Saturday represents a pretty significant moment in the career of Tom Herman. No hyperbole. As he enters his second season as the head coach at Texas, it's impossible to get away from the fact that he was hired because Texas decision-makers believed that in this offensive age of college football, they were getting an elite offensive coach who would emphatically fix the Texas offensive issues of this decade. The thinking was that if you opened the pocket book and paired him with an elite defensive coordinator, the sky was the absolute limit. Well, Todd Orlando did his part as the highly-paid elite defensive coordinator. I think we all believe that he'll do his part again this season. Why? Because we believe he's truly elite, so much so that you could argue that he's the most valuable asset in the Texas program at the moment. The issue that I would suggest exists is that Tom Herman was hired to be the most valuable asset in the program, no one else. Therefore, when the 2018 season kicks off on Saturday, it represents a chance to completely reset the narrative for this program on the offensive side of the ball. According to Herman, what he's seeing from his offense this August is monumentally better than what he was seeing a mere 12 months ago, a season that featured him telling us on a weekly basis all the reasons why his side of the ball was a mess. Yet, going into this season, his quarterback play is better and more experienced. His offensive line has its fixer in Herb Hand and everyone is healthy. Meanwhile, the skill talent is good enough to win with at any school in the country. Hell, even Andrew Beck is back and we know Herman loves him some Andrew Beck. Forget about Tim Beck. Forget about who calls play. Forget the details, as the only thing that matters is that the offense is bad-ass because Herman was hired to provide a bad-ass offense, regardless of all that other stuff. As someone who finds himself consistently impressed with various aspects of Herman's capabilities as head coach, it's time to add actual offensive coaching to the list of things all of us feel real good about with regards to his job performance. It begins on Saturday. Impress us, Tom. Pretty please. No. 2 - Quickly talking quarterbacks ... With Anwar fully addressing the Sam Ehlinger discussion on Sunday, I don't want to repeat some of the same themes, so here's my complete set of quick-hitting takes about the quarterback position heading into the opener. * I'm an Ehlinger guy and believed in his upside as a college football player before anyone on the planet (outside of those at Westlake High School) did. If you'll remember, I ranked him as the No. 10 prospect in Texas at a time when he had zero offers and really wasn't yet on a high level recruiting radar. If he can stay healthy, and that's seemingly a decent-sized if, I think he has a chance to be a first-team all-Big 12 quarterback before he's done playing. What I don't know yet is whether he's still a year away and being forced into a starting role because of dire need or truly ready to be a guy that can lead a program to a championship. * Shane Buechele is between a rock and a hard place. It is in his best interest to emerge from this season with two seasons of eligibility remaining because I think the possibilities at Texas are shrinking. Unless Ehlinger suffers a long-term injury, Buechele is dealing with a situation where a redshirt is the best thing for him, but possibly not for the program. Maybe Buechele is staying at Texas until his eligibility runs out and my speculation is completely misplaced, but my read on Buechele is that he wants to play and not just watch from the sidelines, even if it is at Texas. It'll be fascinating to see how Tom Herman handles Buechele this season. * By mid-season, Cameron Rising could be the true No. 2 on the roster. Herman is making hints about how much he likes his true freshman and we know he's got four games with which to tinker. No. 3 - Are we underestimating the loss of The Punter ... MINNEAPOLIS-This rookie punter for Seattle, Michael Dickson, is an absolute phenom. Two monster punts tonight land inside the 5-, take hard right turns, and go OB at the 3 both times. Wait till you see this guy.— Peter King (@peter_king) August 25, 2018 MICHAEL DICKSON IS PUNTER JESUS pic.twitter.com/LqHd4gBiUU— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) August 25, 2018 Fantasy Football is stupid because you can't make Michael Dickson your No. 1 pick.— Brent Stecker (@BrentStecker) August 25, 2018 really, really trying not to weird everyone out with punter tweets every day but JFC DID YOU GUYS SEE WHAT MICHAEL DICKSON JUST DID— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) August 25, 2018 I find it impossible to quantify exactly what it means for a team that went 7-6 last season to have lost the Vince Young of college football punters, but we probably haven't talked enough about the loss of the greatest punter in school history. A guy that has walked into the NFL and induced a nation-wide session of jaw-dropping. If the Longhorns merely replace a legendary punter with someone who is average, we're talking about a difference of 5-6 yards of field possession every time the ball is kicked. While I can't say how many games Texas might have lost if Dickson wasn't around, I feel safe in saying the Longhorns possibly don't win the bowl game without his MVP performance. At the very least, he was the difference between a winning season last year and a losing one. There were