Texas Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
The summer months are just around the corner, and that means the season is inching ever so closer.
The Texas Longhorns have many cards in their favor when it comes to piecing together a BCS-caliber season, much less a run at the Big 12 title.
With so many Big 12 teams ushering in new quarterbacks and new playmakers, the Longhorns return nine starters on either side of the football, placing some hefty expectations for a team that has shown improvement over the past two seasons.
Is 2013 the year where Texas returns to glory?
Here are the game-by-game predictions for the 'Horns' 2013 schedule.
New Mexico State, Aug. 31
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Prediction: W 42-10 Texas
The Longhorns will host New Mexico State in their season opener, one that figures to be a nice warm-up to showcase the progress made in Major Applewhite's spread offense.
The Aggies were one of the worst statistical teams in the FBS last season, ranking 117th, 114th and 120th in rushing yards, scoring offense and scoring defense, respectively. Notably, their defense gave up almost 40 points per game in 2012.
Texas has had a few struggles of sorts in recent season openers, and it will be looking to get off the schneid early after some big defensive shortcomings a year ago. A telling win over New Mexico State can put the 'Horns on the right track to big things.
At BYU, Sept. 7
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Prediction: W 33-24 Texas
A lot has changed since the Longhorns and Cougars met in Austin in 2011. David Ash was one of three Texas quarterbacks to take a snap in that game, and Cody Johnson rushed for two touchdowns in a 17-16 win.
Apart from fielding the FBS' third-best scoring defense last season, BYU was just about average everywhere else, ranking 50th in passing yards, 66th in rushing yards and 65th in scoring offense.
The Cougars won five of their six home games last season, with their single loss coming in a 42-24 defeat to Oregon State, the same Beavers team that Texas overwhelmed in the second half of the Alamo Bowl.
BYU will be breaking in a new starting quarterback, but the Cougars have more to overcome on defense after the departure of DE Ezekiel Ansah.
Ole Miss, Sept. 14
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Prediction: W 42-39 Texas
Via a 66-31 rolling of Ole Miss in Oxford last season, the Longhorns posted their season high in points. A similar showing of offense is expected in the 2013 matchup in Austin.
Just as Texas figures to be improved, the Rebels have to expect similar progress after returning a number of key playmakers, including quarterback Bo Wallace, running back Jeff Scott and receiver Donte Moncrief.
Defensively, neither team was hardly praiseworthy, and the same might be said of their Sept. 14 clash.
Many might expect a high-scoring, blowout victory given the circumstances of their 2012 meeting. But a seemingly much-improved Ole Miss team figures to be effective against a still questionable Texas defense.
Kansas State, Sept. 21
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Prediction: W 27-17 Texas
The Longhorns open Big 12 play against what will be a different-looking Kansas State team.
No Collin Klein at quarterback presents an interesting challenge for an offense that had plenty of its production channeled through him. The Wildcats do return running back John Hubert, a welcomed piece to a strong, physical ground game.
Despite the significant loss of Klein, it is always hard to ignore a Bill Snyder team, especially one that fields such an impactful defense.
Texas gets a break of sorts by hosting Kansas State, but the Wildcats have undoubtedly had Texas' number of late. The 'Horns have not beaten KSU since 2003 and are 0-5 during that span.
At Iowa State, Oct. 3
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Prediction: W 31-17 Texas
Iowa State is another of several Big 12 teams replacing its quarterback, and the Longhorns will definitely have the upper hand when they square off in Ames in early October.
Texas peeled off a 33-7 stomping in last season's meeting, but a road game against the Cyclones will not come as easy as many would like to think.
The Cyclones did post the 38th-ranked scoring defense last season, a playing chip that will factor hugely in this game with their offense trying to find its feet early in Big 12 play.
Oklahoma, Oct. 12 (in Dallas)
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Prediction: W 38-31 Texas
The Longhorns continue their winning streak into the Red River Rivalry, where they will finally get the better of a Sooners team undergoing some big changes on offense.
