July 18, 2024

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian discussed the implications of Texas and Oklahoma officially joining the Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Monday morning, moving from the Big 12. Recognizing the SEC’s dominance in college football, Sarkisian highlighted the challenge of competing in a conference that consistently produces top NFL draft picks for 18 consecutive years.

“We need to build a team that can compete with the likes of Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, and Clemson,” Sarkisian emphasized, as reported by ESPN’s Chris Low. These teams regularly feature in the College Football Playoff, a goal Sarkisian aims to achieve despite the competitive landscape.

Sarkisian, previously Alabama’s offensive coordinator, led Texas to an 11-1 regular-season record, including a notable victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Despite Texas winning the Big 12 Championship against Texas Tech, their playoff journey ended against Washington.

Sep 9, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian greets Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) on the field during warmups at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Reflecting on SEC teams’ historical success in the College Football Playoff, Sarkisian stressed the importance of roster depth across all positions, citing Alabama’s offensive line as pivotal during his tenure there. Transitioning this experience to Texas, Sarkisian focused on enhancing the Longhorns’ offensive line, crucial for achieving competitive parity in the SEC.

“Teams in the SEC improve as the season progresses,” Sarkisian acknowledged, highlighting the necessity for Texas to prepare for postseason challenges, not just conference play. “We must build a team capable of competing for a national championship, not just a conference title,” Sarkisian concluded, underscoring Texas’ strategic shift in the competitive SEC environment.

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