With less than two weeks until the Texas Longhorns begin their 2013 campaign, the excitement is beyond palpable.
Summer and fall camps, as always, has created a seemingly more focused buzz around the program during a season that could have the Longhorns atop the Big 12 by December.
Texas is one of the most experienced teams in the country, and with several teams in the Big 12 bringing in new starting quarterbacks, the advantage should favor the Longhorns in that department.
Is the documented progress over the last eight months a solid indicator of where Texas can go? Is 2013 the year where the Longhorns come full circle?
Check out these game-by-game predictions for the Longhorns' 2013 season.
Prediction: W, 45-10 Texas
As usual, the Longhorns will open the season against a non-threatening opponent in New Mexico State. Obviously, no team is safe from an upset, but Texas will relish the opportunity to shake off the live-game rust against a "cupcake."
The New Mexico State Aggies were one of the statistically worst teams in the FBS in 2012, ranking 117th, 114th and 120th in rushing yards, scoring offense and scoring defense, respectively, while giving up nearly 40 yards per contest.
Recent years suggest the Longhorns will show a few signs of struggle, but with 19 returning starters and an offense that figures to rate among the best in the Big 12, the familiar home blowout victory is in play.
Texas will be able to test everything it wants, while still leaving some of the playbook unused for later.
Prediction: W, 33-18 Texas
What was once a particularly threatening matchup was the early September showdown with BYU in Provo, Utah. But with junior cornerback Jordan Johnson recently suffering an ACL tear, the BYU Cougars' secondary looks much worse off than before.
Make no mistake, head coach Bronco Mendenhall will still field a solid defense, which was ranked third in the country in total defense.
The Longhorns offense will be too much, and the Cougars will have just broken in new pieces at key positions along the defensive line and in the secondary. And with a duo like Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley able to scrape out plenty of yards at receiver, Texas will like its chances there.
Combating the environment will be a task, but Texas' experience may be too thick to penetrate for the entirety of the game.
Prediction: W, 39-29 Texas
Texas posted its season-high mark in points when it threw up 66 points on Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., last season.
The 66-31 win left remarkable talking points on both sides of the football. On offense, mostly good things, but on defense, generally bad instances that lingered on throughout the year.
But just as the Longhorns have improved with a more veteran presence at quarterback, the Rebels will have had their own growth spurt since these two teams last met.
The recent NCAA investigations may become a distraction for Ole Miss, but the Longhorns will want to approach this game with regular focus against a solid SEC opponent.
The Longhorns will have too much speed and tempo for the Rebels to handle fully as Texas completes its non-conference schedule without a loss.
Prediction: W, 27-17 Texas
The Longhorns will host Kansas State to open Big 12 play in late-September, a very different-looking Kansas State, mind you.
The post-Collin Klein Era will be something to watch because you can never underestimate a Bill Snyder-coached team.
It is hard to believe, but the Longhorns are winless against the Wildcats since 2003 and have gone 0-5 against them over the span. This is the year Texas exorcises those demons.
Texas' offense will be in good form by the time Big 12 play begins, and the home-field look will be comfortable enough for the Longhorns to get the victory.
Prediction: W, 31-17 Texas
Iowa State is another Big 12 team looking at a new starting quarterback, and Texas will have a strong advantage when it travels to Ames, Iowa, in October.
In celebration of the late Darrell K Royal, the Longhorns peeled off a convincing 33-7 rout in last season's matchup in Austin, but the road trip will not be without its bumps.
The Cyclones do play much better at home, but with the momentum steadily growing for the Longhorns, they appear to be too much for the Cylcones to handle.
Iowa State did post the 38th-ranked scoring defense last season, a playing chip that will factor hugely in this game with its offense trying to find its feet early in Big 12 play.
Prediction: W, 38-28 Texas
With four games under its belt and nine days to prepare following Iowa State, the Longhorns will head up to Dallas for their annual showdown with Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.
Like most of the other teams in the conference, the Sooners will have broken in their new quarterback by now, but the results may be underwhelming.
Still, with the Longhorns losers of three straight—including two consecutive blowout losses—they cannot be treading lightly with plenty on the line.
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.
Prediction: L, 31-28 TCU
It's midseason, and the Longhorns will have to travel up to Fort Worth to play a TCU team that could be very dangerous.
In the Mack Brown era, the Longhorns' record following the Oklahoma game is quite pristine, but any Gary Patterson-led team is a tough nut to crack.
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.
Quarterback Casey Pachall is slated to return as the starting quarterback after missing the 2012 season due to suspension. Do not be surprised to see Trevone Boykin under center, as well, as the sophomore put in a respectable campaign last season.
Momentum could be just enough for Texas to come away with the win, but it is too hard to discount TCU so easily.
Prediction: W, 52-10 Texas
Kansas, too, is bringing in new quarterback blood. But unlike many of the quarterbacks, the Longhorns will be seeing this season, they will have had recent experience against this one.
Jake Heaps is projected to start under center. Heaps last played in 2011 for a BYU team that lost to the Longhorns in Austin, 17-16, and many of the Texas players will have remembered that victory.
Texas escaped last season in Lawrence with a 21-17 win, hardly the comfortable showing that the Longhorns would expect against the Jayhawks. Quarterback David Ash hit the bench as Texas relied on backup Case McCoy to earn the win.
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.
Prediction: W, 48-28 Texas
The West Virginia Mountaineers will look completely different on offense in 2013.
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 after their departures to the NFL.
With a defense that ranked 117th in scoring, the Mountaineers figure to have a tough season ahead of them in their second year in the Big 12.
West Virginia narrowly escaped with a win last season in Austin, as defense was not one of the stronger points in the game.
But with the Longhorns expecting improvement with a more veteran defense, the added developments on offense should be too much for the Mountaineers to control.
Prediction: W 44-38 Texas
In perhaps the biggest game of the regular season for the Longhorns, they will need to outlast one of the top offenses in the Big 12 and in the country in Oklahoma State.
Running back Joseph Randle is gone for the Cowboys, but he was merely a piece in the Pokes' third-ranked scoring offense that produced almost 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. This matchup could very well determine who winds up as the conference champion.
Defense might be in short supply in this mid-November meeting, but the offenses figure to be out in full force.
Prediction: W, 45-24 Texas
Texas Tech plays its last game of the season against the Longhorns when they meet up on Thanksgiving night.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury, a former passing legend for the Red Raiders, will be in his first year at his alma mater. But after quarterbacking a big offense at Tech and coaching another at Texas A&M, Kingsbury is more than capable of throwing together a good offense.
Texas will be high-spirited after a win over Oklahoma State, so the letdown could be on.
But after a slow first half, the Longhorns' experienced and talented offense will be too much for the Red Raiders to stop on defense, which is not exactly their go-to strength.
Prediction: W, 52-38 Texas
Offense will win the day in this game as Texas draws a very intriguing matchup to close out the regular 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.
Texas posted a 56-50 shootout victory in Austin last season, and with Briles' apparent plug-and-play offensive system, the same offensive performance is expected.
This could be a trap game for the Longhorns, but with a Big 12 title likely theirs with a win in Waco, the emphasis on finishing strong could never be more applicable, and Texas' veteran team will finish the job.