Texas Football: 4 Trap Games for the Longhorns in 2013
The Texas Longhorns are favored in all but one game this season as they go for a Big 12 title. For that goal to be realized, taking every opponent seriously is a must.
Looking at the Longhorns' schedule, there are obvious must-haves for a conference title to happen. The Oklahoma matchup is a given, vengeance must be had over TCU and closing out the final four matchups is necessary to stay in the BCS discussion.
But that does not mean the other six regular season games take on any less importance.
Hidden in every schedule are the trap games, each with the potential to derail a once-promising season if not taken seriously.
Just one game in, the Longhorns have already provided a disturbing narrative for such games. They started the game woefully slow on offense before reeling off eight unanswered touchdowns to beat New Mexico State 56-7.
With two more easily ignored opponents just around the corner, will Texas' slow start prove to be the result of simply shaking off the rust? Or will these trap games, rather the big ones, be the object of remorse come December?
Regardless of the outcome, these are the hidden land mines in Texas' schedule.
9/7 @ BYU
With unranked Ole Miss looming, the Longhorns' matchup with the similarly unranked Cougars is not the dictionary definition of a trap game. They have a tough defense and is is an even tougher road environment, we will count it.
This is a game that David Ash and the offense cannot afford to start so slow.
All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy leads a stout defense that will have a rabid fan base urging them on. Committing another three turnovers on its first five drives would be fatal against the Cougars.
This game also provides the first real test for Texas' run defense. The 'Horns will not find sophomore Jamaal Williams as easy to get on the ground as his counterparts at New Mexico State.
9/14 vs. Ole Miss
The Ole Miss Rebels may be unranked, but they have one well-rounded offense. In their final non-conference game, the Longhorns must stay focused on the task at hand.
This could turn into a shootout if Texas lets it.
The Rebels have some real offensive talent in dual-threat quarterback Bo Wallace, wide receiver Donte Moncrief and tailback Jeff Scott. But the 'Horns should know that from last season's matchup in which the latter two put up 239 yards of offense between them.
The Longhorns' main goal of the offseason was to turn around a defense that allowed over 400 yards per game last season. They can prove they have done that by putting away this dangerous team early.
10/3 @ Iowa State
With season-deciding matchups with Oklahoma and TCU on the other side, the Longhorns' matchup with Iowa is truly scary.
Especially given the Cyclones' recent penchant for the upset.
On paper, this is a game that the Longhorns should run away with. The Cyclones do not defend or score particularly well, and were outmatched in last season's 33-7 blowout in Austin.
But somehow the Cyclones are able to pull off wins like this.
Last season they knocked off TCU on the road, held Baylor in check for a 14-point home victory and almost stole one from Kansas State. In 2011, they knocked off a ranked Texas Tech and beat then-No. 2 Oklahoma State in double overtime.
The tilts with Oklahoma and TCU are arguably the two biggest games of Texas' season. But if they do not take the Cyclones seriously, those two games could prove to be the least of its problems.
11/2 vs. Kansas
Kansas is the trap game that almost got the Longhorns last year. This season it has the same look about it with the four of the conference's best offenses immediately following.
The Jayhawks, like the aforementioned Cyclones, have no business contending with Texas. They do not have the athletes to keep up with Texas, and have not been competitive with any team of real significance since 2008.
Yet it took the 'Horns a game-winning drive to knock them off last season. Texas looked past them last year and it got close to costing them. Will it happen again this time around?