vs. BYU (6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6, FS1)
Just last season, this matchup proved to be the beginning of the end for Mack Brown. In order to avoid a similar beat down, the Longhorns are going to have to contain junior quarterback Taysom Hill and junior running back Jamaal Williams, who both rushed for over 1,000 yards last year. This will be a good indicator of where Texas’ defense is early on in the season.
vs. UCLA (7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13, FOX)
The Longhorns will be tested for a second-straight week with a game against PAC 12 contender UCLA. The Bruins are a serious contender for the inaugural College Football Playoff with junior quarterback Brett Hundley returning after throwing for over 3,000 yards a year ago. The UCLA defense will also be dangerous, despite the loss of Anthony Barr. It’s safe to say that we’ll know just how good, or bad, Texas can be after this two-game stretch.
vs. Baylor (TBD, Saturday, Oct. 4)
This has to be the most anticipated game in the Big 12 this year. Everyone will be watching to see how Charlie Strong’s defense does against the high-powered, up-tempo Baylor offense. Last year, the Longhorns managed to hold the Bears to 23 points before a late touchdown to ice the game. That won’t be an easy task to repeat though. Baylor returns senior quarterback Bryce Petty and continues to have great speed from its running backs and receivers. But, if the Texas defense is able to contain the Bears again, this could be a big statement for a Longhorn team hoping to turn it around in a relatively short period of time.
vs. Oklahoma (TBD, Saturday, Oct. 11)
Last year, Texas won this game thanks in large part to an Oklahoma quarterback controversy between Blake Bell and Trevor Knight. After a huge win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, the Sooners are serious contenders for the Big 12 title with Knight entrenched at the helm. And the defense, led by linebacker Erik Striker, could rival the Longhorns as the best in the conference. The second of another tough stretch of games, this game will be big no matter how the Baylor game plays out. Texas will either need a win to get a leg up in the Big 12 or be looking to get back up after a tough loss. Oh, and it’s also one of the biggest rivalries in college sports.
@ Kansas State (TBD, Saturday, Oct. 25)
The win over the Wildcats last year was one of two big upsets for the Longhorns, but a repeat of that feat will be tough in a place where Texas hasn’t won since 2002. Head coach Bill Snyder will likely field a strong team again with a number of JuCo transfers and senior quarterback Jake Waters getting the ball to his playmakers in any way possible. The Kansas State defense should be as strong as it has been in the past. However, Texas had great success on the ground a year ago. Getting that ground game going against a tough defense will be key in this one.
@ Oklahoma State (TBD, Saturday, Nov. 15)
After opening up Big 12 play undefeated last year, the Longhorns struggled mightily against the Cowboys in a blowout loss. Texas can expect more of the same this year with junior quarterback J.W. Walsh taking over after Clint Chelf graduated. As usual, Oklahoma State has solid depth at the receiving position but the toughest task for Texas will be containing Tyreek Hill, who presents a serious threat in the Cowboy backfield. Oklahoma State’s secondary is not nearly as strong as it was last year, but given Texas’ question marks at quarterback, the ’Pokes should give Texas its last big test of the season.