By many, if not most accounts, Tom Herman has the Texas Longhorns headed in the right direction.
Texas capped Herman’s debut season at 7-6 following a 33-16 Texas Bowl victory over Missouri, notching the program’s first winning season since 2013 and first bowl win since 2012.
With the nation’s No. 3-ranked recruiting class now headed for the Forty Acres and a substantial share of last season’s key contributors back in burnt orange, yet another step forward will be expected in 2018. How exactly that step forward is defined is a matter of subjectivity, but the early odds favor that step to be most apparent in the win column.
Although it’s still quite early and spring football is still underway, ESPN’s FPI projects the Longhorns to win 10 of their 12 regular season matchups, with Texas projected to serve as underdogs against only Oklahoma (35.6%) and on the road against Oklahoma State (46.5%).
- Maryland — 80.4%
- Tulsa — 94.2%
- USC — 58.6%
- TCU — 73.7%
- @ Kansas State — 64.1%
- Oklahoma — 35.6%
- Baylor — 77.2%
- @ Oklahoma State — 46.5%
- West Virginia — 76.8%
- @ Texas Tech — 63.4%
- Iowa State — 78.9%
- @ Kansas — 87.8%
Should Texas’ season play out as projected by ESPN, a 5-0 start to the 2018 slate would mark the first time that the Longhorns enjoyed such success since 2009; a season which ended with a trip to the BCS National Championship. 2009 was also the most recent season in which Texas finished with at least 10 regular season wins; a height ESPN’s FPI currently projects the Longhorns to reach in 2018.
Texas has averaged just 5.75 wins per season since the end of the Mack Brown era, but the Longhorns did enjoy a two-win improvement from 5-7 in Charlie Strong’s final season to 7-6 to begin the Herman era.
Can Herman and the ‘Horns make an even more significant leap in the win column in 2018? As for now, ESPN’s FPI projects that to be the case.