Fall is upon us, which means back to school, cooler weather (hopefully soon!) and a clean slate when it comes to football records. Players and fans alike are eager to kick off the 2016 football season and see what will unfold. To amp up the excitement, we are bringing you insider predictions from Joaquin Sanchez, a top Austin sports anchor. Check out the exclusive blog he brings to Pearl Street that highlights the top college and professional football teams in Texas and what he expects to see this season. Let the games begin!
Texas Longhorns 8-4
Oh Texas. I’ve bought in and drank the burnt orange kool-aid way too many times over the last few seasons, just to get burned by the on-field mediocrity. That being said, I’m going all in again. Let’s ride baby! I finally think the Longhorns have the depth and talent that Charlie Strong has been missing on the 40 acres. No starting quarterback has been announced yet, but I have to imagine it's true freshman Shane Buechele. If Strong goes with Tyrone Swoopes yet again, it might be his undoing in a do-or-die season to keep his job. I say Texas goes 8-4 this year, gets to a decent bowl and Strong gets to stick around while the best players finally become upperclassmen.
Texas A&M Aggies 6-6
Kevin Sumlin has banished more five-star quarterbacks in the last year from College Station than most programs are lucky to have in a decade. Pair that with the shenanigans that his assistant coaches are up to and it’s bad news for the Aggies. Quarterback Trevor Knight comes down from Oklahoma to try to save the day but I’m predicting this team is too far gone to save. They’ve got some crazy athletic players on this team and future top-10 picks in the NFL Draft, but the Aggies go 6-6 in the always tough SEC. They start the year playing one of the best QBs in America in UCLA’s Josh Rosen and it doesn’t get much easier from there. I say they go 6-6, fire Sumlin and grab Tom Herman from Houston as their new head coach.
TCU Horned Frogs: 9-3
I think TCU finishes second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma this year. The Horned Frogs just named former Aggie transfer Kenny Hill a.k.a Kenny Trill the starter. He’ll bring immediate experience to replace Trevone Boykin under center. The thing about the Frogs is they know how to win. These guys went 23-3 the last two seasons, that’s remarkable. If you wanna talk big wins, they’ve outscored Texas 98-17 the last two games between the teams. Yikes!! Gary Patterson has it rolling in Fort Worth, they’ll once again field one of the top teams in the Big 12 and that October 1st game between TCU and Oklahoma will decide the league champion.
Texas Tech Red Raiders 7-5
The Red Raiders boast the nation’s best looking and best dressed coach in the dreamy Kliff Kingsbury. They also have a big-time quarterback in Pat Mahomes. But those two gentlemen won’t be enough to get them over the hump. They’ll start out 5-1 and get ranked pretty high, but that schedule gets much harder down the stretch. Tech will put up mountains of points per usual, but the defense will give up way too many. They’ll stumble on the second half of the schedule and finish 7-5.
Baylor Bears: 7-5
I wanted to put 0-12 for Baylor considering the horrific sexual assault scandal that came out this off-season and cost head coach Art Briles his job, but I couldn’t go quite that far. Honestly, I think they have many more wins than seven, but I think the karma and football gods won’t let that happen. Baylor’s schedule is super easy once again with the cupcakes of Northwestern State, SMU and Rice to open the season, but I think they’re super thin with all the players transferring and decommitting from the Bears. They’ve got good talent still on campus, but I think once players get hurt, and they always do, this team hits the struggle bus and finishes 7-5.
Dallas Cowboys: 7-9
I originally had Dallas at 10-6 and winning the NFC East. But Tony Romo got hurt (which we all saw coming) and I think that sets them back a few wins. I figured he would get hurt late in the season, but we haven’t even kicked off yet and he’s already out for awhile. Luckily, rookie Dak Prescott has impressed in the preseason, so it won’t be quite as bad of a situation as it was for the Cowboys last season. When Romo got hurt last year, Dallas went 1-11 in the games he missed. So it will be an early glimpse into the future with a rookie under center and a rookie running back in Ezekiel Elliott. They’ll have some growing pains and finish 7-9 but show glimpses of brilliance that will get Cowboys fans excited about next year.
Houston Texans: 11-5
I’m a believer in this team. They went 9-7 a year ago with quite possibly the worst QB in the league. This squad is better now with Brock Osweiler taking snaps and the defense is still stacked. Plus, they get to play the Patriots while Tom Brady is suspended because of something that happened TWO YEARS AGO. That’s the silliest suspension ever so don’t get me started on the NFL commissioner. I think the Texans repeat as AFC South champs and make a run to the AFC title game.
There you have it, folks. A special thanks to Joaquin Sanchez for sharing his professional insight and getting us mentally (and emotionally) prepared for what's to come this 2016 football season. Enjoy the ride and Hook 'Em Horns!
Joaquin has been in Austin covering local sports for the last six years. He graduated from UT with a degree in broadcast journalism and has worked all over the country. Joaquin has won the AP's Best Sportscast in Texas three of the last five years. Feel free to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter at @JSanchezTWCN