As is the case every year, popular narratives pervade discussion involving the most recent Texas football season. Often times, those narratives can rattle through the echo chamber until they are the accepted fanbase opinion, regardless of validity.
Today we’re going to challenge commonly accepted narratives about Texas and its rivals.
The Texas Longhorns went 8-4 and finished No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings. The high points of the season were wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State and Baylor and a strong performance against Alabama. The season lows were dealt by Oklahoma State and TCU.
Jaylan Ford was the highlight of the season, making outcome altering plays for the Longhorns week after week. Despite the development of Ford and others, many felt Texas left wins on the table.
Let’s challenge some of the popular opinions on the 2022 season.
“Red River was a fluke”
Oklahoma scored zero points against Texas without their starting quarterback in 2022. They also went 3-6 in Big 12 play with Dillon Gabriel present for most of the season. Cope as you may, it won’t change the Longhorns 49-point win over the Sooners.
Bear in mind that Texas Tech beat Texas with its third string quarterback, Donovan Smith. Oklahoma’s inability to develop a backup quarterback is a reflection on a coaching staff that received undue preseason hype. Texas legitimately whipped Oklahoma. There’s no other way to interpret the game.
“2022 was a failure for Texas”
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
The 2022 season was not even close to failure for Texas. Nobody in Austin likes where Texas is record-wise, but you have to build the program before you start setting high win expectations. Texas is developing players. The program had not done that in a long time. The wins will follow.
“Sarkisian is a downgrade”
Syndication: Austin American-Statesman
Conclusion: Not even close.
Tom Herman was a better game manager than Steve Sarkisian. Steve Sarkisian is still a better coach. Sarkisian is a better schemer, culture builder, recruiter, hirer of assistant coaches, innovator and self-reflector than the last two coaches at Texas. This staff is not taking shortcuts with development and should be dangerous in the next couple of years.
Herman’s 7-win mark is the number to beat for Steve Sarkisian in Year 3 and 4. I tend to believe the program is on its way up, not down.
“Quinn Ewers is Garrett Gilbert”
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Conclusion: Slow down, Turbo.
Ewers struggled in 2022, but he is still the favorite to win the quarterback battle next year. He had strong moments despite the assertion he was terrible all season. The struggles he faced in his redshirt freshman season should push him to be better in 2023.
“Losing season in Year 5 is no different than Year 1”
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M went 5-7 in Jimbo Fisher’s fifth season with the team. The team was comprised of his guys, including a historically good 2021 recruiting class. Program trajectory matters. If Sarkisian falls to 6 or 7 wins next year, we’ll hold him accountable.
Story Originally appeared on Longhorns Wire