Update 9-10-23: Well four of five aren't bad. Banks, Ewers, Sanders, and Hill all shined and were CRITICAL to Texas winning last night 34-24. Texas was amazing last night. AMAZING.
The Longhorns travel to Alabama believing they have a chance to beat Alabama tomorrow. Is it realistic to believe that? Many Longhorns fans want to see it before they believe it. That is probably the prudent approach for a fan base that has been so disappointed over the last decade plus.
How would it happen? Here is my fan fictional account of what of I expect to see tomorrow night.
Who are the five players that give the Texas Longhorns a chance tomorrow vs. Alabama? Some are obvious and others are not.
First, let me start by saying who I am NOT including even though they are clearly some of the most important players on the team:
Wide Receivers- Worthy, Mitchell, Whittington
Running Backs- Brooks, Baxter, and others
Defensive Line- Sweat, Burke
Linebackers- Ford, Gbenda
Defensive Backs- Brooks, Watts, Catatalon, Thompson, Barron
I am not picking ANY of these for my five. Why? I believe the talent Bama will enter this game with will match up and neutralize all of them. I am not saying Bama will be able to beat any of these core Longhorns players. I think it will generally be a draw on all of THESE fronts.
It is the five I have that will WIN their battles. The fact that those 14 plus players hold their own is going to enable my five to give the Longhorns a chance because THESE FIVE will make the BIG PLAYS.
Let's start with the BEST player on the Longhorns roster- Kelvin Banks Jr.
Banks may be the best lineman in the country. He IS going to be a top five pick in the NFL draft in 2025. When all else is breaking down tomorrow on the offensive line, I suspect that Ewers is going to roll out behind Banks and to a lesser extent Christian Jones. Banks is going to flatten Alabama defenders like they have never seen before.
The next is obvious- Quinn Ewers
Here is my belief and what we are all going to discover about Quinn this year. He loves the BIG moments. His best two games last year were vs. Oklahoma and vs. Alabama (cut short by the injury.) Ewers will rise to the occasion tomorrow in Alabama and shock the nation. However, his biggest plays will not be going to the deep and talented wide receiver room.
The mismatch- Ja'Tavion Sanders
Sanders will be the one with the biggest plays tomorrow for the Texas offense. His 6'4" 256 lb. body is the mismatch that will exploit Bama. Bama will have resources covering Worthy and Mitchell. Sanders will get open over the middle and I think he gets possibly TEN CATCHES tomorrow and two TDs. If Bama adjusts to stop Sanders, then Texas will have to hit the big play to Mitchell or Worthy.
As we turn to the Defense you might think I excluded all of the best players. I probably did.
I suspect Texas's defense tomorrow will bend and not break. I think the Tide will be in third and medium to long often and make their fair share of plays as Milroe runs for his life and throws on the run a lot.
Two freshman playmakers shock the nation- Anthony Hill Jr. and Malik Muhammed
I believe Texas did not show their plans with Hill in week one. I think he will be unleashed and cause havoc tomorrow. It will be the first time most of the nation has ever heard of Hill and they will never forget.
Muhammed has done one thing since showing up at Texas in practice- make plays. It seemed like EVERY week we heard of an interception or fumble and Muhammed was in on most. He will do the same tomorrow.
Hill and Muhammed- two TRUE freshman- combine for two turnovers and THIS keeps this game close.
Well, that is what I am hoping to see. If all of these five do what I said, Texas has a CHANCE.
I still like my preseason prediction of Alabama 31-23, though I might tweak it more to 27-20 Bama as my official game prediction. If at least three of these players can shine Texas might keep it close. If all five happen, maybe we can dream.
Do you want to support this site? Do you want to make sure you continue to get real analysis like this?
It takes time and it does cost money, I really would appreciate your support of the work. Here is your opportunity to do that at a nominal cost. This support will help me continue to provide you what I do- objective analysis of your teams. It will also help the site improve and expand our reach.
If you don't think our work is worthy of financial support, I will accept your non-action feedback humbly.
The details are below and available at Patreon.com. It is VERY easy to sign up.