No. 16 Texas

The good news for Longhorn fans was that they weren't that far from a return to form last season under embattled coach Charlie Strong. Going 9-4 overall and 7-2 in conference play would get lots of coaches extensions on their contracts.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]But when the drought for a playoff bowl is now in its 8th season and Oklahoma is still the king of the Big 12 and other Texas schools such as Baylor and TCU have moved past you, the margin for error is small. Say hello to Tom Herman who was 22-4 as a head coach at Houston and 6-0 against Top 25 teams. Throw in a roster that has 16 starters back, including 37 of the top 44 on the depth chart AND a couple of very good recruiting classes. Well, let's just say the expectations in Austin are above normal for a first year coach. Still, it's going to take some time. Texas has had 6 offensive coordinators in the past six seasons and its new OC Tim Beck's job to get the most from QB Shane Buechele, RB Chris Warren III and an offensive line with four starters returning. Defensively, problems exist which Herman must solve quickly. Texas has 10 defensive starters returning, which might be a good thing or a bad thing, considering the defense allowed an average of 315 points a game last season. The Longhorns travel to USC in their third game. And just for some added spice, Strong predicted that no matter who was coaching the Longhorns in 2017, Texas would win 10 games.

Having said all of that, the drama here is the way Tom Herman handles himself and his team throughout the season. Herman was a star as a coordinator at Ohio State. He was a star as head coach at Houston. He was the hot coach last season, with both LSU and Texas panting to get him and Houston offering everything it can to keep him.

Texas needs a star as its coach. Mack Brown did the job for a long time, winning a national championship and establishing Texas as a perennial Top 10 program. But Brown faded into the twilight and Strong was not strong enough to make the carry over, although who knows what would have happened if he had returned this season and actually won 10 games.

Now it is Herman's turn and it should be fun to watch.[/membership]