengood: Texas. Texas. And then Texas again. The Longhorns will come back after being dominated at the line of scrimmage against Oklahoma and dish out that frustration on the Jayhawks. Texas has only lost to Kansas once in the last 15 match ups and that game was in Lawrence. Texas covers the spread (-21) and wins by four touchdowns. Texas wins, 45-17.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 7: Texas-Oklahoma
*Jeff Jones: There's no good time to have a full injury-report, but when you're playing against a top 10 team – who happens to be your main rival – it's an awful time to have multiple key injuries. Texas is beat up at a few positions, and while they still have plenty of play makers – Ehlinger, Duvernay, Ossai, etc. – the question is "will those guys be enough?" This game will be fun to watch, physical, and not as high-scoring as many believe. But in the end, I think the Sooners get the win, in what could be the first of two meetings for these teams. I hate picking against the local guys, but here we go! Oklahoma wins, 34-28.
Emily Giangreco: While the Longhorns got the win over the Mountaineers, I believe some weaknesses were revealed. Weaknesses we haven’t seen all season and I’m not sure if Texas can make the improvements they need to in one week to win such a big game against their arch rival. Oklahoma wins, 42-35.
Jake Garcia: I see the rest of my peers think the cold weather will cool down these offenses. I see it a different way, and my hunch is that these two teams cruise past the 75.5 over/under. I just don't see any way the Sooners score fewer than 40 points against a still-banged up Texas secondary. The Longhorns performance on the back end was a step in the right direction against West Virginia, but Austin Kendall and Jalen Hurts are hardly the same quarterback. While we're on the subject, Sam Ehlinger will make his fair share of plays, keep the Longhorns close, and show why he belongs in the Heisman conversation. But the Sooners offense is still a tad more explosive. Oklahoma wins, 42-38.
Paul Livengood: This is probably my toughest pick of the whole season. All experts and lines indicate an Oklahoma win, but with games like these, everything gets thrown out the window. Oklahoma has the No. 2 scoring offense in the nation (53.4 ppg), and Texas isn't too far behind at 11th (41.8). However, Oklahoma has not played an opponent this season to the caliber of Texas. The Longhorns have – I'm talking about LSU. Granted, they lost 45-38 at home. But as a former athlete, I put some value behind being battle-tested and there is no arguing Texas has been more battle tested than Oklahoma has. Five of the past six matchups between Texas and Oklahoma gave come down to one possession – and I expect this one to be no different. In a battle of the Heisman candidate quarterbacks, Sam Ehlinger finds a way to outlast Jalen Hurts and the Sooners. Texas wins a nail-biter, 37-34.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 6: Texas-West Virginia
Jeff Jones: "Not. Even. Close." That's what I predict people will say about Saturday's Longhorns-Mountaineers matchup. West Virginia is in rebuilding mode, with a young team and a new head coach. Texas is one of the few teams that can realistically make a playoff run this season. The Mountianeers' loss to Missouri doesn't look bad on-paper, but the fact that it came to a Missouri team that lost to Wyoming makes it seem significantly worse. This game is played in Morgantown, and it's UT's first true road game. So, the environment alone will keep it close for a quarter or so, but the Longhorns should pull away in the second half and return to the Lone Star State with a comfortable win. Texas wins, 41-16.
Emily Giangreco: The Longhorns don’t have much to worry about when it comes to the Mountaineers this season. WVU has a young team and a new coach, so I see this as a rebuilding year (or two) for them. We know Texas can put up numbers and I think this will be their time to do it. WVU will have home field advantage, so I see them getting into the end zone a few times, but I think UT is going to dominate. Texas wins, 56-31.
Jake Garcia: To recap, the biggest talking points leading up to Saturday were: Chipotle being called the best restaurant in Austin, which offensive lineman is the “grillmaster,” and Sam Ehlinger turning 21 years old. There’s a reason for that. This West Virginia team isn’t the West Virginia team that upset the Longhorns in Austin a year ago. This Texas team is different, too. Despite being ravaged by injuries in the secondary, the Longhorns have appeared more comfortable in their role as the favorite. They’re double-digit road favorites this week and will use last year’s loss and a sure-fire hostile crowd as motivation to stay sharp. After a week away, Texas returns to action with an easy win over the Mountaineers to set up an everything-on-the-line matchup with Oklahoma the following week. Texas wins, 35-21.
