After early scheduling storm, some sunshine on horizon for Longhorns

Texas coach Charlie Strong celebrates his first victory against Oklahoma on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl.
Matthew Emmons/Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It was a picturesque day Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, yet the Texas Longhorns could see the storm clouds clearing after their 24-17 upset of Oklahoma.

With Longhorn Nation bracing for a 1-5 record and more negative fallout, Texas turned the tables with an inspired effort that suddenly has the program viewing a path to .500 and beyond with an easing of the strength of schedule despite facing only Big 12 foes.

Texas (2-4 overall, 1-2 Big 12) enters a much-needed bye week and then starts a three-game stretch that could get the Longhorns to 5-4. The start of the run features the stiffest competition with a home game against Kansas State, followed by a road game at Iowa State and then back home against winless Kansas.

Those three teams are a combined 5-10. Of course Bill Snyder’s Wildcats, who shutout Texas last season at Manhattan, are always tough and have already nearly upset Oklahoma State and TCU.

Still, the upcoming three games don’t measure up to the level of competition Texas faced in a frontloaded start against Notre Dame, Rice, Cal, Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma. Those six teams, all of which are ranked except for Rice, are a combined 29-6 with the Owls accounting for half of those losses.

If the Longhorns can run their win streak to four, which would be a high under coach Charlie Strong, they would head into their final three games against West Virginia, Texas Tech and Baylor on the cusp of a bowl berth and with a shot to end the regular season ranked in the top 25.

"The [Oklahoma] win, it’s really big, but we needed that win," Strong told reporters after Saturday’s game. "But just to see that win and just get a jump-start, and now we have six more to go play. So we get us a break and then go play those six."

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