Texas first year head coach Tom Herman is in unfamiliar territory, dealing with a losing record with the Longhorns. Texas is 3-4, though three of those losses were close ones to highly-ranked teams. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Football

The Tom Herman effect: Longhorns ranked 23rd in AP Top 25 preseason poll

Posted August 21st, 2017

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Pollsters no longer give Texas the benefit of the doubt. Is that changing under new coach Tom Herman?

The Longhorns, a team that’s endured three straight losing seasons, will start the 2017 campaign ranked 23rd in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. It’s the first time UT has made the preseason AP poll since 2013.

“No, we’re a 5-7 team. You are what your record says you are,” Herman said after Monday’s practice, echoing the famous Bill Parcells line. “We haven’t played a game yet. So, we’ll pay attention to those as we head down the stretch. But right now, it’s just a bunch of people guessing, right?”

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It’s been a while since the Longhorns were spotted on ballots. This is a program that’s landed in the final AP Top 25 poll only once this decade (No. 19 in 2012). Texas never even cracked the top 25 once in 2014 or 2015.

The Horns went from unranked to No. 11 after the 2016 season-opening win over Notre Dame. But Charlie Strong’s group drifted lower in the following weeks and fell out of the poll completely after a 2-2 start.

Now the program is enjoying the Herman bump. The new coach went 22-4 in two seasons at Houston and 6-0 against ranked opponents during that span.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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