Much like a year ago, the Texas schedule is set up for a tough middle stretch with a softer landing on the back half that should allow a strong finish. The season’s ceiling will be set by games four through six, which we are previewing today. The Longhorns host TCU, travel to Kansas State, and then take on Oklahoma in Dallas.
Technically the season’s ceiling is always set by what happens in the Cotton Bowl. Even if Oklahoma was down and not particularly relevant to the title hunt in a given year it would still matter whether or not Texas beat them. As it happens, the Sooners do figure to be contenders for the league crown once more and the Longhorns are going to be playing them immediately after two of the more important tests on the schedule though in 2018.
Tom Herman identified Kansas State early on as the main challenger to Texas’ chances at being the most physical squad in the league and they addressed them immediately with a 40-34 OT victory in round one but Bill Snyder’s K-State isn’t going anywhere just yet.
Since the Frogs joined the B12, Texas has scored 76 total points against Gary Patterson’s famous 4-2-5 defense over six games in which the Longhorns are 1-5. That’s an average of just under 13 points a game (to TCU’s average of 30) and the average margin of TCU victory in this series is 25 points. We’ll talk about the problems here and the specific 2018 matchup but clearly the Frogs are one of the main obstacles between Texas and a return to the top.