AUSTIN (105.3 THE FAN) — The expectations won’t be lowered for Charlie Strong in his first season leading the Texas Longhorns. But on Monday, Strong suggested otherwise — maybe they should be.

Strong told the Austin American Statesman that fans shouldn’t expect the Longhorns to be national title contenders next season.

“We will not be in the national championship game,” said Strong.

Strong clarified the comments with New School on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday morning.

“We still have a long ways to go now. We still have a lot of work,” said Strong. ” You look at it, having the chance to get through spring ball. You look at it, just talent-wise with what we have right now. It’s a lot of work. To get to that game, you have to have a really good football team, and I just don’t know how good we are right now.”

Under Mack Brown, the Longhorns haven’t had a 10-win season since 2009, as season in which they lost the national championship game to Alabama.

In his introductory press conference in Austin, Strong promised to “put the program back on the national stage.”

So what are Strong’s expectations of his team in 2014?

“I really don’t have one,” said Strong. “It all depends on how a team plays and then if they gel together at the right time and they gain some confidence and they start playing together as a team. There’s a lot of factors that come into play.”

On Renewing the Rivalry with A&M

Strong would like to see Texas and Texas A&M renew their rivalry, one that was played every season between 1915 and 2011.

But Strong is realistic about the chances of the rivalry ever being renewed.

“With the different conference alignments — with A&M being in the Southeastern Conference — they’re going to have to play another conference game. It’s so tough,” said Strong. “If it doesn’t, we both understand why. Now that we have nine conference games.”

While it’s not what fans really want to hear, teams also have to be judicious in scheduling their non-conference games, which are limited due to expanding conference obligations.

“Sometimes, people look at the way the playoffs system is shaped. You don’t want to have a loss because that could hurt where you’re trying to get to.”

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