The Texas Longhorns are a quarter through the 2012 season and are on the cusp of opening Big 12 play against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Following the conference opener, Texas' October games are against West Virginia, Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas, each harboring different challenges for the Longhorns to overcome.
A win over the Cowboys would see the Horns' confidence soar heading into their matchup with the Mountaineers, but it could be one of the conference's best games of the season.
Texas has shown some improvements through its three contests so far, having made its biggest steps in the passing game. Those developments will play crucial roles in determining the results of the Longhorns' next five weeks.
Here are predictions for Texas' October fixtures.
The Longhorns will be coming off a weekend trip to Stillwater to face a quartet of games that will provide a better perspective of where Texas is headed in the Big 12.
To lose two of the next four games could be seen as disappointing at the end of the season, but a 3-1 mark or better puts the Horns right in the thick of the conversation for a conference title.
West Virginia and Oklahoma are tough back-to-back matchups, and a stumble has to be expected here. Otherwise, a contest with Baylor is no walkover, although Texas should win. And a trip to Lawrence, Kansas to play the Jayhawks could be the most lopsided win of the season for the Horns.
West Virginia may be a newcomer in the Big 12, but the Mountaineers offense has been a welcome fit in the high-octane conference.
Since joining from the Big East over the summer, senior quarterback Geno Smith has a chance to take his team to the top of the Big 12, as West Virginia already possesses one of the best offenses in the conference.
Like many Big 12 teams, though, the Mountaineers lack a defense that can compete against the explosive offenses. So when the Longhorns host the former Big East member, expect just that.
Prediction: West Virginia 38, Texas 41
The Longhorns return home from Stillwater to defend their turf against one of the more powerful offensive units in the conference. Texas does not succeed in holding Smith, but the Horns test the Mountaineers' defense to nab a great win.
The showdown with Oklahoma remains the biggest game of Texas' schedule this season. However removed from their normal selves, the Sooners will still field a solid team when they take to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Momentum in the series has continually shifted, but Texas is looking to get back to the good side of the push and claim the 2012 running of the Red River Rivalry.
The Sooners looked unconvincing in their home loss to Kansas State, so on a neutral field against an improving Texas team, the Longhorns have to like their chances.
A better footing on its running game will help Texas control the tempo of the game, but its defense will have to hold Landry Jones in check.
Prediction: Oklahoma 28, Texas 27
The Longhorns look good in the first half but show some let-up late in the game to allow the Sooners to steal a win.
Without Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright, the Baylor Bears look much different from an offensive standpoint, but head coach Art Briles is no chump when putting together pieces to fit a scheme.
Defense was absent when these two teams met last season, and the same circumstances could come again this year in Austin.
Nick Florence has stepped in with experience and a good command of the offense, but the Bears will have a true test over the weekend when they face West Virginia on the road.
Prediction: Baylor 28, Texas 38
Texas responds with good strength after the Oklahoma game, as usual. The Longhorns have performed exceptionally well after the RRR under Mack Brown, and they show great promise on defense. Offensively, the Bears just cannot stop Texas' ground game.
Texas blanked Kansas at home last season, winning to a tune of 43-0 in a breakout performance from Joe Bergeron. The Jayhawks were not very good last year, and they are not noticeably better in 2012.
The Longhorns will utilize their strong running game and blow through a Kansas team that just looks out of place in the conference.
Prediction: Texas 52, Kansas 10
Defense dominates for Texas, as Kansas awaits the arrival of basketball season.