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 week, 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.)
KVUE Sports Reporter/Anchor Emily Giangreco is the defending KVUE pick 'em champion from the 2019 season. Here is last season's predictions.
Jake Garcia, Sports Reporter/Anchor (@Jake_M_Garcia): 6-3 (+2 tiebreaker)
Jeff Jones, Sports Director (@JeffJonesSports): 6-3 (+1 tiebreaker)
Emily Giangreco, Sports Reporter/Anchor (@EmilyGiangreco): 6-3 (+1 tiebreaker)
Paul Livengood: Sr. Digital Sports Producer (@IamLivengood): 5-4 (+2 tiebreaker)
KVUE Viewers Twitter poll: 4-4
Week 12: Texas-Kansas State
Jeff Jones: Even with the opt-outs, even with the injuries, even with the rumors about job security, this is a game that Texas should win. The talent advantage that Texas brings into its game against Kansas State is significant. I love what Round Rock native Deuce Vaughn can do in space, and Wildcats' defensive end Wyatt Hubert leads the conference in sacks for a reason, but I don't think they'll be enough to pull off the upset. I expect the Longhorns to put up big numbers through the air. The Wildcats will become one-dimensional on offense and won't do it well. K-State's four-game losing streak turns into five straight, and Texas scores over 30 points for the first time since the Oklahoma State game. Texas wins, 38-17.
Emily Giangreco: I think you'll see some impact of the opt-outs on the game, but it ultimately won't change the outcome of the game. Despite self-imposed mistakes we've seen from UT in the past like penalties, combined with their missing players, the Longhorns will still pull this one out. Texas wins, 38-35.
Jake Garcia: Texas should be on upset alert. But then again, Texas should always be on upset alert. The Longhorns don’t blow anyone out, even when they should. And yes, despite being without Sam Cosmi, Caden Sterns and Keaontay Ingram, Texas should still blow out Kansas State. But they won’t, because Tom Herman can’t seem to get his team to play to their potential instead of the level of their competition. Still, they’ll do just enough to beat the Wildcats because they’ll be motivated to play for their coach. If they don’t, buckle up. Texas wins, 31-24.
Paul Livengood: I called this shot weeks ago, you can ask Jake. Upset alert. Texas is 1-4 on the road against Kansas State since 2010. The last four matchups have all been decided by one possession: 27-24 (2019), 19-14 (2018), 40-34 in double overtime (2017), 24-21 (2016). Texas has had three starters opt out for the rest of the 2020 season: left tackle Samuel Cosmi, safety Caden Sterns and running back Keaontay Ingram. Kansas State playmaking freshman running back Deuce Vaughn – a Round Rock native – returns to Central Texas for the first time in his collegiate career, so I expect him to have a big day. Like every other UT game played away from DKR this season, though, it'll be a nail-biter because the Longhorns are too talented to get stomped out of Manhattan. Kansas State wins in a home upset, 34-30. The calm before the storm has begun.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 11: Texas-Iowa State
Jeff Jones: Sam Ehlinger's ability in the run and a rapidly improving defense equals an upset win. That math makes sense to me, how about you? Enjoy those Thanksgiving leftovers! Texas wins, 24-20.
Emily Giangreco: UT has missed two weeks of games and No. 13 Iowa State comes in off of a big, dominant 45-0 win against Kansas State. Texas plays to their opponent, so this one will be another close! Iowa State wins, 28-24.
Jake Garcia: Stop Breece Hall and you stop Iowa State. The Texas defense has been good against good running backs, especially lately. This game comes down to Brock Purdy and Sam Ehlinger, and on senior day, with an extra week to rest up, give me Sam and the Horns. Texas wins, 27-24.
Paul Livengood: It'll come down to if Texas can stop the run. UT's defense has stepped up in the run game lately and the added hype from senior day should propel UT over the Cyclones, but barely. Texas wins, 38-35.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 10: Texas-Kansas rescheduled to Dec. 12
Week 9: Bye week
Week 8: Texas-West Virginia
Jeff Jones: The Longhorns defense looks better and better each week, and I think that trend will continue against a West Virginia offense that has some nice stats – but still doesn't scare me. Each time the Mountaineers have lost this season, they've given up a defensive touchdown. I think we'll see Texas score one non-offensive touchdown, and we'll see 5-star freshman Bijan Robinson score his first collegiate touchdown. The West Virginia defense is good, and they'll play well, but not well enough to win. Texas wins, 27-20.
