2010 was an extremely disappointing season for the Longhorns and coach Mack Brown, in which they finished 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the Big 12.
2011 looks to be more promising though. Although an eight-win season may seem just okay to many, it could be a reality as Texas tries to become elite again in its own state.
With a revamped coaching staff, a legitimate entering freshman class and 14 returning starters, there is definite hope for Texas.
Texas has talent and depth; the Longhorns just need to believe in themselves, shake off a poor previous season and perform to expectations.
Despite having a rough conference schedule this year, the Longhorns will be a surprisingly powerful force in the Big 12.
The Longhorns open the 2011 season against the same team they opened their 2010 season with.
In this game in Houston, they won 34-17 and showed off an impressive running game with Tre’ Newton. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for only 172 yards but showed potential and eventually got into his groove a few games later.
Rice finished 4-8 overall last season and will not cause any problems for the Longhorns as they begin their quest for a better season.
Brigham Young finished a disappointing 7-6 last season after impressive finishes in 2008 and 2009. The Cougars lost four straight and were unable to win against the two ranked teams they played, TCU and Utah.
They are a young and talented team, though, and there is definite promise in returning quarterback Jake Heaps.
Texas, however, is still a powerful team that has a lot to prove this year. Its young but talented defense will be able to help it win its second game.
This game is where Texas first runs into trouble this season.
Last year, it lost to a Bruins team that eventually finished worse than them at 4-8.
Although the Longhorns had more first downs and total yards, they lost the ball five times and lagged behind the Bruins’ time of possession total by over 10 minutes. They did very little right against a team that had been shut out the week before.
And this game was at home in Austin.
This game will be in California, which gives a little bit of home-field advantage to UCLA. However, Texas will be looking for payback and will have better ball-handling skills this time around. The game will undoubtedly be close, but the Longhorns will squeak out a win and stay undefeated.
Iowa State handed Texas its third loss (once again at Austin), winning by just a touchdown. This loss mirrored its UCLA loss. The Longhorns outdid the Cyclones in first downs and total yards but had four turnovers (by Gilbert alone) and lagged behind in time of possession by about six minutes.
Brown blamed his team’s loss on attitude and will not let another one like this get away from him, especially in their first Big 12 game of the year.
Last season, Iowa State had the same final record as Texas (5-7) but actually had one more conference win. However, the loss of senior quarterback and leader Austen Arnaud will impact them significantly in this game, and the Cyclones will lose to a team that will still be on the payback hunt.
Despite losing to then-No. 8 Oklahoma by only eight last season at home, they will unfortunately lose again.
Their first loss will come to a team that will most likely enter into the 2011 season as the top team.
There are a few reasons that may give Texas the edge over Oklahoma, such as the loss of DeMarco Murray, who ran all over the Longhorns last season. The problems are the return of quarterback Landry Jones, the Sooners' powerful offense and 18 other starters.
If Texas wants a legitimate shot at winning the game, it cannot turn the ball over once, nor can Gilbert play like he is less experienced than Jones.
Unfortunately, this Red River Rivalry victory will go to Oklahoma, but Texas will learn some valuable lessons.
The Cowboys handed the Longhorns their fourth loss in a row last year, 33-16.
Led by quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State had more total yards, first downs and clock possession than Texas. Although the Cowboys lose running back Kendall Hunter, they recruited a great class and will improve drastically on defense.
The Cowboys have proven themselves to be atop the Big 12 as of late and will not let Texas stand in their way.
They will be too much for Texas to handle, who will also be down from a loss to Oklahoma. Oklahoma State will hand Texas its second loss of the season, but quite possibly its last as well.
The Bears were another team the Longhorns lost to during their losing streak, 30-22 at home in Austin. Baylor was then ranked 25th but went on to close out its season with four losses, including a bowl loss to Illinois.
In the 2010 game, Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III helped rally them to a victory by throwing for two touchdowns and over 200 yards and rushing for one more score. Griffin will return as dangerous as ever and will have to be stopped if the Longhorns want to win.
Gilbert will be dueling with this redshirt junior and will have to put the past few games behind him in order to come out on top.
Texas will have every opportunity to avenge last season's loss and win this Big 12 battle.
Although Texas did not play the Jayhawks last year, it should have to get an easy victory.
The usually decent Kansas team fell to 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12, with wins over Georgia Tech, New Mexico State and Colorado.
Its off-the-field drama was as much as a story as its poor on-the-field performances, but it actually has something to look forward to in 2011. The Jayhawks' recruiting class is impressive, and second-year coach Turner Gill will look to turn around the troubled ball club he inherited from Mark Mangino.
Although Kansas will be better in 2011 compared to 2010, it will be unable to keep up with a Texas team that has finally found its rhythm.
A win at Texas Tech was Texas' third straight of the season last year, despite sloppy ball-handling and a hostile road environment. Gilbert, who threw three interceptions, was able to keep his demeanor composed and ended up winning by 10.
The Red Raiders have a terrible conference schedule and will be unable to match a more poised and mature Texas team this time around.
The Missouri Tigers are a force to be reckoned with at home. Despite losing quarterback Blaine Gabbert, they will still be a highly powerful team, especially in the Big 12. They return four senior starters and noisemakers T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew.
This will be a very difficult road game for the Longhorns, who have already played some tough road games entering into this one.
Texas and Missouri have developed a bit of a rivalry over the past few seasons, and this game will be an intense one at Missouri. The Tigers will be lacking in quarterback leadership, which can decide close Big 12 games.
The outcome of this game is hard to predict, and if Texas wins, it will be by a late fourth-quarter score.
The Wildcats ran all over the Longhorns last season at home (39-14) as they continued to struggle.
Gilbert was intercepted five times, leading to 17 Kansas State points. In fact, Gilbert was able to complete more passes to Kansas State players than Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein.
Texas won’t be as mistake-prone this year as it was last and will win its final home game of the season comfortably.
The Aggies return 10 offensive starters and eight defensive starters that helped their team beat Oklahoma and Nebraska last year. They also beat Texas in Austin 24-17 thanks to an impressive performance by running back Cyrus Gray.
Gray, who returns for his senior season, also returns with senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who took the helm midway through last season and won six in a row.
Texas A&M is a well-balanced team that will be a serious 2011 BCS contender and will become a top Big 12 team.
Unfortunately, there is a very strong possibility that Texas will lose its last game of the season. If this loss is only the Longhorns' third or fourth, they will already have improved from a terrible 2010 season.