*Paul Livengood: Despite the lopsided match up on paper (Texas is a 10-point favorite), the Longhorns are looking to avenge a one-point loss to the Mountaineers from last season. However, the Mountaineers no longer have a Heisman candidate like they did last season in Will Grier – who now plays in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers – but Texas does in Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger has led the Texas offense thus far to score 41.8 points per game, which ranks 13th in the country. Texas rolls, 41-24.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 5: Bye week
Week 4: Texas-Oklahoma State
Jeff Jones: Offense, offense, and offense – that's what I expect to see in this one. Oklahoma State has the nation's leading rusher and receiver – which is unheard of at this point in the season – but they've built those impressive stats against some weak competition. Texas should win this one, but the Longhorns have struggled where the Cowboys have found some success – UT's 127th ranked pass defense versus Oklahoma State's 49th ranked pass offense. In the end, the Texas offense bails out its defense with a timely fourth-quarter drive. Texas wins, 41-38.
*Emily Giangreco: The Longhorns have a history of losing to the Cowboys, but this year I think that will change. Looking at both teams, I think it will be a close matchup, but Texas being at home will be their advantage, even if it hasn’t been that way in the past against Oklahoma State. I see this one possibly coming down to a field goal, making for an epic victory for Texas. Texas wins, 38-35.
Jake Garcia: The over/under for this one is set at 72.5. Life is too short to bet the under. Frankly, I thought about making this an even higher scoring game because more so than which team I think will win the game or the margin by which I think that team will win the game. I’m most confident that this will be a high scoring game. Both offenses are dynamic. Both defenses are suspect. The biggest concern for Texas fans is the Oklahoma State offense is good where the Texas defense is not. Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders will be peppering the ball to star wideout Tylan Wallace in an effort to expose the young Longhorns secondary. Even so, the Texas offense proved it can compete in a shootout against LSU — which possesses a much better defense than OSU. The home environment tilts the tide even more and gives me confidence the UT defense can come up with a turnover in a crucial moment. It’ll be too close for comfort for fans, but Texas gets its first win over Oklahoma State in Austin since 2008. Texas wins, 45-42.
Paul Livengood: History is not on the Longhorns' side here, at least as of late. UT has dropped the last four games in a row, last five in Austin, and last seven of ten overall. But to be fair, Texas was the inferior team in three of those four straight losses (OSU was ranked in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and UT was not.). In the fourth, Texas lost in a chippy, entertaining game on the road. The Longhorns are back in DKR and took an LSU team – which I believe may be the best team in college football – down to the wire. Oklahoma State may have had Texas' number in the past few years, but this is where UT's losing streak against OSU ends. Texas wins in a shootout between Sam Ehlinger and Spencer Sanders, 41-35.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 3: Texas-Rice
Jeff Jones: Rice hasn’t beaten Texas since 1994 – that won’t change this year. The Longhorns will score as often as they want, and their starting defense won’t give up a touchdown. I expect the score to be significantly more lopsided than the last time these teams met, when UT won by two touchdowns. I also expect to see a UT touchdown from special teams or defense. Texas wins, 42-9.
Emily Giangreco: The Longhorns have showed us they can play and that they can put up numbers. Rice hasn’t been much competition for them and while they’re working on changing that, I don’t think this year is going to be it. This will be Texas’ first road game, so it’ll be interesting to see how they play outside of DKR. However, I don’t see the Owls giving the Longhorns much to worry about. Texas wins, 42-15.
*Jake Garcia: The only worry for the Longhorns here is an emotional letdown in what could be perceived as a trap game. A top-10 slugfest that doesn’t end in your favor can be draining, but Texas will heal quickly thanks to the leadership of Sam Ehlinger. UT beats up on Rice early and often, allowing it to iron some things out in the second half in preparation for Big 12 play and Oklahoma State next week. Texas rolls, 42-14.
