What are the toughest games on the Texas schedule? Ranked from easiest to hardest, here are how important each of the Longhorns’ games are.
How will the Texas Longhorns football program fare this season? It’s a make-or-break year for Charlie Strong and the Longhorns, but just how tough is the schedule going to be?
12. Sept. 10 UTEP
This isn’t that simple for the easiest game on the schedule. UTEP will probably go bowling, and it’s is a sandwich game between Notre Dame and Cal. The Longhorns have to roll through this without a problem.
11. Nov. 19 at Kansas
This would be No. 12 on the list if it wasn’t being played in Lawrence. It’s the last road game of the year for Texas and comes just before the TCU date six days later. The focus has to be there.
10. Oct. 15 Iowa State
Just when it seemed like Texas was about to go on a roll – thud. Iowa State pitched a perfect game in a 24-0 win in Ames last season during its final win of the season. The Longhorns can’t whiff at home.
9. Sept. 17 at California
Cal isn’t going to be nearly as dangerous as it was last year when it pulled off a 45-44 win in Austin, but it’s still a key game for Texas. This one comes after UTEP and before a week off, and it could be a long, LONG few weeks if the team flies back from Berkeley with a loss.
8. Nov. 12 West Virginia
It’s a tough Mountaineer team that came up with a 38-20 win last year in Morgantown. This season, it’s the sandwich game at home between Texas Tech and Kansas. If nothing else, it should be a fun shootout.
7. Nov. 5 at Texas Tech
The Red Raiders won 48-45 in one of the wildest games of the 2015 Big 12 season, but that might have been an anomaly – Texas won six straight in the series after their epic 2008 game. This is really, really dangerous contest for the Longhorns coming off the game against …
6. Oct. 29 Baylor
Just how good is Baylor going to be? Here’s the biggest problem for the Longhorns, besides the still-dangerous Bear offense – BU gets a week off to prepare for the road trip. It was a stunning Texas victory to end last season, and this year the home win is a must before going to Lubbock.
5. Oct. 22 at Kansas State
This could be scary. Kansas State has the defense to potentially keep the Texas ground game in check. The last Longhorn win in Manhattan was 2002, and that includes a 23-0 loss to the Wildcats in 2014.
4. Oct. 1 at Oklahoma State
The toughest true road game of the season, it’s also the Big 12 conference opener coming off a bye week. Oddly enough, the road team has owned this game, with the 2008 Texas win the last time the home team won.
3. Sept. 4 Notre Dame
Yeah, the key Big 12 games matter more, but in terms of momentum, potential and perception, Texas and Charlie Strong have to win this nationally televised primetime showdown. Last year’s 38-3 loss in South Bend set a bad tone – a win could make the start to 2016 season completely different.
2. Nov. 24 TCU
A big, big problem for Texas over the last few years, TCU won the last two games in the series by a combined score of 98-17. The Horned Frogs have won three of the four battles since joining the Big 12.
1. Oct. 8 Oklahoma (in Dallas)
This might seem obvious, but coming off the road game at Oklahoma State, there’s a chance Texas can put a chokehold on the conference title race if it can start out the Big 12 season 2-0. Forget any sort of extra motivation for the Sooners after last year’s loss – there’s no need to worry about either side getting jacked up for this. OU lost and survived last year, but Texas probably can’t think about the Big 12 championship if it loses in Dallas.