Texas head coach Tom Herman smiles as he waits with his players to take the field before an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Kirk Bohls

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Bohls: Who voted Texas higher — the Horns’ own coach or yours truly?

Posted October 8th, 2018

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Story highlights
  • Tom Herman said he voted Texas No. 11 in his Coaches Poll ballot.
  • The Longhorn coach said he doesn't watch much college football, but he hears "Alabama is really good."
  • Texas has the look and feel of a Top 10 team with a physical presence, a balance of good offense and defense and a clutch kicker.

So here’s a bit of sports trivia.

Who voted Texas higher on his most recent college football ballot, Tom Herman or yours truly?

You’d probably guess wrong because the Longhorns were No. 9 on my Associated Press Top 25 ballot this week and only No. 11 on Herman’s ballot for the coaches poll.

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Before you start to think this voter has more belief in a 5-1 Texas team than its own head coach, you must consider that Herman may have a different agenda.

Vote his own team much higher than that, and Herman would be accused of artificially inflating his team’s worth. Vote the Longhorns lower than he did, and he doesn’t have enough faith in them. He can’t win, really.

But it says here that Texas, which is ranked 9th by the AP and 14th by the coaches, has the look and the feel of a top-10 team after topping seventh-ranked Oklahoma with an offensive explosion for its fifth consecutive win and third over a ranked team.

Texas did what top 10 teams do. The Longhorns were physical at the line of scrimmage, and also beyond the line of scrimmage as Lil’Jordan Humphrey showed in his move-the-pile moment. They showed they can win with offense (OU) or defense (Kansas State) or both (TCU, USC). Texas has a clear identity with a smart, turnover-free offense, a clutch kicker and a rugged defense that plays exceptionally well, at least when Kyler Murray doesn’t have the ball.

And it doesn’t have a glaring weakness, save maybe punting.

Herman wasn’t sure what a top 10 team looks like.

“I think I voted us 11, and I don’t know (what such a team looks like) because I watch so little college football,” Herman said Monday. “I hear Alabama is really good.”

Good to know he’s doing his homework. He’s also attuned enough to know that Notre Dame is really good, too. Besides, he offered, “For the most part, as coaches, we see all our warts.”

By and large, Texas has been blemish-free the last five games. While the polls aren’t included in the College Football Playoff rankings, which begin in three weeks, they offer a spotlight on the teams most likely to be given heavy consideration. The Longhorns are in that mix and, with three big Big 12 wins against two of the expected contenders (OU and TCU) and in hostile Manhattan, have more than proven themselves. They’ll probably be favored in every remaining game, including a home contest with West Virginia.

“Midseason polls are great because our kids have earned that recognition,” Herman said, “but we gotta go out and win every week for it to matter.”

Then, maybe Herman will vote ’em higher.

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