so many big little moments in virtually every game of the season. His ability to completely flip field position in a monstrously critical way occurred so many times. There was the 53-yard bomb against USC in the fourth quarter. Or the 69-yard monster against Oklahoma (he averaged 55.0 yards on five punts that day). Or those 10 of 11 punts against Missouri he downed inside the 20-yard line. TEN IN ONE GAME. With a record that ended up average, I think we've potentially underestimated what his actual value to last year's team really was. It feels like Malik Jefferson can be replaced. DeShon Elliott, too. Same with Poona Ford. Dickson? I have no idea. No. 4 - I love this kid ... Ring that bell, baby! Ring that bell! The last 8 months have been crazy and stressful for me and my family but with the grace of god we can see a better day. I’ll like to say th thanks to all the fans and supports #hookem #aj1Boom 🤞🏾 pic.twitter.com/r6gsu9uy3k— Andrew Jones (@DrewdotCash) August 24, 2018 No. 5 - Story-time with Uncle Ketch... "I'm pissed, I'm stunned, it's Mack Brown." For those that were frequenting University of Texas message boards (Austin360, holla!) back in 1997, these words by an Orangebloods Hall of Fame poster served as the moment when word first broke that Mack Brown was going to be the man to replace John Mackovic as the head coach at Texas. Yet, from the mainstream media standpoint, this story served as one of the first big news breaking moments of my career, as Andy Liscano and myself worked together to break the story while working at KEYE-42 TV in Austin. After breaking the hire of Augie Garrido the previous year after stalking him in the wee hours of the morning in a DFW airport hotel, being first on this story allowed us to firmly cement our place as news-breakers in the Austin market. One of my favorite keepsakes from that week is a copy of the front page of the Dallas Morning News, which cited us for being the first to break the story. Now ... for the first time in two decades, the highlights from that day on our station and the rest of the stations have been uncovered. Enjoy. No. 6 - Bonus Story-telling time ... For those that don't know a ton about my background, I arrived at Rivals.com in the spring of 1999 after a four-year stint at KEYE-TV. During those four years, we did what no one else in the country in any market was doing in television ... we made a big deal out of recruiting. While no other station in the market was covering it much at all, we were leading our sportscast with it and I personally spearheaded the online coverage on the station's new website, which is what ultimately paved the path for me to have the career that I've had. Here's a look at some of our old recruiting coverage at KEYE-TV, including an interview with one of the first commitment breaks of my career - Adam Dunn to Texas. No. 7 – Buy or Sell … BUY or SELL: Sam Ehlinger has the type of performance against Maryland that leaves little doubt as to why Herman chose him early to be the starter? (Sell) Great question. I'm expecting the offense to take a few weeks to completely gel and come together. I think Ehlinger has a solid performance, but perhaps not an emphatic one. BUY or SELL: Herman has met or exceeded expectations a year and a half into his tenure? (Sell) I'm not sure how it could otherwise be argued after the first season with the offense and the question marks that remain unanswered going into season No. 2. BUY or SELL: Texas beats Maryland? (Buy) I'd just be careful about my prediction with this one. This was my prediction on this game last season: "I expect to see a Texas team that plays loose and free for the first time in a long time. I expect to see a more mature Texas team. I expect to see much improved special teams and defense. I expect Shane Buechele to throw three touchdowns. I expect a more disciplined football team. I expect sloppiness to decrease. I expect the defense to create a touchdown. I expect some style points in the Tom Herman debut. Texas 38 - Maryland 10" BUY or SELL: if the Urban Meyer shoe was on The University of Texas' foot, you believe our leadership would have responded differently? If so, what would have been the appropriate action. (Buy) Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, Urban Meyer would have lost his job if this situation had occurred with him steering the ship at Texas. I've had too many conversations with high-level decision-makers over the 20 years for me to think anything other than that. It matters to Texas that it be perceived as a football power, but a football power that allows it to sit on top of a hill and doesn't reflect poorly on the rest of the university. BUY or SELL: Cameron Rising gets snaps v. Maryland (and with redshirt rule you wouldn't put him the game just to hand off at the end to run out the clock)? (Sell) Rising plays in the second half against Tulsa. Buechele will take the back-up snaps in the opener if anyone does. BUY or SELL: These numbers would represent a 9-10 win season * Ehlinger- 2800 yards throwing 28 td 475 rush yards 10 rush td * Humphrey- 800 Rec Yards 7 td * Tre Watson- 750 Rush Yards 8 td 300 rec yards 3 td * Hager- 14 sacks * G Johnson- 120 tackles * Boyd- 5 int (Buy) Texas might go undefeated if all those thing happen. BUY or SELL: if Jake Smith continues to have these outstanding performances, he’ll eventually earn his fifth star? (Buy) He's knocking on the door as it is. It's not an impossible idea, but I tend to think he'll finish near the top 