Texas' shot at the Big 12 title

Why the Longhorns can win the conference behind a strong rushing attack

Originally Published: March 25, 2013
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
David AshAP Photo/Robert BackmanThe Texas Longhorns need David Ash to minimize his mistakes next season.

The Texas Longhorns may be college football's ultimate paper tiger. They have ranked in the top five of ESPN's recruiting rankings four out of the past five years and are led by one of the most successful coaches of this generation, yet over the past three seasons they have managed to post a relatively meager 22-16 record with zero conference championships and only one season-ending AP top-20 appearance.

Because talent normally trumps all, that type of contemporary history hasn't deterred pundits (myself included) from predicting better times for Texas football even as the losses have mounted. But the Longhorns' seeming inability to consistently play to their talent level has led people to jump off of the Texas-as-Big 12-favorite bandwagon for 2013 (even if they are returning a conference-high 19 starters).

While that assessment looks to be reasonable at first glance, after reviewing the game tapes and metrics, there seems to be a very clear path for Texas to once again win the Big 12, at least as long as the Longhorns fix one part of an otherwise pretty successful formula.