Paul Livengood: This is an easy pick. Texas is flat out a better football team and it will show. The question for me is how convincingly will the Longhorns pull out the win? Will UT come out flat and let Rice stay in the game because they are still getting over last week's loss to LSU and overestimate the Owls? Or will the Longhorns come out focused and determined to bounce back with a large-margin win? Under the direction of Tom Herman, I think it'll be the latter. Texas wins big, 56-10.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 2: Texas-LSU
Jeff Jones: Is Texas back? It’s time to find out! Another win over a big, national SEC brand on a big, national stage will silence any leftover critics and prove that Sam Ehlinger’s post Sugar Bowl comments were spot-on. Speaking of Sam, he’s going to have to ‘shoulder the load’ in this game to keep Keaontay Ingram (UT’s only remaining scholarship running back) from getting 35+ touches. I believe this will be a close game, and close games often come down to coaching, quarterback-play, and home-field advantage – Texas has the edge in all three areas. Texas wins, 31-28.
*Emily Giangreco: The Tigers claim to have a ‘new offense’ this season and if week one was any indication of that, then they’re bond to have an epic season. I think this is the week Texas’ injuries will be most impactful and will really play out on the field. LSU wins, 35-28.
Jake Garcia: LSU has the slightly better matchup on paper, the slightly more imposing roster, but I’ve convinced myself there’s too much going in the Longhorns’ favor from an intangible standpoint for that slight LSU personnel edge to matter. Texas has proven to be a big-game program recently, as Tom Herman has proven to be a big-game coach. And as was the case with the Georgia and Oklahoma wins last year, the Longhorns come in as the underdogs. Herman is 8-2-1 against the spread. Speaking of spread, the hype surrounding LSU’s spread offense is just too good to be true. Having new-era offensive mind Joe Brady design the offense and old-school Sam Ensminger calling plays seems like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It also sounds like a communication nightmare in a hostile road environment in game two of the season. Oh and Texas is used to defending this type of offense because that’s what everyone in the Big 12 runs. If the Texas O-line can protect Sam Ehlinger, the Longhorns will win this game. Texas wins, 35-28.
Paul Livengood: I had to think for a long time about this one. What are the pros and cons for each team? Texas is at home. LSU has what is seemingly the better defense of the two in terms of personnel – the stats definitely show that. LSU allowed 98 total yards to Georgia Southern and UT allowed 413 yards to Louisiana Tech. Sure, Louisiana Tech may be a more formidable opponent than Georgia Southern, but a difference 300 total yards worth? I don't know about that. And the common phrase is "defense travels." Do I think the Tigers defense will shut down Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns offense? No. However, I think they'll make enough plays to give LSU a slight edge when it's all said and done. Don't hate me Austinites, but I'm going to shoot you straight every week. I see LSU escaping Austin with a narrow – and I mean narrow – one-point win. Ehlinger has a chance to win late and LSU makes a play on defense to hold them off. LSU wins, 31-30.
KVUE Viewers' pick:
Week 1: Texas-Louisiana Tech
Jeff Jones: La. Tech will be better than people expect, but they're just out-matched at every position in this one. I believe the betting-line is around 20. The Longhorns might not cover, but they'll win. In addition to the win, let's hope they stay healthy and get some backups in the game. Are you already looking ahead to LSU? I am, and we'll be there soon enough! Texas wins, 34-17.
*Emily Giangreco: Sam Ehlinger says Texas is back and I believe him. The defense does have some young guys so I think this will be a good test of how they’re going to operate and they may let a touchdown or two slip through. LA Tech has a ton of experience on their team which is ultimately why I see them putting up 14. Texas wins, 42-14.
Jake Garcia: No overthinking needed. The Longhorns are the better team athletically and physically. When you add in their urgent desire to be emotionally ready for an opener (after losing the last two to Maryland), it’s not a tough call to pick them, and by a lot. What’s tougher is whether or not Texas will cover the 19.5-point spread. I say they do, extra motivated by the sounding off Louisiana Tech did in advance of this matchup. Texas wins, 49-21.
Paul Livengood: Texas has been plagued in season openers the past two seasons. However, the Longhorns are still riding the high wave of how last season ended: a 28-21 statement win over No. 5 Georgia in the 2018 Sugar Bowl. Texas' offense will be electric in this game and score a ton of points. Vegas is giving Texas a -19.5 line. Texas wins, 31-10.
KVUE Viewers' pick: