Returning McCoy pushes Texas into Big 12 favorite's role

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The decision by Texas quarterback Colt McCoy to return for his senior season might be the biggest piece in the puzzle of pushing the Longhorns into the role as a favorite for the national championship next year.

McCoy's decision was reported Monday in the Austin American-Statesman. It provides the Longhorns with an experienced senior quarterback who has already started for three seasons.

The Longhorns will lose running back Chris Ogbonnaya and top receivers Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley. But redshirt freshman Malcolm Williams looked explosive in his limited playing time and tight end Blaine Irby should return from a knee injury that caused him to miss most of the season.

Senior guard Cedric Dockery will be the Longhorns' only departing offensive lineman. And while the defense will lose key players like Brian Orakpo, Roy Miller, Rashad Bobino and Ryan Palmer, Will Muschamp should have a more experienced unit in his second season working with the team.

It's not clear whether Sam Bradford will be returning to Oklahoma or declare for the NFL draft. If he leaves, the Longhorns should assume the role as favorites in the Big 12 South.