Emily Giangreco: The Longhorns will have to get rid of the sloppy play, get rid of the penalties and stay consistent in order to put up enough points on offense to continue this win streak and beat West Virginia. We've continuously seen UT make progress week in and week out, but can they keep that progress versus making those mistakes? Texas wins, 35-28.
Jake Garcia: Should’ve seen last week coming. Of course Texas saves its best for its toughest opponent of the season. Should I see a letdown coming this week? It certainly would fit in line with recent history. The Longhorns haven’t won three straight games against Big 12 teams since the end of the 2018 season. But if Texas understands the importance of this game, I think they’ll pull it out. Win this one, and you have a cakewalk matchup against Kansas in two weeks. Then, it’s two games against two teams (Iowa State and Kansas State) that will be the last lines of defense between Texas and the Big 12 Championship Game. West Virginia is talented, but a less talented version of Oklahoma State. A similar game plan will be in store for the Horns, and I trust them to repeat it and cut down on the mistakes while playing at home. Texas wins, 31-27.
Paul Livengood: By all accounts, Texas has seemed to find a new resurgence in its front seven on the defensive side of the football. The Longhorns held Baylor to 64 yards rushing and then followed up by holding arguably the most talented running back in the Big 12, Chuba Hubbard, to 75 yards on 25 carries. The front seven generated a ton of pressure on the quarterback against Oklahoma State, which led to four turnovers. West Virginia does, however, have the stingiest defense in the Big 12, statistically. They're No.1 in both allowing the fewest passing yards and rushing yards. I expect UT to keep up its defensive prowess at home and lean on the will of Sam Ehlinger again, offensively. Texas wins a "low scoring," tough-fought defensive type game, 24-17.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 7: Texas-Oklahoma State
Jeff Jones: Oklahoma State has the better defense, a more reliable run game, a star at wide receiver. They’re playing at home, and they’re finally healthy — seems like they should win this one, but something tells me this is a game that will give UT fans hope for the rest of the season. That same “something” tells me the Longhorns defense that we saw in the first half of the Baylor game will show up in Stillwater. Last season, Chuba Hubbard had his worst rushing game of the season (based on yards per carry) against a UT defense that’s worse than the 2020 version. I think an improving defense gives Sam Ehlinger the ball enough times to pull-off the upset — I can’t put my finger on it, but “something” feels right for the Longhorns. Texas wins, 31-27.
Emily Giangreco: Texas may have finally got a win but that doesn’t say much when the opponent was coming off of a COVID-19 breakout and had barely any practice. Baylor should have been easy for Texas and yet the Longhorns still struggled. Now, they’re taking on an undefeated, top-ranked team and on the road. I don’t see it ending well. Too many silly mistakes and self-inflicting wounds are going to be the downfall for Texas. Oklahoma State wins, 42-28.
Jake Garcia: It’s been a brutal week for the Longhorns with the decommitment of 5-star quarterback Quinn Ewers. And while it would be totally on brand for 2020 for them to now turn around and beat a top-10 team, I’ll still go with the team that has played far more consistently this season. Oklahoma State has standout players at wide receiver, running back and throughout its secondary, and no holes anywhere else. The Longhorns would have to play as perfectly as they did against Utah in the Alamo Bowl to win this game. On the road, I don’t see it happening. Oklahoma State wins, 31-24.
Paul Livengood: Tom Herman said in the weekly press conference that Oklahoma State had the ingredients of a championship team. Oklahoma State will be led by its three-headed offensive monster: Chuba Hubbard, Spencer Sanders and Tylan Wallace. Texas combats that with its own offensive superhero of sorts in Sam Ehlinger and Joshua Moore, who is having a productive season and leads the Big 12 with six receiving touchdowns. This game will be much closer than I think the records and polls would suggest. UT is a lost fumble on the one-yard line against TCU and a crazy four-overtime shootout from also being 5-0 and this would be a top 10 matchup. I wrote about this earlier in the week: Texas does have a good historical outing on Halloween, but UT is 1-4 against Oklahoma State in the last five meetings and 3-7 in the last 10. That one win, however, was last season. This game will come down to who runs the ball more effectively. In 2019, UT ran the ball better than Oklahoma State did, rushing for 5.0 yards per carry compared to 4.0. It was one of three games all year where Keaontay Ingram rushed for 100-plus yards. I think UT's running attack, combined with chunk plays in the passing game and the will of Ehlinger will edge the Longhorns in an upset. And I expect UT's defense to force a critical turnover (likely an Ossai sack-fumble), which Ehlinger and the offense will turn into points and shift the game. Texas wins a very close one, 34-30.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 6: Texas-Baylor
Jeff Jones: Baylor missed several practices this month due to COVID-19. The Bears haven’t played a game in three weeks, they have new systems on both sides of the ball, and Texas should have more talent at literally every position –there are reasons why this game shouldn’t be close ... but it will be. Coach Herman’s goal during the bye week was to improve the ground game – I expect Texas to lean on the top three running backs early. This game is closer than it should be, but it’s a Texas win. Texas wins, 27-21.
