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Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 1 Texas

Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 1 Texas

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This season could be the final straw for Mack Brown. Despite coaching two winning seasons since the Longhorn's disastrous season in 2010, Brown still finds himself on the hot seat. It seems that at only Texas could you're coach be on the hot seat for consecutive winning seasons. At any other place, they'd probably erect a statue of him. Unfortunately for Brown, he coaches a team whose fan base is the most demanding in all of college athletics. A Big 12 title would cool that seat immensely, and it's looking more and more like that's his only option if he wants to stay in Austin. This Texas team is more than capable of winning the Big 12 and a large part of that is the Longhorn's 20 returning starters, the most in the Big 12. There are still some kinks in the offense that Brown can fix, most notably at the quarterback position. For the last two seasons, the quarterback position has been a nightmare in Texas, with QB David Ash and QB Case McCoy switching off. Through that two year course Ash gradually gained more ground at starter and should be the Longhorns main man in their opener. With OU being a practical home game, the Longhorn's bout in Fort Worth against TCU is the only game that could give Texas a loss.

2012 Record: 9-4 (5-4)

Returning Starters: 20 (10 OFF, 9 DEF, 1 ST)

Key Losses on Offense: WR Marquise Goodwin (340 yds. 3 TD)

Key Losses on Defense: S Kenny Vaccaro, DE Alex Okafor

Head Coach: Mack Brown: 150-43 (16th Year)

Strength: Offense

The Longhorn's offense blended in with Big 12's high tempo, high flying offenses, pumping out 35.7 points a game last season. The Longhorn's shouldn't find it difficult to score at that same rate as Texas returns both quarterbacks in David Ash (2699 yds. 19 TD) and Case McCoy (722 yds. 6 TD). Ash was responsible for most of the damage and will have his top two receivers in Mike Davis (939 yds. 7 TD) and Jaxon Shipley (737 yds. 6 TD) to throw to. In addition to Davis and Shipley, Ash will have a stable of reserves to throw to including WR Daje Johnson (287 yds. 1 TD) and WR Bryant Jackson (151 yds. 1 TD). The running game wasn't nearly as explosive as the Longhorn's passing game, but with all five starters returning to the offensive line and both running backs Johnathan Gray (701 yds. 3 TD) and Joe Bergeron (567 yds. 16 TD) returning, the running game has a chance to really catch up.

Weakness/Questions: Linebacker and Mack Brown

Texas was downright terrible at stopping the run last season, ranking 88th by allowing 192 rushing yards a game, and a lot of the blame goes to the linebacker unit. The linebackers Demarco Cobbs (35 TOT), Steve Edmond (103 TOT) and Kendall Thompson (60 TOT) were decent linebackers, by Texas' standards, and have even dropped off the depth charts in some projections. In their places they have linebackers Peter Jinkens (29 TOT), Dalton Santos (26 TOT) and returning Jordan Hicks (23 TOT). Texas can't seem to get over the hump, and a lot of the criticism is directed towards Mack Brown, even though a lot of it isn't his fault. His previous teams were inexperienced, but still put up pretty good records. It will be interesting to see if Brown still has a little BCS magic left in him, cause if he doesn't, it could be curtains for the Brown era in Austin.

Projected Record: 11-1 (8-1)

Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl