The Texas Longhorns were ranked at No.15 in the inaugural AP Press-Season Top 25 released on Saturday. There’s been plenty of debate already about how accurate this placement is, but it seems like a perfect fit on the surface. The Big 12 is more wide-open than ever, with several teams certain to be a work-in-progress with new quarterbacks and unproven skill players which must rise to the occasion, and quickly. Flying under the radar a bit given this scenario, will be just fine with Mack Brown and the Texas coaching staff.
Only the Oklahoma State Cowboys — who enter in at No.13 and were named the pre-season favorites to win the conference crown — place ahead of Texas among their conference foes. It’s an interesting tidbit given opinion on Mike Gundy‘s squad seems to be mixed with sites like CNNSI not even having them among the Top 25. The only other Big 12 teams in the initial Top 25 are the Oklahoma Sooners at No.16 and the TCU Horned Frogs at No.20. Both squads — along with Texas and OSU — have consistently been placed in a four-team jumble from which anyone could emerge.
Oklahoma has the most substantial early-season challenge of the four teams in their September 28th visit to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Sooners return to Norman the following Saturday to take on TCU in the biggest matchup of the early Big 12 slate. That game, and Oklahoma’s tilt against the Longhorns in the week following in the traditional Red River Shootout could tell a great deal not only about the accuracy of the Big 12’s placement in the early AP Top 25, but also how the Big 12 Conference could shake out in 2013.
It’s a game rife with importance for both teams, but for very different reasons. Regardless, Texas will be content to be jumbled in the middle of the pack with all their conference opponents in a year where there isn’t a clear favorite and anyone could emerge from the jumble to win the conference if the cards fall right on any given Saturday.
Knowing the Texas program as I do, I can say one thing with confidence:
Mack Brown will be perfectly content being placed somewhere in the middle of the pack prior to the season, as Texas has been. There is enough pressure on the outcome of the 2013 season as it stands — and a world of implications attached to it depending on that outcome — that any additional pressure placed with being among the Top 10 at this point would be more distraction than compliment.
With Texas landing at No.15, the fit is perfect for a season that is full of question marks.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow Kris on Twitter, Google, Vine, Instagram and Facebook. Kris was published in Lindy’s In the Huddle – Texas Longhorns Edition currently in stores.