Emily Giangreco: Baylor is coming off of that COVID-19 scare. They haven't had much time to prepare and Texas is coming off of a bye with no COVID-19 interruptions. Texas wins, 35-21.
Jake Garcia: A bye week, plus being back at home does Texas some good, while Baylor shows some rust after not having played a game in three weeks. It’ll be close, because it’s always close with the current iteration of Longhorns football, but Texas sneaks by and avoids a catastrophic three-game losing streak. Texas wins, 31-28.
Paul Livengood: After two back-to-back losses, it's easy to hop off of the Longhorns train right now. On the other hand, UT is a lost fumble at the one-yard line and a four-overtime thriller away from being 4-0. After a much-needed bye week, Texas will come back looking to avenge its loss to Baylor last year. Texas wins at home, 35-24.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 5: Bye week
Week 4: Red River Showdown: Texas-Oklahoma
Jeff Jones: It's time for the Red River Showdown – and this year, Texas and OU don't just want a win, each team needs a win! And yes, that's "needs" bolded, underlined, AND italicized. OU just lost back-to-back games for the first time since 1999, and they haven't played a team with nearly as much talent as the Longhorns have. As you know, Texas has also had a rough two weeks, but nothing cures those recent woes better than a rivalry win. In this rivalry game, the team that runs the ball more effectively has won 18 of the last 20 showdowns, so UT's 23rd ranked rushing attack vs. Oklahoma's ninth-ranked rushing defense will be the matchup to watch. This week, Coach Herman told us he has seen improvements on the right side of the offensive line. I think those improvements will be just enough to get a win on Saturday. Texas wins, 31-28.
Emily Giangreco: Both of these teams haven’t looked good the past two weeks. No one is more upset and disappointed in the Longhorns loss to TCU than Sam Ehlinger and his teammates have made it clear they don’t want to let him down. I see Texas pulling this win out for Sam. It’s his last red river showdown and he deserves to win it. Texas wins, 42-35.
Jake Garcia: I’ll be up front. I don’t have a clue who’s going to win this game. In all honestly, I actually feel like the chances of one team blowing out the other are higher than it being a close game like I’m predicting. Problem is, it feels impossible to guess which team that will be. Texas has made it quite the habit of playing to the level of its competition, so I could easily see the Longhorns come out with their hair on fire and win this game. I could also easily see Oklahoma punctuate their flaws in the most glaring way yet. I’ll go Sooners just because of history, but it’s a pick I don’t feel comfortable with at all. Oklahoma wins, 44-41.
Paul Livengood: The Red River Showdown has been a one possession game the past six seasons. Texas' performances against Texas Tech and TCU have not been the most inspiring thing to see for UT's national prominence, but neither has OU's games against Iowa State and Kansas State. Sam Ehlinger and Spencer Rattler will go into a gun-slinging battle. Dicker the kicker gets his second game-winning field goal in Red River Showdown history. Texas wins, 41-38.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 3: Texas-TCU
Jeff Jones: This one won’t be as close as last week. The Horned Frogs offense is a step behind Texas Tech’s and that’ll make the difference. I expect Joseph Ossai’s first breakout performance from his new position. The UT offense won’t hit the 61 points per game that they average – because 61 points is insane – but they will get on the scoreboard quite a bit. I expect Keaontay Ingram to become the Longhorns’ first 100-yard rusher of the season. Texas wins, 41-28.
Emily Giangreco: TCU may have beat Texas last year and won 5 out of the last 6 matchups against the Longhorns, but a loss against Iowa State tells me they’re not going to have the same luck against Texas that they’ve had in previous years. I doubt we see another high scoring game like we did against Texas Tech, and I’m hoping UT’s defense got a big wake up call and they come out stronger than ever this week. Texas wins, 35-31.
Jake Garcia: Last week, almost ended the redemption tour for both Texas and me. Instead, both of us are 2-0 and I’m going right back to the well in week three. I know the TCU defense is tough. I know Max Duggan had his way with the Texas defense last year. I also saw what Texas did to a Utah team in the Alamo Bowl that is much closer to TCU’s style of play than Texas Tech is. Texas may have a much different overall philosophy than TCU, but the Longhorns match up well with a team like this, especially in their new 4-3 defense. Texas wins, 35-24.
