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Is Texas Back? Longhorns Still National Championship Longshots

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Texas fans will be thrilled that their team has beaten Oklahoma. They'll also be wondering: is Texas back? Photo by Pixabay.
  • Texas beat Oklahoma in dramatic fashion this weekend
  • Should that inspire national title hopes?
  • Are the Longhorns odds out of control yet? 

The Red River Showdown was the game of the week. One of college football’s most storied rivalries lived up to its old name and the Longhorns won 48-45.

That leaves ever bettor and Longhorns fan with one question in mind: is Texas back?

National Championship Average Odds: Big 12

For more on how the odds have evolved, check out our National Championship Odds Tracker.

Alternatively, these are the odds available from BetOnline:

College Football National Championship Odds at Betonline

Team BetOnline National Title Odds
Alabama -220
Clemson +550
Ohio State +550
Georgia +700
Notre Dame +750
Michigan +2500
Texas +3300
Washington +3300

Having Texas listed this highly is odd, to say the least. Yes, they’ve just become the favorite to win the Big 12, but that doesn’t mean they’ll fare well against any of the teams listed above in a Playoff. I don’t think that they’d be favored to beat Washington.

Texas Big 12 Odds

This is a little more achievable. From 5Dimes:

Odds to Win the Big 12

Team Odds to Win Big 12
Texas +150
Oklahoma +200
West Virginia +200
TCU +600
Texas Tech +4000

It’s very unlikely that the Longhorns will get into the Playoff with a loss to Maryland and this statistical profile, but winning the Big 12 is firmly within reach. If they finish with a top-two record in conference, they’ll make the championship game, and likely face off with Oklahoma again.

Oklahoma’s the value pick here, by the way. More on that later.

Is Texas Back?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is no. The longer answer is probably yes.

In the short term: Texas is having a pretty great season. They started with their annual loss to Maryland, sure, but have now beaten USC, TCU, and Oklahoma. The latter was an emotional, nail-biting finish that will probably rank among the games of year.

The intermediate view is that Texas has gotten pretty lucky so far this season. They were able to take advantage of a USC team that is visibly struggling with a new quarterback, and got Oklahoma at the peak of their long-developing defensive struggles. Oklahoma will never again have a Mike Stoops defense, and Texas really  needed them to.

Texas’ offense is 51st in S&P+, and the team is 38th overall, which suggests that there’s something dubious about the Top-10 AP Poll result.

This is all to say that while Texas has been good in the early part of this season, they are nowhere near competing with the absolute top teams in college football. Texas’ offense is 51st in S&P+, and the team is 38th overall, which suggests that there’s something dubious about the Top-10 AP Poll result.

To take an even longer view, Texas is very much on the road “back.” They’ve done a great job recovering the ground Mack Brown gave up in recruiting, they’ve built a defense that’s on its way to being among the best in the country, and they maintain all their prestige and resources. The Longhorns are trending upwards, and are on the road “back” but certainly aren’t there yet.

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