Practice has begun. The season opener is on the horizon. Football is back.
To preview Texas’ impending season, we’re spending part of August by asking 20 burning questions in 20 days.
Today’s question, which will be handled by AA-S columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden:
No. 20: What will Texas’ record be this season?
BOHLS: TEXAS WILL GO 7-5.
“It’s virtually impossible to project, given all the dismissals, suspensions and uncertain health of the quarterback, but I’d put down Texas for a 7-5 record today. I assume Charlie Strong’s defensive bent and a strong running game will keep the Longhorns in most games against normal offensive teams (not Baylor or Oklahoma), but I worry mightily about the passing and kicking game.
“I see wins over North Texas, BYU, Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU — five of those are at home — and I’m counting on another victory against either Kansas State or Texas Tech.
“I see a window of five to eight wins, assuming there are no major injuries.”
GOLDEN: TEXAS WILL GO 7-5.
“If you asked me this question one month ago, I would have felt good saying Texas would win eight-plus games, but amid all the roster turnover and off-the-field troubles we’ve witnessed over the last few weeks, including the suspensions of two wideouts whom I doubt will be back on campus, the picture isn’t so clear.
“Given Chuck Strong’s past record and his well-earned reputation for putting great defensive teams on the field, I’m picking the Horns to go 7-5 with the possibility of getting to eight with a bowl win.
“In most seasons, the non-conference schedule would be the last thing Texas fans would worry about, but when you’re looking at three opponents in North Texas, BYU and UCLA that combined to go 27-12 added to those question marks created by the dismissals of several players, there’s a major cause for concern, especially if the Horns stumble out of the gate.”
Here’s a look at Texas’ 2014 schedule, which we’ll go into greater detail later this month:
Aug. 30: Texas vs. North Texas. 7 p.m. kickoff at DKR, on the Longhorn Network. The Horns are 9-0 all-time vs. UNT, and have won their last three meetings (2002, 2004 and 2006) by a combined score of 148-7. Last time: Texas, 56-7 (2006)
Sept. 6: Texas vs. BYU. 6:30 p.m. kickoff at DKR, on Fox Sports 1. History’s not good here. Texas is 1-3 all-time vs. BYU, and — Quick! Name the only Texas quarterback to start against BYU in a game the Longhorns won? Answer: Garrett Gilbert. That happened back in 2011, though Case McCoy and Davis Ash played too. Last time: BYU, 40-21 (last year)
Sept. 13: Texas vs. UCLA. 7 p.m. kickoff, Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, on Fox. This’ll be Texas’ first big test — UCLA will be a Top 10 team. The Horns are 3-3 all-time vs. the Bruins, but have lost three of the last four. Last time: Texas, 49-20 (2011)
Sept. 27: Texas at Kansas. In Lawrence. Should be considered a relatively easy W — right? Texas leads the series 11-2, with the last Jayhawks win coming in 1908. That includes an 11-0 streak as Big 12 programs. Ahh, but don’t forget the 21-17 win of 2012, when it took a McCoy touchdown to D.J. Grant with 12 seconds left to survive. And that was the last time Texas visited Lawrence. Last time: Texas, 35-13 (last year)
Oct. 4: Texas vs. Baylor. At DKR. Is Baylor for real as a big-time program within the state and the Big 12, or was 2012’s conference title a blip on the bigger screen? Texas is 1-3 against Baylor over the past four years. At DKR, the Longhorns have fared better — 4-1 over their last five meetings there. Last time: Baylor, 30-10 (last year)
Oct. 11: Texas vs. Oklahoma. At the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. OU’s the preseason pick to win the Big 12. This was Texas’ biggest win of 2013. Plenty of storylines here, as always. Last time: Texas, 36-20 (last year)
Oct. 18: Texas vs. Iowa State. 7 p.m. kickoff at DKR, on the Longhorn Network. This series has pretty much been all Texas, though there have been moments. That includes last year, a controversial 1-point Longhorns win in Ames that wasn’t secured until the final play. Still, Texas is 10-1 all-time vs. ISU. Last time: Texas, 31-30 (last year)
Oct. 25: Texas at Kansas State. In Manhattan. History says prepare for a struggle — Texas traditionally does in Manhattan. Kansas State leads the all-time series 8-6, and had won its last five meetings with Texas before last year’s loss at Royal-Memorial Stadium. That game, incidentally, was Ash’s final game of 2013. He started, but didn’t return from halftime. Last time: Texas, 31-21 (last year)
Nov. 1: Texas at Texas Tech. In Lubbock. Texas has won 13 of the last 15 meetings with Tech, though one of those Ls was huge — the 2008 last-minute loss in Lubbock that ended up costing the Longhorns the chance to play for the Big 12 championship and a possible berth in the national championship game. Since that night, Texas has won the past two games in Lubbock. Last time: Texas, 41-16 (last year)
Nov. 8: Texas vs. West Virginia. At DKR. This will be only the fourth time these two have met, the third as Big 12 programs. They’ve split the first two, with Texas losing at DKR in 2012 and then winning in Morgantown last year. There aren’t many expectations for this year’s WVU team. Last time: Texas, 47-40 (last year)
Nov. 15: Texas at Oklahoma State. In Stillwater. Texas enjoys a big lead in the all-time series (23-5). But recently, not so much. Oklahoma State’s won three of the last four games against Texas, including the last time they met in Stillwater — which has been awhile. Because of Big 12 scheduling gods, three of the last four games have been in Austin. Last time: Oklahoma State, 38-13 (last year)
Nov. 27: Texas vs. TCU. 6:30 p.m. kickoff at DKR, on Fox Sports 1. The Thanksgiving game, a repeat matchup of TCU’s 20-13 win at DKR on turkey day 2012. Texas leads the all-time series, 62-22-1, including a 32-12-1 advantage at home. Last time: Texas, 30-7 (last year)
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