Texas

Texas ranked after a losing season? In Tom Herman era, there’s a good reason

Tom Herman
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas – Sports is not a place for common sense and logic, but I’ll try anyway.

Texas will start the year in the coaches’ Top 25, nestled between Virginia Tech and Tennessee at No. 23. Preseason polls mean little, if not nothing. But the voters have a responsibility to look at a roster and a coaching staff to project the 2017 season with no regard to the on-field results from 2016 or any other previous year.

I know “fan” is short for “fanatic,” but the haters came out in force against Texas almost from the moment the poll was released.

Messages in social media ranged from “Why?” to “We are 23 merely based on hype… But we have good PR people” to “Just dumb! There is literally not one possible reason for them to be ranked other than hope. Gotta pay for that LHN” to “The only team with a losing record from last year to crack the top 25? Are you kidding? It would be a good season if UT fell just one shy of .500. No respect for Colorado? Aggies? TCU or Houston should be deserving of that spot too. Question, who on the coaching staff is going to run, pass, catch and defend to justify this ranking?”

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If you consider the 2017 challengers in the Big 12 Conference to be Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State and Texas, you have a to take a look at the roster.

Those rosters are built through recruiting. Using the 247Sports composite team rankings from 2013 through 2017, these are the average recruiting rankings for the rosters: Oklahoma 14th, Texas 15th, TCU 33rd, Oklahoma State 36th and Kansas State 60th.

While development cannot be argued, good or bad, it can be argued that Texas has one of the more talented rosters in the Big 12.

Tom Herman, one of America’s best young coaches, takes over a team that most journalists, fans, coaches and administrators thought was poorly coached from 2014-16 even if it was recruited well.

Last season’s 5-7 Longhorns team was talented and poorly coached, and lost three games by four or fewer points and five games by seven or fewer points.

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The coaches decided to rank Texas at No. 23. While it surely looks weird that Texas is the only team with a losing record in 2016 to begin this season ranked, last season really does not matter.

The coaches value the roster and the coaching staff. The on-field play of the past five seasons really does not play a part in the decision. There is a new coach, a new staff, new personnel people, new academic people, new strength and conditioning people and new policy, procedure and processes.

The good thing is that we will find out, and it won’t take long. Year one of the tenure of Tom Herman means something.

(You can follow Sean Adams on Twitter @thatsean)

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