Texas’ schedule in 2013 lines up very favorably for a run to glory.
Though not a “cakewalk” affair by any stretch of the imagination, the nonconference foes and home vs. away games line up as well as could be hoped for making a run at perfection well within the realm of possibility.
Plus, Texas gets three bye weeks to keep the team healthy, happy and well-rested as the season rolls along.
Let’s take a look, keeping mind the other elements we’ve discussed up until this point.
Week 1: vs. New Mexico State: It’s really impossible to imagine the Longhorns dropping this game.
Week 2: at BYU: Though BYU won eight games in 2012, it returns only five starters to the defense that drove the bus last season. The Cougars D ranked No. 3 in scoring vs. their offense that ranked No. 65 in points. This will be a good early test for Texas, but it ought to be able to handle BYU.
Week 3: vs. Ole Miss: The Longhorns' only nonconference game against a BCS team, Texas’ talent level and the fact that this game is played at home should give the Longhorns the edge against the Rebels. With 18 starters back in 2013, Ole Miss might be the trickiest early game on the schedule.
Week 4: vs. Kansas State: Texas gets K-State at home in Austin and gone are QB Collin Klein and all but one Wildcat starter on defense. This is a much better year to face Bill Snyder’s squad.
Week 6: at Iowa State: After a bye in Week 5, Texas travels to Iowa State for the first of its four Big 12 road games in 2013. Though the Cyclones will no doubt put up a good fight, the Longhorns have never lost a game in Ames, Iowa.
Week 7: vs. Oklahoma in Dallas, Texas: The game that often decides who will win the conference crown, the Longhorn’s bid to knock off the Sooners for the first time since 2009 might be the toughest test on the entire slate. What could help is the fact that Oklahoma won’t have an experienced QB and that it returns just 11 starters total, which gives it the No. 98 ranking overall. If Mack Brown is going to beat Stoops again, this is the year to do it.
Week 9: at TCU: After a well-placed bye in Week 8, Texas travels up to Ft. Worth to take on Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs. Though TCU will play wicked-good defense with nine-returning starters in 2013, it may struggle to score enough points to beat the revenge-minded ‘Horns. Though this is a road game, there will be as many Texas fans at the game as there are TCU enthusiasts.
Week 10: vs. Kansas: Even if Kansas makes drastic improvements in Charlie Weis’ second year (with only 11 returning starters) it’s difficult to imagine that the Jayhawks will upset the Longhorns in Austin for the first time in history. The last time Kansas beat Texas was in Lawrence in 1938.
Week 11: at West Virginia: Though it will no doubt be exciting to see the Longhorns pack their bags and travel to West Virginia to play the Mountaineers in Morgantown for the first time in history, the game itself shouldn’t be anywhere near as compelling as last year’s contest. The storyline here is simple, West Virginia returns nine total starters in 2013 (only three on offense), which earns it the No. 117 ranking nationally.
Week 12: vs. Oklahoma State: Another scheduling perk, the Longhorns get Oklahoma State at home in Austin in 2013. After posting an eight-win season as a young team in 2012, the Cowboys might pose as big of a threat to Texas in terms of vying for a league title as Oklahoma and getting them at home certainly won’t hurt.
Week 14: vs. Texas Tech: The Thanksgiving Day game that was once the big showdown vs. Texas A&M, the Longhorns will square off with the new-look Red Raiders on Turkey Day in Week 14 after taking Week 13 off. Regardless of how Tech actually looks under Kliff Kingsbury, Texas has been wicked good against the Red Raiders at home and last succumbed to Texas Tech in Austin in 1997.
Week 15: at Baylor: Texas’ finale involves a road trip to Baylor, which though improved from an atmospheric standpoint still isn’t Kyle Field or even Jones Stadium from a “tough-to-visit” perspective. Plus, for 2013 the Bears lose almost their entire offense leaving just a defense that ranked No. 113 nationally in scoring last season.