Texas vs. Baylor: Why Longhorns Need To Win to Save Season

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 20, 2012

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 06:  David Ash #14 of the Texas Longhorns celebrates a touchdown against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Texas Longhorns are at a crossroads.

That's because going into their game against Baylor on Saturday night, No. 25 Texas cannot afford to drop a third straight game, especially against a Big 12 opponent.

The Longhorns are in this position because last week's lopsided 63-21 loss to Oklahoma was a devastating blow, and now Texas is in dire need of a win.

The loss to the Sooners all but ended Texas' hopes of finishing the season in the top 10, as the Longhorns went into the game ranked 15th, despite falling to West Virginia 48-45 the previous week.

In order to avoid a third straight loss, the Longhorns will need David Ash to be much better than he was against Oklahoma, as the sophomore quarterback tossed two picks and fumbled in the loss. Until recently, it was unclear whether he'd be able to play against the Bears, which would've been a crushing blow, as ESPN's Carter Strickland pointed out:

The best opportunity to win rests with Ash. Baylor, given its offense and Texas’ defense, is going to score points. While Texas did prove it could score with Case McCoy that was against two drives in the waning moments of a blowout. Ash, save for a fourth-quarter drive against West Virginia and the OU game, has consistently proven he can direct the offense to the end zone through both the intermediate passing game and the deep ball.

With Ash on the field, Texas will have a much better chance of out-gunning Baylor's offense, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation going into tonight's game.

If Texas can win, the Longhorns will remain in the top 25, but more importantly, they'll regain some of the momentum they lost after dropping two straight.

Looking ahead, Texas' schedule only gets harder from here, as Baylor and Kansas are their only remaining unranked opponents, as the Longhorns finish the season with games against No. 17 Texas Tech, No. 24 Iowa State, No. 23 TCU and No. 4 Kansas State.

With a loss, Texas could conceivably end the season on an eight-game losing skid, which, needless to say, would be an overwhelmingly disappointing outcome for a team that began the year 4-0.

Ash and the rest of the Longhorns' season is on the line tonight, as the outcome of the Baylor game could ultimately determine whether this season will be regarded as a failure.