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Free Pick:Louisiana at Texas 9/4/21 *Papa Dude’s Lock of the Week*
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick:Louisiana at Texas 9/4/21 *Papa Dude’s Lock of the Week*

The Ragin’ Cajuns roll into Austin ranked 23rd just two spots below Texas. They are coming off of a 10-1 season and have 19 starters back from 2020. They are a very good Sun Belt team. Texas fired Tom Herman after going 7-3 last year and 32-18 over four seasons. They hired Steve Sarkisian to right the ship that wasn’t exactly sinking and he comes in with the usual Texas-sized expectations. Let’s break it down and see why it is my Lock of the Week.

Quarterback: Louisiana returns Levi Lewis who was 2nd team All-Conference after a solid 2020. He is a good runner as well as passer and threw for 19 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Texas is replacing four-year starter Sam Ehlinger with redshirt freshman Houston Card instead of the expected Casey Thompson. Advantage: Louisiana

Running Backs: Texas welcomes Bijan Robinson back and he was great over the last six games of the year. He had 14 plays that went for more than 20 yards showcasing his big-play ability. The Ragin’ Cajuns lost their top 2 rushers but return Chris Smith who ran for 684 yards and added 170 more yards on 16 passes. Advantage: Texas

Receivers: Louisiana has everyone back from a year ago in a group that all had similar numbers. The Longhorns return tight end Cade Brewer and wide receiver Joshua Moore and former five-star Jordan Whittington is back from injuries and could be their go-to guy. Advantage: Texas

Offensive Line: Texas returns four starters upfront and this is one of the strengths of the team. Louisiana goes one guy better as they return all five starters from a year ago. Advantage:Texas

Defensive Line: The Cajuns are deep and talented upfront on defense and everybody returns from 2020. Texas lost some important pieces upfront and will rely on Keondre Coburn and LSU transfer Ray Thornton. Advantage: Louisiana

Linebackers: Texas returns DeMarvion Overshown who had 60 tackles a year ago. Other than him there isn’t a lot of proven experience. The Cajuns return two starters who combined for 157 tackles in 2020. Advantage: Louisiana

Secondary: Louisiana returns both cornerbacks and one safety from 2020 including 2nd team All-Conference Brelan Trahan. The Texas secondary has two corners with star power in Josh Thompson and D’Shawn Jamison. Advantage Texas

Coaching: I must admit I don’t know much about Louisiana coach Billy Napier but he has gone 28-11 in three years at Lafayette, Louisiana and that catches my eye. I’m willing to bet no one else has ever done that in their first three years at the school. Meanwhile Sarkisian comes in with a lot of bluster from his successful stint and rehabilitation under Nick Saban at Alabama. Did anyone bother to notice the talent he was working with in Tuscaloosa? He has to prove he can handle the Texas job before I’m going to praise him. Advantage: Neither

On paper, this looks like a pretty even game and it might well be. Texas is favored by 8 points and that line has not moved at all which means Louisiana is getting a lot of respect or Texas is being overlooked. It is probably a combination of both. I don’t like the quarterback situation at Texas and it is a concern. But, c’mon are you going to convince me that Louisiana has better players than Texas does? Not today, or tomorrow, or ever. No disrespect to the Sun-Belt conference because they have upped their game in the past couple of years, but a Sun-Belt school shouldn’t come into Austin and play Texas to an 8-point game.

Our Pick: Texas -8 This one gets the green flag for go. *PAPA DUDES LOCK OF THE WEEK*

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