We have reached the top 10 teams in the nation and the cream of the crop is starting to rise. Here is team #8 and the 2010 Texas Longhorns Football Preview. All part of our 31 teams in 31 days college football season preview from Maddux Sports who offers ncaa football picks, previews, and betting odds to visitors .
No. 8 Texas Longhorns
2009 record: 13-1
2009 Bowl Game: 37-21 loss to Alabama in BCS Championship game
2009 ATS: 5-8-1
Returning starters: 12 (5 on offense, 7 on defense)
Texas loses a bevy of starters on offense, with the biggest name being star quarterback Colt McCoy who went to the Cleveland Browns in the third round of this year’s draft.
The Longhorns will call on sophomore Garrett Gilbert to lead the offense. Gilbert stepped in when Colt McCoy got hurt in last year’s title game, and bounced back after a nervous start. He finished with two touchdown passes, but threw four interceptions.
Texas returns top rusher Tre’ Newton who carried the ball 116 times and scored six touchdowns. He will look to improve on his 4.8 yard average, but is a good option at running back.
The Longhorns also lose their best receiver in Jordan Shipley. The Bengals’ third round pick averaged 12.8 yards per reception for the Longhorns last season and scored 13 touchdowns on 116 catches.
Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll, and John Chiles will try to fill the void, but they have a tough task ahead. The trio combined for 11 touchdowns last season, but only Williams can compare to Shipley in explosiveness.
Texas also loses three seniors on the line, which could be a problem for Gilbert as well as the running game. Still, we are talking about Texas here, and they should have a solid offensive season again.
However, defense will be key for the Longhorns in 2010. The unit looks to be strong despite having to replace four starters. They were the top rush defense in 2009 and look to return to the top of the pack in that area.
Defensive tackle Sam Acho will once again lead the way on a strong defensive line. He had ten sacks last season and added four tackles for a loss. The Longhorns will sorely miss defensive end Sergio Kindle, who had 5.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss in 2009, but they have the talent to fill those holes.
Linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy was the team’s top tackler last season, but he now plays for the Cininnati Bengals. Keenan Robinson looks like the best bet to pick up the slack at the linebacker position.
The Longhorns also lose ball hawk Earl Thomas, who will play safety for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010. He had eight interceptions for the Longhorns in 2009. Free safety Blake Gideon is still with the team, and he is looking to repeat his six-interception performance from last year.
Kicker Hunter Lawrence is gone, but Justin Tucker looks ready to step in. Tucker also punted for part of last season, but senior John Gold will most likely take over punting duties. Gold averaged 44.1 yards on 15 punts and forced two fair catches.
Kick returners DJ Monroe and Marquise Goodwin are two of the most dangerous returnmen in the game. Monroe averaged 33.6 yards last year and scored twice. Goodwin averaged 21.8 yards and scored one touchdown.
Aaron William is ready to step in as punt returner, but he has a big hole to fill. Jordan Shipley averaged 13.0 yards last season and scored twice.
Against the spread
The Longhorns went 5-8-1 against the college football point spreads in 2009. They were 2-4 as the home favorite and 3-2 when favored on the road. They didn’t play a game as the underdog.
They went 4-4-1 against other teams from the Big 12 and 1-4 against non-conference opponents. Texas has gone 68-57-3 ATS in the last ten years.
You can bet on it
Bet on the Longhorns against Rice in the season opener. Texas is 38-1 in the series and has won ten straight. They have scored more than 50 points in the last four meetings and have beaten Rice by an average score of 53-10 in those games. The Longhorns should be able to cover here, despite a high spread.
Favor the fade
Fade the Longhorns at Kansas State on November 6. They lost the last two meetings and are 1-3 as the road team in the series. They were beat 41-21 in the teams’ last meeting in 2007 and lost 45-42 in 2006. The Longhorns will be favored in this one, but could fail to cover.