Texas Football: Ranking the Toughest Games on the Longhorns' Schedule

Texas faces some rough road trips in the Big 12 this fall

The Texas Longhorns have become a chic pick to make the College Football Playoff this year after winning 10 games in 2018. This season's schedule doesn’t do the 'Horns many favors, though.

 

There's the annual showdown in Dallas with the Oklahoma Sooners of course, and a date with the LSU Tigers in one of the biggest non-conference games in all of college football in 2019. UT also is looking at some dangerous road trips on the Big 12 slate.

 

Here’s an analysis of the Longhorns' 2019 schedule, with the 12 games ranked from least to most difficult.

 

12. Sept. 21 vs. Rice (Houston)

Rice fielded one of the worst teams in the country in 2018, finishing the season with a 2-10 record. It made for an ugly debut season for new head coach Mike Bloomgren, and the Owls didn't give anyone reason to think the 2019 campaign would go any better.

 

UT plays LSU the week before this game, so Rice may catch the Horns in a flat spot. That may matter to the final margin, but not to the final outcome. Texas should cruise.

 

11. Oct. 19 vs. Kansas

On the plus side for the Jayhawks, UT plays Oklahoma the week before KU travels to Austin. That increases the odds of a UT letdown. It would take a massive one of those for KU to win this game.

 

The Jayhawks have stunned the Horns before, but that’s a tall order this season.

 

10. Aug. 31 vs. Louisiana Tech

Texas isn’t exactly easing into the season — the Bulldogs went 8-5 in 2018 and bring back an experienced team this year. That includes dangerous wide receiver Adrian Hardy, who caught 75 passes for 1,145 yards and six touchdowns a season ago. That’s not how Texas head coach Tom Herman wants to start the season given his defense has so many new faces on it.

 

The visiting team could give the Horns some problems if they’re looking ahead to week two.

 

9. Nov. 9 vs. Kansas State

The Wildcats put a scare into the Longhorns last season in Manhattan. Texas squeezed out a 19-14 victory, the third straight game in the series decided by less than a touchdown.

 

Legendary KSU head coach Bill Snyder long befuddled the Horns. Successor Chris Klieman will try to replicate Snyder's success versus UT. Chances are he won’t get off to a strong start.

 

8. Oct. 5 at West Virginia

When these two teams squared off last year, the Mountaineers’ showboating and flagrant parodying of the “Hook ‘em Horns” hand signal had emotions running high on the Texas sideline. WVU scorched UT for nearly 600 total yards of offense, absconding from DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium with a one-point victory sealed by quarterback Will Grier scamper into the end zone on a two-point conversion.

 

The Longhorns get a chance to return the favor this year and will enjoy a week off before traveling to Morgantown. New head coach Neal Brown could find himself on the business end of payback for Dana Holgorsen’s bravado.

 

7. Nov. 29 vs. Texas Tech

The Horns close out the regular season on Black Friday versus the Red Raiders. If things go according to plan, they will have the Big 12 Championship Game on deck a week later.

 

If Tech can keep QB Alan Bowman healthy all year, it may have a puncher’s chance at the upset here.

 

6. Sept. 21 vs. Oklahoma State

OSU pulled out a 38-35 victory over Texas last year in one of UT QB Sam Ehlinger’s most ineffective performances of the season. The star signal-caller was outdueled by wily Cowboy veteran Taylor Cornelius, who completed 23 of his 34 pass attempts for 321 yards and three scores.

 

Ehlinger will get his shot to make amends this fall in the Longhorns’ Big 12 opener. The timing should work well for UT as OSU head coach Mike Gundy breaks in Cornelius’ replacement.

 

5. Nov. 23 at Baylor

The Bears knocked Sam Ehlinger out of last year’s meeting between these two teams, leaving Shane Buechele to pilot UT to victory. It resulted in a 23-17 win for Texas that ended with Baylor gunning for the Longhorns’ end zone.

 

This year, UT will travel to Waco on the tail end of back-to-back road games. If Baylor continues its rebound in head coach Matt Rhule’s third year, this matchup has upset potential.

 

4. Nov. 16 at Iowa State

The Cyclones are generating buzz this offseason as a potential challenger for the Big 12 crown. They will have a chance to show why in this matchup with the Longhorns.

 

Texas stymied the ISU offense last season in a game that saw the Clones manufacture all of 10 points. The Horns allowed just 3.6 yards per play in the game, representing the defense’s best performance of the year. Another outing like that means Texas will probably head back to Austin with a W.

 

3. Oct. 26 at TCU

TCU head coach Gary Patterson loves to mess with Texas. Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, the Horned Frogs have won five of seven games versus the Longhorns. Four of the five victories have come by at least 17 points.

 

UT turned the tables a year ago, pounding the Frogs, 31-16. That will have Patterson and his team itching to get back to their winning ways this year.

 

2. Sept. 7 vs. LSU

You won't find much bigger non-conference tilts this year than LSU visiting the Longhorns in week two. Aside from the fact they're two of the highest-profile programs in college football, both end up sparring on the recruiting trail every year. They get a chance to do battle on the field for a change this season. The game has the makings of a good one.

 

Rumors of the Tigers' offensive overhaul abound for approximately the 47th year in a row. There's reason to believe they might be legitimate this season, however, and LSU will still have its usual crop of studs on defense.

 

A win by Texas in this game would lend credence to all the hype surrounding the Horns heading into the season.

 

1. Oct. 12 vs. Oklahoma (Dallas)

Oddsmakers have installed the Sooners as 6.5-point favorites in this year's edition of their yearly bloodbath with the Horns. If you've been paying attention to this series lately, though, Texas has brought the fight to OU; UT's upset win in the Cotton Bowl in '18 wasn’t a fluke.

 

OU stole back some of its pride by beating the Longhorns in last season's Big 12 title game. We may see these two teams running it back again in December this season.

 

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.

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