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. (Ex. 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): 6-0 (+3)
Paul Livengood: Sr. Digital Sports Producer (@IamLivengood): 5-1 (+1)
Jake Garcia, Sports Reporter/Anchor (@Jake_M_Garcia): 5-1 (+1)
Jeff Jones, Sports Director (@JeffJonesSports): 5-1 (+1)
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: