Big 12 schedule breakdown: Texas Longhorns

By Louis Ojeda Jr.

The Longhorns took a step forward after their first losing season under head coach Mack Brown, but 8-5 in 2011 is still unacceptable in the eyes of Texas fans.

It’s a new era in the Big 12 and the first season for Texas since 1914 without Texas A&M on the schedule. The long-time in-state rival may be gone, but the Red River Rivalry with Oklahoma in Dallas is still alive and well.

Newcomers West Virginia and TCU will make the trip to Austin and the Horned Frogs fill the Thanksgiving weekend void left by the Aggies.

With a new contract extension and a top-ranked recruiting class, Brown is in it for the long haul in working to bring another national championship back to Texas.

Sept. 1 – Wyoming

Despite having its first eight-win season in 14 years, Wyoming finished 115th in the nation against the run in 2011. That doesn’t bode well against a stable of talented Texas running backs. The two teams met in 2009 and 2010 with the Longhorns winning by a combined score of 75-17.

Sept 8 – New Mexico

New head coach Bob Davie will try to breathe new life into the New Mexico program after the disastrous Mike Locksley era. But rebuilding will take time and the Lobos likely won’t be ready for their first of back-to-back games against Big 12 opponents.

Sept. 15 – @ Mississippi

Texas plays its first SEC opponent since the 2010 BCS National Championship game. But don’t expect to see the kind of defense the league is known for from Ole Miss. The Rebels were one of the worst teams in the nation on both sides of the ball and went winless in SEC play last season. New head coach Hugh Freeze will try to turn things around in Oxford. The Longhorns won the last meeting in the 1966 Bluebonnet Bowl.

Sept. 29 – @ Oklahoma State

Texas has dropped the last two to Oklahoma State after a dominating 12-game win streak over the Cowboys. The Weeden-Blackmon era is over, but it hasn’t been easy for anyone to win in Stillwater lately and head coach Mike Gundy has built the program into a national contender.

Oct. 6 – West Virginia

Mack Brown has seen Dana Holgorsen’s high-powered offense before when the West Virginia coach was offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Texas won’t get caught looking ahead to Oklahoma, as this one may be a bigger Big 12 showdown.

Oct. 13 – vs. Oklahoma (in Dallas)

What was supposed to be Texas’ statement game on the big stage last season turned out to be a nightmare in Dallas. Oklahoma QB Landry Jones is back for his senior season after he picked apart the Longhorn defense in a 55-17 laugher. As always, the Red River Rivalry will be the measuring stick for Texas this season.

Oct. 20 – Baylor

Who would have ever thought Baylor could have a two-game win streak over the mighty Longhorns? The Bears will still be a competitive team without Robert Griffin III, but don’t expect their dominance over Texas to continue.

Oct. 27 – @ Kansas

It’s a second chance for Charlie Weis to prove he can run a FBS program where the expectations are certainly much lower than at Notre Dame. It was a defensive performance to remember for Texas last season as the Longhorns held the Jayhawks to three first downs and 46 total yards in a 43-0 rout.

Nov. 3 – @ Texas Tech

Another year and another new defense at Texas Tech after finishing at or near the bottom in almost every category last season. Playing in Lubbock is always tough, but the Longhorns have won three of the last four on the South Plains.  

Nov. 10 – Iowa State

Remember the last time the Cyclones came to Austin in 2010? Mack Brown sure does after suffering arguably his most embarrassing loss at Texas. The Longhorns took care of business last year in Ames, but Iowa State has proven it can pull off a big upset every year.

Nov. 24 – TCU

Nothing will replace the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry, but the Longhorns’ Thanksgiving weekend matchup with TCU will be one you won’t want to miss. Texas won the last meeting with the Horned Frogs in Austin 34-13 in 2007.

Dec. 1 – @ Kansas State

Kansas State has won four straight against Texas and is the only Big 12 opponent the Longhorns have a losing record against (5-7). Bill Snyder continues to work his magic in turning K-State into a national contender and Texas could be in jeopardy of losing its regular season finale for the third-straight year.