The final quadrant of the 2019 schedule is essentially all the new money teams in the conference. Texas travels outside the state for the second time all year to play at Matt Campbell's surging Iowa State, then takes on Matt Rhule's fixer upper Baylor in Waco, then ends the season with a re-emergent Texas Tech program under new HC Matt Wells and infused with shale cash.
One of the fascinating dimensions to Big 12 Media Days is seeing everyone in person, you're no longer beholden to roster tables but can see up close which teams have size and even physical confidence. I'll never forget showing up at Media Days for the first time in 2014 and noticing how Kansas State's player reps were thick but short, Iowa State's were similar, and the players that Oklahoma and Baylor brought were truly massive and towered over most everyone.
After Texas plays LSU, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma over the course of six weeks, which could be the three toughest games they play all year, things really slow down for the Longhorns. The next three games include a home date with Kansas the week after the Red River Shootout, a road trip to the Fort to play TCU, and then back to Austin to host Kansas State.
The beginning of Texas’ 2019 Big 12 schedule would have been absolutely brutal in 2018. After the Rice game the Longhorns start their league slate with Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State Cowboys, then get a bye week to “prepare for a road trip to West Virginia,” with the Red River Shootout against the Oklahoma Sooners looming the following weekend. Like any head coach with any sense, Tom Herman will pack extra anti-Sooner prep into that bye week. The likely collapse of the Mountaineers in year one after Dana Holgorsen will only increase the amount of extra Sooner gameplanning that Texas sneaks into that bye week. You’ll hear the exact opposite from Herman, the staff, the players, and gullible commentators but feel free to ignore that.
We start in DFW with one of the nation's top defenders, stay in the metroplex for one of the nation's top junior tailbacks, then head north for a defensive lineman from Missouri, and finish on the west coast with one of the premier pass-catchers in the country. We're racking up miles in the Recruiting Notebook.
The non-conference slate is much easier than previous seasons, at least there isn’t a bizarre game against a unique and talented Maryland squad before injuries sap their roster but instead the LSU home game sandwiched between bouts with Louisiana Tech and “at Rice” in NRG which will likely hold mostly Texas fans. There’s all the potential in the world here for Texas to win the Big 12 championship and make the playoffs under one of the following three scenarios.
As you will no doubt hear countless times during the lead-up and broadcast of the big showdown between Texas and LSU next fall, Tom Herman and Dave Aranda have some history together. They were college roommates at California Lutheran and then coordinated their own units across from each other in the Big 10 in 2013 and 2014. Aranda followed his mentor Gary Andersen to Wisconsin from Utah State while Herman was snatched up by Urban Meyer from Iowa State to coordinate Ohio State from 2012-2014