Paul Livengood: Texas squeaked by Texas Tech in week two, needing a miraculous 15-point fourth quarter comeback to overtake the Red Raiders in overtime. They're 2-0, sure, but they've shown they can be vulnerable any week, regardless of opponent. TCU was one of the five teams that beat UT last season. Granted, UT was injury-ridden in the back end of the defense by that point and it showed in their 37-27 loss. Sam Ehlinger was also under duress that entire game and it was on the road. Ehlinger said this week that TCU's defense is always a tough one to go up against, led by head coach Gary Patterson. TCU just dropped a close game to Iowa State 34-37 at home. With more talent and a wake up call last week, I think Texas won't take this TCU team lightly and come to play. Texas wins, 48-28.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 2: Texas-Texas Tech
Jeff Jones: Coach Herman says “just because a team only won its first game by two points doesn’t mean it’s not capable of beating you by 21.” That’s usually something I’d agree with, but if that season-opening two-point win was over lowly Houston Baptist, I think that’s a different story. Texas Tech finds the end zone a few times, but not enough. Sam Ehlinger scores twice through the air and once on the ground, and the Longhorns are the ones who win by nearly 21. Texas wins, 41-21.
Emily Giangreco: The Longhorns showed up and showed off against UTEP but now we’re heading into conference play. This is also Texas’ first road game of the season, so for those two reasons, I don’t see a blowout. I still think this team is stacked and won’t have many issues against the Red Raiders as long as everyone stays healthy. Texas wins, 42-21.
Jake Garcia: A solid first week for both my redemption tour in this pick em challenge and the Texas redemption tour on the field. That continues this week for both of us. Texas Tech barely got past Houston Baptist in week one, and in the process, gave up over 500 yards passing. Sam Ehlinger and company will have another golden opportunity to feast, while the defense will continue to show improvement from last year against a fairly prolific offense on the other side. Texas wins, 48-28.
Paul Livengood: Texas returns to action after a bye week and a 56-point shellacking of UTEP in week one. Texas Tech struggled at home against Houston Baptist, but ultimately won, 35-33. UT goes on the road for the first time of the season and I think this Red Raiders team may keep it close. According to Longhorn Network analyst Alex Loeb, UT is favored over Texas Tech University in an away matchup by 16.5 points as of Sunday, Sept. 20, which he reports is the highest point spread the Longhorns have ever been favored by when playing in Lubbock. However, the average margin of victory in the past five games between these two teams is only 9.4 points per game. I'm going to roll with history on this one. Texas still wins in my opinion, but does not cover that 16.5-point spread, 35-28.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
Week 1: Texas-UTEP
Jeff Jones: This week, a few Longhorns told us they’re so hungry for a successful season that even a buffet wouldn’t satisfy that hunger – so we’ll see exactly what they’re talking about on Saturday. Texas should have significant talent edges at every position against UTEP. UT will go up early and put things away in the third quarter. I expect a big game from wide receiver Tarik Black in his Longhorns debut. And I also expect Joseph Ossai to look very comfortable at his new position. Texas wins, 41-13.
Emily Giangreco: Apparently, Texas is "hungry," so I see them crushing UTEP. I’m going to give the Miners a little credit though and say they score at least one touchdown and will be held to a field goal at some point. Everyone has a lot riding on this season but Texas has even more: new coaches still trying to prove "they’re back,” and Sam Ehlinger trying to win a national championship before graduating puts a ton of pressure on the Longhorns. They know there’s doubt, especially after last season, so I say they hit the ground running. Texas wins, 42-10.
Jake Garcia: Before a week one win over Stephen F. Austin, UTEP had won two games in the previous three seasons. Let that sink in. In a year defined by chaotic and unpredictable events, the result of this game won’t be one of them. Texas wins in a landslide. Texas wins, 49-13.
Paul Livengood: Tom Herman pointed out in the Monday press conference that UTEP has played their first game and UT has not, highlighting that the Miners have the opportunity to fix those "first game" mistakes. That may be the only advantage UTEP has in this matchup. The Miners have never beat the Longhorns in the five games played against each other and it's not about to start now – although a Miners upset would be so 2020. No. 14 Texas is favored by 43 points, and I'm not sure if the Longhorns will cover that spread, but they'll definitely walk away with the win. Texas wins, 38-14.
KVUE Viewer Poll:
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