No more Landry Jones at quarterback, and no more Kenny Stills and Justin Brown at wide receiver. Those departures may be just enough for the Longhorns to snap their three-game losing streak to Oklahoma.
Losing to the Sooners for the fourth year running is catastrophic, and Mack Brown knows this much. But the cards seemed to be playing in Texas' favor this season given the small amount of turnover in comparison to the rest of the conference.
It will be a gritty matchup, as always, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, but the Longhorns simply have less uncertainties in their personnel at this point.
At TCU, Oct. 26
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Prediction: L 31-28 TCU
In the Mack Brown era, the Longhorns' record following the Oklahoma game is quite pristine. But in an intriguing road game in Fort Worth, Texas will be primed for a letdown against TCU.
The Horned Frogs got the best of the 'Horns on Thanksgiving night last year, posting a 20-13 triumph in Austin to spoil a potential late-season run of things for Texas.
TCU does return quarterback Casey Pachall, but it does have a fantastic option to play with in Trevone Boykin, who impressed thoroughly in his freshman season in Pachall's absence.
Defense will likely play the biggest factor in this game, but TCU will get the pieces to fall in its favor as it halts Texas' winning streak late in October.
Kansas, Nov. 2
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Prediction: W 52-10 Texas
The Longhorns respond to their loss at TCU with a huge showing against the Big 12's cellar-occupant Kansas.
Texas escaped last season in Lawrence with a 21-17 win, hardly the comfortable showing that the Longhorns would expect against the Jayhawks.
Kansas has not won a Big 12 game since beating Colorado back in 2010, and the Longhorns will have a great opportunity to rekindle their offensive fire with a momentum-building victory early in November.
At West Virginia, Nov. 9
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Prediction: W 48-28 Texas
West Virginia loses way too many pieces to be as competitive as it was in 2012. Quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey offered up so much in terms of production, but replacing those numbers will be hard to come by this year.
Combined with a defense that ranked 117th in scoring, the Mountaineers will have a tough season ahead of them.
Behind Smith's exploits a year ago, West Virginia snatched a victory in Austin. This year, Texas will go to Morgantown with the intention of stealing one right back on its quest to claim a Big 12 championship.
Coming off a big win over Kansas, the stage is set for another strong offensive showing against one of the country's worst defenses.
Oklahoma State, Nov. 16
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Prediction: L 44-38 Oklahoma State
Texas' second loss of the season comes against one of the FBS' top offenses in Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys do lose running back Joseph Randle, but he was merely a piece in what was the Pokes' third-ranked scoring offense, a unit that produced nearly 46 points per game.
Mike Gundy's team appears to be one of the early favorites to win the Big 12 in 2013, along with Texas, and a win in Austin could easily go a long way in determining the conference champion.
Defense might be in short supply in this mid-November meeting, but the offenses figure to be out in full force.
Texas Tech, Nov. 28
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Prediction: W 38-27 Texas
Texas Tech's final game of its season comes against the Longhorns when they meet in late November.
By this point in the season, the Red Raiders could again be boasting one of the nation's top passing offenses, but we just do not know at this point. Much of their season could ride on the progression of their next quarterback in Michael Brewer, who follows Seth Doege as another potential gunslinger in the spread offense of all spread offenses.
The Longhorns could be in a position that would require them to win out if they are to realize a Big 12 title, and a defensively poor Texas Tech team likely will not stop them when it comes to Austin.
At Baylor, Dec. 7
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Prediction: W 52-38 Texas
Texas draws an intriguing matchup to close out the season.
Under Art Briles, Baylor has consistently posted great offensive numbers at the expense of ugly defensive results. But in the Big 12, where points are hardly few and far between, that recipe has spelled some success for the Bears.
The Longhorns claimed victory in a 56-50 shootout in Austin a year ago, and under a new quarterback regime in Waco, a similar offensive outpouring is expected.
Offense will be the flavor of the day in this early December entanglement, but the Longhorns offense will have too much to say against a Baylor defense that ranked 113th in the FBS last season.