We all know it’s far too early to prognosticate next season’s AP rankings, but that doesn’t stop the media from trying. Friday, ESPN released their “Way Too-Early Top 25,” which has the Charlie Strong-led Longhorns ranked No. 22.
Elsewhere in these premature rankings, Florida State is expected to return to their seat atop the college football world and is ranked No. 1. Oregon and Auburn round out the top three. In the Big 12, Oklahoma is expected to use their Sugar Bowl win and vault themselves to a conference championship, and is ranked No. 6. Texas’ in-state rival, Baylor, comes in at No. 10. No other Big 12 team cracked the Top 25, so they must be doomed, right?
Here’s what ESPN writer Mark Schlabach had to say about the 2014 Longhorns.
“Former Louisville coach Charlie Strong replaces the departed Mack Brown, and the Longhorns can finally get back to playing football and not being consumed by speculation. Strong's first season probably hinges on whether former starting quarterback David Ash can return to the team because of concussions. If Ash can't play, rising sophomore Tyrone Swoopes or incoming freshman Jerrod Heard, an ESPN 300 prospect who has committed to the Longhorns, might get a chance to win the job. The Horns will have to replace three starting offensive linemen, as well as receiver Mike Davis. Strong figures to put a tougher and more physical defense on the field, and UT might bring back eight starters on that side of the ball. The schedule sets up well for a fast start in Strong's first season; UT plays six of its first seven games inside Texas, including neutral-site games against UCLA in Arlington and Oklahoma in Dallas.”