Nobody overestimates Texas’ potential anymore.
In 2012 and 2013, Texas started 15th in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, and few argued with that. It was still an eight- or nine-win program. The next three years, the Longhorns were in a virtual desert as far as top-25 voting was concerned. No preseason rankings, not many wins, either.
In 2017 and 2018, the Horns started the year ranked 23rd in the preseason poll, mostly on the hope of coach Tom Herman turning things around. Texas lost two straight season openers.
AP voters have a different opinion this season after Texas went 10-4 and demolished Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Longhorns will start the 2019 season ranked 10th in the AP Top 25, the team’s highest preseason ranking since 2010.
Oklahoma, the defending Big 12 champion, is ranked fourth. LSU, UT’s opponent in week two, will start sixth. Texas A&M is 12th.
The AP poll no longer determines who plays in the national championship game. The College Football Playoff selection committee will unveil its weekly rankings starting in November. But the AP poll is still an excellent barometer of national perception, and it’s widely used until the CFP rankings begin.
From 2000-07, Texas debuted in the preseason AP top 10 each year. The Horns started 11th in 2008, but they were installed second in 2009. That proved prescient as Texas reached the BCS national championship game. The next year, voters believed in quarterback Garrett Gilbert and put UT fifth. That team ended up going 5-7.
This season, voters everywhere believe in quarterback Sam Ehlinger, a junior who some consider an early Heisman candidate. The offense has plenty of weapons, including receiver Collin Johnson. The defense is replacing eight starters with players who are collectively faster but younger.
Fans are getting excited, too. Texas announced on Saturday it was close to selling 63,000 season tickets, which would be a new school record.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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