The Texas Longhorns failed to live up to the hype in 2019, muddling through to an 8-5 record, but hope always springs eternal in Austin for this talented team. The coming season may represent their best opportunity to capture a Big 12 championship in more than a decade. The Longhorns will need to survive a challenging schedule to do.
Here's our ranking of the difficulty of games on Texas' 2020 slate, working from easiest to hardest.
12. Sept. 19 vs. UTEP
Texas gets a September visit from one of the weakest programs on the FBS level: Miners have won a combined two games in the last three years. The Longhorns should cruise into an open date the following week.
11. Sept. 5 vs. USF
At one point, this game was going to provide the return of ex-Texas head coach Charlie Strong to Austin. Strong's dismissal at the end of the 2019 season killed that storyline. With the Bulls adjusting to the Jeff Scott regime, it's hard to see USF putting up much of a fight in the season opener.
10. Nov. 7 at Kansas
Don't tell the Longhorns that Kansas is supposed to be a pushover. A 2016 win over Texas is one of just nine victories for the Jayhawks in the last four seasons. A year ago, Texas needed a game-ending field goal to escape KU's upset bid.
9. Oct. 17 vs. West Virginia
The Mountaineers come to town a week after the Red River game. That sets up Texas for a letdown. Even so, the Longhorns shouldn't have any problem handling a rebounding West Virginia team.
8. Oct. 31 vs. Baylor
Texas will be seeking revenge when it tangles with the Bears on Halloween after getting whipped by Baylor in 2019. In light of the overhaul going on in Waco, the Longhorns should enjoy some payback this fall.
7. Oct. 3 at Kansas State
Will the Wildcats catch the Longhorns looking ahead to their date with Oklahoma? A road trip to Manhattan a week before a big rivalry game will put Texas in a tricky spot. Experienced Kansas State QB Skylar Thompson will look to engineer an upset on his home turf in early October.
6. Nov. 14 vs. TCU
A win over Texas last season constituted one of the few highlights of an otherwise dismal campaign for the Horned Frogs. TCU may take a step forward as a team in 2020, but beating the revenge-minded Longhorns should prove to be a tall order. Nevertheless, TCU head coach Gary Patterson relishes taking down the Lone Star State's flagship program.
5. Oct. 24 at Texas Tech
Tech seems bound to score at least one improbably upset per year; could it be Texas in 2020? The Longhorns know all too well about the weird stuff that can happen in Lubbock. In the second year for the Red Raiders under head coach Matt Wells, things could get even weirder.
4. Nov. 21 vs. Iowa State
Another date on Texas' revenge tour. The Longhorns dropped a heartbreaker in Ames last season, but they usually handle the Cyclones at home. Gutty Iowa State QB Brock Purdy will hope to change his squad's fortunes in Austin.
3. Nov. 27 at Oklahoma State
Texas' season finale in Stillwater may have a spot in the Big 12 title game on the line. The Cowboys and Longhorns have staged some entertaining battles recently, with every game in the last three years being decided by less than a touchdown. Another thriller on Black Friday would be a fun way to end the regular season.
2. Oct. 10 vs. Oklahoma (in Dallas)
Although Oklahoma continues to rack up conference titles, the Sooners' biggest rivals have made a habit of hanging tough when they meet each year in Dallas. Texas has won three times in its last eight meetings with OU, and only one of its losses has come by more than a TD. UT head coach Tom Herman needs a win in this game to secure his status with the Longhorns faithful.
1. Sept. 12 at LSU
The Bayou Bengals will almost certainly take a step back this season after winning a national title last year. Head coach Ed Orgeron still has one of the most talented rosters in the nation, though. Tiger Stadium should be rocking when these non-conference foes square off in week two.
— 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.