No. 11 Texas

(Donald Miralle - Getty Images)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Basics

2007 record

10-3, beat Arizona State, 52-34,

in Holiday Bowl

Returning Starters

6 offense, 4 defense

Key Game

vs. Missouri, Oct. 18

Player to Watch

Colt McCoy,

junior quarterback

Criticized by some as fragile after two seasons plagued by concussion and shoulder problems, McCoy was able to remain productive in 2007, throwing for 3,303 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Why They're Worth Watching

It's Texas, so with the usual bounty of NFL-caliber talent in Austin, it's almost a certainty that the Longhorns will push South Division favorite Oklahoma for a berth in the Big 12 championship game. The offensive line, which opened lanes for the nation's 17th-best rushing attack last year, will be improved and should allow plenty of opportunity for Vondrell McGee, Chris Ogbonnaya and Foswhitt Whitaker to acclimate themselves as they begin the task of replacing Jamaal Charles, a three-time all-Big 12 selection who, during his junior season, became the program's 13th 1,000-yard rusher since 1995. Texas looks to strengthen its defensive intensity with new coordinator Will Muschamp, who, for the past two seasons, served in the same capacity at Auburn and also spent time with the Miami Dolphins as an assistant head coach for defense in 2005.

Why They're Vulnerable

Aside from the Vince Young-led 2005 national championship squad, Brown's teams have developed a reputation for being too timid. The defense's predicament last season, a year in which they gave up 371 yards a game, was a microcosm of the model, and those within the program anticipate Muschamp's arrival will bring bite to the floundering unit. Texas led the conference in rushing defense with 93.4 yards a game, but most of the work was left to the secondary; defensive backs Marcus Griffin, Ryan Palmer and Brandon Foster were the team's top tacklers, combining for 249. Against the pass, Texas faced similar issues; opposing quarterbacks completed 61 percent of their passes, averaging 278 yards a game. With Missouri quarterback and Heisman hopeful Chase Daniel visiting Austin on Oct. 18 and a road test against Texas Tech two weeks later, the Longhorns will be put to the test twice in a tight time frame.

-- Andrew Astleford


No. 10 Auburn.


No. 25 Arizona State, No. 24 Alabama, No. 23 California, No. 22 Penn State, No. 21 Wake Forest, No. 20 Wisconsin, No. 19 Tennessee, No. 18 Oregon,

No. 17 Illinois, No. 16 Kansas, No. 15 BYU, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 13 South Florida, No. 12 Texas Tech.

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