40, but just outside of the five-star range. BUY or SELL: At some point during the season CTH admits to being the primary play caller? (Sell) I just don't think he wants it. BUY or SELL: Without comparing personalities, Herb Hand is a better technician in teaching offensive line play and in getting the best out of the position than any o-line coach over the past 20 years at Texas. (Sell) When Mac McWhorter arrived at Texas, the line had more talent than the current group, but it was still an absolute mess. In short time, he completely rebuilt the foundation of the line and pieced together the best line (2005) in school history. BUY or SELL: You enjoyed banning @jshorn less than @UTwiz but only a little? (Sell) Man, I don't enjoy banning anyone, even if they sometimes drive me crazy. At the end of the day, I prefer a non-drama day on the message boards as much as anything, so that certain posters make the drama rain becomes frustrating at times, but I'm willing to live with frustration in the name of a healthy message board under a couple of conditions. One of them is just don't consistently be a Richard Cranium. Don't be rude for sport or disrespectful for personal grins. Even then, I typically give a lot of slack, but the slack can eventually run out. It's not what I would describe as enjoyable. No. 8 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind … ... Congrats to the Hawaii Little League baseball team, otherwise known as champions of the world. ... Given the backlash that has occurred over the weekend, I'd bet money that the French Open changes its tune about the recent attempt to police and control Serena Williams' attire. The policing of women’s bodies must end. The “respect” that’s needed is for the exceptional talent @serenawilliams brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies. https://t.co/ioyP9VTCxM— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 25, 2018 ... I'm having a hard time figuring out what I think about the Eagles at the moment with Carson Wentz not cleared for contact and Nick Foles looking like the guy we thought Nick Foles was nine months ago. I'm assuming they'll be fine, but the early evidence suggests that a Super Bowl hangover might be in play. ... That five yards per carry average Adrian Peterson posted on Friday night is fool's gold. Careful, fantasy footballers. ... Interesting week on the club soccer scene. Man City draws 1-1. Liverpool wins 1-0. Barcelona wins 1-0 (and needed VAR to escape a 1-1 draw). Atletico Madrid needed a monster Jan Oblack save to escape with a 1-0 win. Basically, almost everyone is still kind of working out the kinks. ... This is what happens when someone makes a business decision in a sport that is all about that business. 🥊😳😳 Boxer Curtis Harper was out ✌✌😂 (via @premierboxing) pic.twitter.com/eeY8pJlTbY— Fanatics View (@fanaticsview) August 26, 2018 No. 9 - The List: Top 10 Texas season-opening games of the last 30 years ... I've lived in Austin and watched/covered Texas football pretty closely since I was 10 years. Here's a list of the most memorable (good or bad) season-opening games during that time. 10. 1991 at Mississippi State (Mississippi State wins 13-6) The first game following the Miami disaster in the Cotton Bowl the previous season, and the then No.13 Longhorns lost to an unranked team in a game that kind of signaled the beginning of the end of the David McWilliams era. 9. 2005 vs. La-Lafayette (Texas wins 60-3) The full power of the Texas Death Star was on display going into a big Ohio State game the following week. 8. 2017 vs. Maryland (Maryland wins 51-41) Hello, Tom Herman Era ... yikes. 7. 1995 at Hawaii (Texas wins 38-17) Ricky Williams' introduction to the college football world. 6. 1994 at Pittsburgh (Texas wins 30-28) Curtis Martin's introduction to the college football world. 5. 2015 at Notre Dame (Notre Dame wins 38-3) The end of the Shawn Watson era. 4. 1996 vs. Missouri (Texas wins 40-10) After a monsoon/lightening delayed the game, what remained of the crowd after a 45-minute delay in the third quarter was amazingly dialed in, creating one of the best atmospheres I've ever seen at DKR. 3. 1999 vs. NC State (NC State wins 16-13) Three blocked punts cost Texas the first game of Mack Brown's second season in Austin. 2. 2016 vs. Notre Dame (Texas wins 50-47) The greatest moment of the Charlie Strong-era. 1. 1990 at Penn State (Texas wins 23-20) It was in Happy Valley that the 1990 Shock The Nation Tour began. What's really interesting about that game is that Penn State was only ranked No.21/No.20 (depending on the poll), but that last-second win felt so much bigger than the ranking the Nittany Lions owned would probably warrant. No. 10 – And Finally... Five and a half years. That's how long John McCain was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. It's almost impossible to fathom the strength and character that would be needed to survive it all, let alone have the ability to come out of it all with the ability to carve out one of the most notable political careers of anyone in the last 50 years. Of course, politics can make the waters murky when one talks about individual moments of disagreement over the years, but the bottom line for me is that John McCain was just a good man and he left us over the weekend having made sure that it the world was better off because he was in it. Few Americans have ever given more to this country out of love for this country. At his very best, McCain was the best of us. Rest in peace.