Texas Longhorns: Contender or pretender?

You can only be inspired by our friends at the ACC Blog, but today, we'll start looking at a few of the Big 12's best teams and asking you the big question: Do you buy them as a Big 12 title contender?

Or is any talk of a title simply pretending?

Let's start with the team I believe will be the most polarizing in these debates: the Texas Longhorns.

Texas has recruited solidly, though it's not necessarily pulling in top-five classes with ease lately. The defense struggled to stop the run, but the offseason began with a good taste in Texas' mouths after a dramatic Alamo Bowl comeback against a good Oregon State team for one of the Big 12's best nonconference wins of the season.

Major Applewhite is finally taking over as playcaller and he's got to help David Ash mature and find the consistency to make Texas a contender for some major hardware for the first time since the 2009 season.

Two of Texas' best defenders -- linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat -- will be back on the field after missing most of 2012 with injuries. Receiver Mike Davis elected to come back for his senior season after proving himself as a deep threat last season, offsetting a strong running game with four great backs headlined by Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, two of Texas' best signees in its 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes.

The Longhorns won at least 10 games in nine consecutive seasons before missing a bowl game in 2010. Texas has steadily improved since that disaster, but is this the year Texas breaks back into the double digits and wins a Big 12 title?

Vote in our poll. Is Texas a contender or a pretender?