Inside the Gameplan: Setting a Tiger trap

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LSU’s visit to Austin will probably go down as the biggest national game that Texas has played under Tom Herman to date, aside from the 2018 battles with Oklahoma. For better or worse, Texas and Oklahoma will always be the ultimate measure of each other, but this LSU team represents a different sort of challenge. There’s no ignoring the “SEC!!!” angle, which adds a few different important dimensions to this game. The first is the impact on Texas’ reputation on the recruiting scene. A win in this game is a win on the recruiting trail against the “Texas doesn’t send players to the NFL” club that regional rivals love to throw at the Longhorns as well as the “come to the SEC and play the best” mythos.

The second is the more substantive challenge of playing a blue blood program with legitimate national contender status and talent. By going up against LSU, Texas is getting a real audition for playoff-caliber football. Texas’ win over Georgia was big, despite the Bulldogs’ lack of focus or a few key players, because the perception going into the game was that the Longhorns couldn’t hang with a premier SEC squad. Beating LSU would strongly reinforce the message that Bevo and the Horns sent in the Sugar Bowl.

Beyond that, the Ed Orgeron Tigers are surprisingly moving towards a more cutting edge, pro-spread offensive concept that’s generating a lot of national buzz. The entire Big 12 should be rooting for Texas to show the Tigers that spread concepts are old hat on this side of the Mississippi River. A literal win in this game could carry the “narrative victory” for the Longhorns as a legit destination for NFL talent on the perimeter and in the trenches who have a mastery of the modern game that gives them an advantage over national contenders.

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History major, football theorist.