Texas football enters the 2022 season with heightened expectations after a tough first year for head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Someone in USA Today’s Coach Poll decided to give Texas the No. 1 spot through 2022. While that’s an absurdly bold choice, it’s also a sign that college football is just waiting for UT to get back in contention as soon as possible.
The Longhorns come into the season ranked 25th Fan Page Top 50 Preseason Ranking.
Do they have what it takes to climb the leaderboard from here?
Texas Football Season 2021 in Review
Sarkisian’s first season in charge took a bad turn in the second half, ending in a 5-7 record.
The Longhorns defeated Louisiana-Lafayette in the opener, then fell to Arkansas before finding their stride with three straight wins. However, that was the high point of the campaign.
Back-to-back losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor proved Texas wasn’t ready to play with the big boys just yet. Then three more losses to Iowa State, Kansas and West Virginia added real embarrassment. A Finals win over Kansas State did little to take the season’s bad taste out of their mouths.
Texas Longhorns offense preview for the 2022 season
- Returners (6): RB Bijan Robinson, WR Xavier Worthy, WR Jordan Whittington, OL Jake Majors, OL Junior Angilau, OL Christian Jones
- Notable newcomers: QB Quinn Ewers (Ohio State), WR Isaiah Neyor (Wyoming), WR Agiye Hall (Alabama), WR Tarique Milton (Iowa State), TE Jahleel Billingsley (Alabama)
- striker: Bijan Robinson
New quarterback Quinn Ewers is sure to steal the headlines provided he wins the starting job against Hudson Card and Maalik Murphy after transferring from Ohio State. However, the strength of this offense depends on the running backs.
Bijan Robinson is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, Roshon Johnson can shoulder the load himself, and Keilan Robinson is a home run threat, averaging 7.16 yards per carry last year.
The Longhorn ground game should be fun, with three returning starters on the offensive line ready to lead the way.
If Texas wants to air it, they have options. Xavier Worthy was a revelation in 2021 and Jordan Whittington is back as the team’s second-best receiver. The WR unit also received some major reinforcements, including Wyoming’s Isaiah Neyor, Alabama’s former Top 50 nominee Agiye Hall, and Iowa state’s Tarique Milton. To top it off, the passing game is bolstered by Alabama tight end Jahleel Billingsley.
Neyor and Billingsley were there 247Sports most talented transfers for 2022so expect great things from them.
Texas Longhorns defense preview for the 2022 season
- Returners (7): DT Moro Ojomo, NT Keondre Coburn, LB Ovie Oghoufo, LB DeMarvion Overshown, LB Luke Brockermeyer, CB D’Shawn Jamison, S Anthony Cook
- Notable newcomers: LB Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey (James Madison), CB Ryan Watts (Ohio State)
- striker: DeMarvion exaggerated
The Longhorns gave up 31.1 points per game last season, so the defense will be looking to make a big comeback in 2022.
Linebacker DeMarvion Overshown leads the group after leading the team in tackles last year. He will be joined by James Maddison transfer Diamonte Tucker Dorsey and the return of All-Big-12 Honored Mention Luke Brockermeyer, who is recovering from an ACL injury.
The front seven are bringing back plenty of experience while the secondary have gaps to fill after losing safes Brendan Schooler and BJ Foster and cornerback Josh Thompson. Ohio State transfer Ryan Watts will fill in alongside returning starter D’Shawn Jamison.
Texas Football Players Awards clock for the 2022 season
The Longhorns have seven players on the preseason national honors watch list.
DeMarvion exaggerated, Lombardi/Butkus/Nagurski/Bednarik
Overshown led the Longhorns in tackles last year and returns with high expectations for his fifth year in Austin. He’s on the radar for just about every award he would be eligible for in 2022.
Bijan Robinson, Walter Camp/Doak Walker/Maxwell
Robinson will come into the 2022 season with the potential to prove himself as the nation’s best running back. Of course, the All-Big 12 first-teamer and preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year is in the running for some big national honors.
Xavier Worthy, Walter Camp/Maxwell/Biletnikoff
Worthy was a revelation for the Longhorns in 2021, winning the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year award with 62 catches for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns. After setting those records and earning an All-Big-12 first-team nod, it’s his turn to make a national impression.
Roshon Johnson, Doak Walker
Robinson isn’t the only running back in Texas hoping to compete for the title of the nation’s top RB. Johnson played second fiddle to Robinson with 569 yards last season and will seek to play a bigger role.
Isaiah Neyor, Biletnikov
Neyor had 878 yards and 12 touchdowns for Wyoming last season and led the Mountain West with 19.95 yards per catch. He will try to turn his big play ability into a battle for the Biletnikoff.
Yes’Tavion Sanders, Mackey
Sanders was the top athlete in the class of 2021, finishing 13th overall. He appeared as a blocker in the field goal unit in his debut season and is scheduled to take over as a starting tight end in 2022. His potential already makes him a contender for the Mackey.
D’Shawn Jamison, Hornung
Jamison will start as a cornerback for the Longhorns this season, but his immense returning ability makes him a Paul Hornung Award nominee.
Texas Longhorn’s biggest game on the 2022 schedule
The Alabama game will be a huge opportunity for Sarkisian against his former boss, but let’s face it, this game will be a success if Texas just avoids a blowout.
The truly meaningful battles will take place in the Big 12 game. The Red River Showdown against Oklahoma is always the biggest game of the season.
Texas football best case scenario
If “Texas is back!” isn’t turned into a midseason joke, then the Longhorns have done what they had to do.
It’s far too much to ask for this squad to upset Alabama, but Texas could still make big waves by beating the big hitters in the Big 12.
Losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor last season came from possession. Flipping these results would put UT in the driver’s seat in the conference. A Year 2 Big 12 title for Sarkisian would be quite a statement.
Texas football’s worst-case scenario
Sarkisian’s first season turned into a minor train wreck, and it’s not out of the question for it to happen again.
The Longhorns will face a pre-bye week stretch in Oklahoma, Iowa State and Oklahoma State in October. The wheels could fall off again at that point and Sarkisian may not have the leadership skills to put it back together. (This is all assuming UTSA doesn’t show up with a signed angry bid in week 3 to speed up the whole process.)
Bowl eligibility should still be the parquet floor for this roster. However, it is not difficult to find six losses on the schedule.
Prediction for the 2022 season of Texas football
Texas will be better than last season, that’s for sure. However, they will still have growing pains as quarterbacks, even if Ewers is immensely talented. The transformation will not happen overnight for Sarkisian and co.
Robinson and the game in progress will ensure that the 2022 offense gets going more consistently. The defense will get under 30 points per game allowed. As a result, they will beat any of OU, OSU, and Baylor. But they will not have a winning record in these games.
In the end, the Longhorns will have to be comfortable 8-4 Turn with hope for the future.
Texas Football 2022 Bowl Match Prediction
Sporting News Bowl projections by Bill Bender Pit the Longhorns against North Carolina in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Next: No. 24: Pittsburgh Panthers
Other articles in this series:
https://fansided.com/2022/08/10/texas-football-prediction-bowl-game-2022/ Texas Football 2022 Season Prediction, Preview, Awards, Bowl Game 2022