Texas: Beating Ranked Teams Helps Gain Experience


The Texas Longhorns pulled off their second upset of the year against No. 12 Baylor and that could be the start of something special for Austin in 2016.

The Texas Longhorns faced huge odds against the No. 12 team in the nation. The Baylor Bears were 9-2 and looking for a win to catapult them into the Sugar Bowl.

They had already lost quarterbacks Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham to injury during the season so they were on their third-stringer, Chris Johnson. However, he was injured in the first quarter meaning that Lynx Hawthorne, who is basically a wide-receiver, became the Bears QB for the remainder of the afternoon.

Texas opened up a 20-0 lead in the first half and survived a late-game comeback to seal the victory 23-17. The win gave the Longhorns their second win of the season over an AP Top 12 team, something only four other teams have done this season. It was also their biggest upset of the past twenty years since the Bears opened as a 21-point favorite.

Many have tried to play off the win and say that Baylor was without a quarterback and still almost won but the fact is that they still had the rest of their 9-2 team (which is 9-3 now) and they did not step up.

Longhorns fans couldn’t have imagined a better way to end the season but their triumphs might not be over. If No. 4 Oklahoma ends up winning the National Championship, the Longhorns would stand as the only team to beat them all season long.

The same Texas team that was decimated by Iowa State 24-0, managed to beat arguably the two best Big 12 teams, when healthy. Those two wins were the highlight of the season for fans and they could be a sign of things to come.

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Though the Longhorns did not have a good games against teams like Notre Dame and TCU, the fact that they were able to beat ranked teams with a group of players that just looked straight up terrible at times was impressive.

Next season is shaping up to be exciting for the Horns. They have a four-star quarterback prospect in Shane Buechele coming to Austin among others and they will have some momentum. The Longhorns will also have something that a few other teams in the Big 12 do not have: the keys to beating ranked teams.

Now this experience is obviously not going to automatically carry them to the Playoff but it should improve their 2016 season. A realistic expectation would just be breaking .500 with a record like 6-6 or 7-5. This Longhorns team is still in a rebuilding mode but they showed flashes of their excellence this season and that will be critical for the future.

Next: TCU Prevails Despite Injuries In 2015

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In 2014, they got close to beating a few ranked teams and although their 2015 season was not as good, the Horns finally broke through for a few upsets. In 2016, they should have a nice, new structured system, especially with the possibility of TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie joining the coaching staff.

With a few hard seasons and a few big wins under their belt, Texas will be ready to start the process of becoming relevant again in 2016. Budding stars like Jerrod Heard and Chris Warren III should play key roles along the way.