The 2013 season opener against Mississippi State, in Houston, has been the cause of much angst and debate.
Taking on the game — and the big payday and national exposure — seemingly led Mike Gundy to consider ditching his roots and entertain the idea of moving to an SEC locale, although it’s not clear how that somehow represents an easier schedule.
Well, the early odds are out, with an outfit named 5Dimes installing the Cowboys as an 11 1/2-point favorite over the Bulldogs.
Wow, a double-digit fave, the cause of so much wailing and gnashing of teeth?
On the surface, this is a game the Cowboys should win, perhaps comfortably. Mississippi State suffered some serious personnel hits, including three starters in its secondary, Thorpe Award winner Johnathan Banks. The Bulldogs are also retooling at the receiver spots and need to be better across the defensive front.
And while quarterback Tyler Russell and other key core players return, Missississippi State figures to grow on the go in 2013, suggesting that getting them in the opener is more than timely.
Well, it’s officially started.
The Texas Longhorns are back. No, seriously. Really this time.
Forget the continued QB issues, the flip-flopping of offenses and the lack of production over the past three years, the nation’s media will again trumpet the return of the Horns. It’s happened already at ESPN.com, where Texas is the pick for No. 1 in the Big 12 by Brian Fremeau.
OK, so we can’t expect the Horns to stay down forever. At least I don’t think we can, although the Longhorn Network is beginning to look like some sort of curse, with all of UT’s major sports in major decline. Still, the decline is real, very real, although the national types just can’t come to grips with it.
Expect to see Texas hailed and praised regularly in the months leading into the 2013 season.
Do note, however, that ESPN’s David Ubben, who writes a devoted Big 12 blog, is picking OSU.
In its early national rankings, ESPN also has Texas leading the way from the Big 12, at No. 13, starting a flood of teams from the conference, with the Cowboys at No. 15, OU No. 17, TCU No. 18 and K-State at 20.