Texas tripped its way to a 7-6 finish in 2017, hindered in no small part by a grueling schedule. In addition to the Big 12’s round-robin schedule, the Longhorns played two Power 5 conference teams, Maryland and USC, outside of league play.
This year’s slate looks a little lighter for Tom Herman's team with the Trojans making the trip to the Lone Star State. Texas also has the luxury of playing some of its toughest conference games at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. In what appears to be a wide-open Big 12 race, that could turn out to be a major advantage.
The early half of Texas’ 2018 schedule features a few potential slobberknockers. Get through those, however, and the Longhorns may be able to coast to the finish line.
Texas Longhorns 2018 Schedule
Bye: Week 8
Week 1 – Sept. 1 vs. Maryland (FedEx Field - Landover, Md.)
The Terrapins put a beating on UT last season in a 51-41 game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. The Longhorns will be looking for revenge in the season opener when they travel to Washington, D.C.
Week 2 – Sept. 8 vs. Tulsa (Austin, Texas)
Tulsa visits Austin in week two for UT’s home opener. The Golden Hurricane’s Baylor-style offense will make for a nice tune-up for Big 12 play.
Week 3 – Sept. 15 vs. USC (Austin, Texas)
The Trojans and ‘Horns staged a thriller at the L.A. Coliseum in 2017, which USC captured in double overtime. A stellar showing from the Texas defense kept the team in the game against star quarterback Sam Darnold and the USC offense. With Darnold gone to the NFL, it might not require such a heroic effort to pull out a win this time around.
Week 4 – Sept. 22 vs. TCU (Austin, Texas)
No time for a letdown after the USC game. TCU head coach Gary Patterson clearly relishes pouring it on the Longhorns. The Horned Frogs have won their last four meetings with Texas by an average of 30 points per game. Keeping the final margin of defeat within 17 points in ‘17 had to feel like a win afterwards in the UT locker room. UT will try to reverse the trend this year.
Week 5 – Sept. 29 at Kansas State (Manhattan, Kan.)
UT gutted out an overtime win over the Wildcats last year in Austin. Historically, however, beating KSU in Manhattan has been a major hurdle for UT. The ‘Horns haven’t won on the Wildcats’ home turf since 2002.
Week 6 – Oct. 6 vs. Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl - Dallas)
A brutal four-game swing ends for Texas with the annual showdown versus the Sooners. UT has made a habit lately of playing OU tough, much like last season’s 29-24 loss to the team from north of the Red River. Moral victories won’t suffice if the Longhorns want to get back to the top of the Big 12.
Week 7 – Oct. 13 vs. Baylor (Austin, Texas)
The conference schedule-makers gave UT a break in the week after the Red River Showdown as the beleaguered Bears travel to DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. Second-year head coach Matt Rhule might have a surprise in store for the ‘Horns, though.
Week 9 – Oct. 27 at Oklahoma State (Stillwater, Okla.)
Following a needed bye week, Texas heads to Stillwater for a date with the Cowboys. Luckily for the Longhorns, they’re visiting OSU in what appears to be a rebuilding year for head coach Mike Gundy.
Week 10 – Nov. 3 vs. West Virginia (Austin, Texas)
The Mountaineers and ‘Horns should enter the 2018 season as two of the favorites to capture the Big 12 crown. Maybe their Nov. 3 tilt will turn out to be a preview of the Big 12 title game.
Week 11 – Nov. 10 at Texas Tech (Lubbock, Texas)
Beating Texas on Thanksgiving weekend last season likely saved the skin of Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury. He might be facing another must-win scenario this year when the Longhorns come to Lubbock.
Week 12 – Nov. 17 vs. Iowa State (Austin, Texas)
The Cyclones tend to give Texas fits. Herman will gladly take a win here, no matter the margin of victory.
Week 13 – Nov. 23 at Kansas (Lawrence, Kan.)
In last season’s 42-27 win versus the Jayhawks, UT took out some of the frustrations accumulated from listening to 12 months of jokes about losing to KU in 2016. The Longhorns will look to avoid another nightmare in Lawrence this time around.
— 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.