National title hopes dashed, Texas is coming off an encouraging victory over Kansas State in its Big 12 opener and is hoping to run the table in conference play and win its first Big 12 championship since 2009.
The Longhorns need to build on their defensive performance aganist Kansas State two weeks if they want to improve to 3-2 by beating Iowa State and stay perfect in Big 12 play heading into their game against Oklahoma next weekend.
While Mack Brown was deciding who to make his long-term starting quarterback in 2003, he made the right decision in choosing freshman Vince Young but didn't make it in time for Texas to beat Oklahoma, who throttled the Longhorns in a 65-13 demolition. If Texas stands any chance of beating the Sooners this year, Brown needs to make Swoopes the quarterback of the future before it's too late.
Johnathan Gray came up big for Texas against Kansas State, running for a career-high 141 yards and two touchdowns while Jackson Jeffcoat had his first monster game of the year, making his first two sacks of the year.
While many are calling for Tyrone Swoopes to take his redshirt off and make his long-awaited Longhorns debut, the sensible thing to do is leave the experienced Case McCoy, who has yet to commit a single turnover this year, at quarterback. He gives Texas the best chance to win right now.
While senior Sam Richardson takes the snaps for Iowa State, Texas should be concerned about Quenton Bundrage, who saved his best game so far for the Cyclones' best opponent this year. Bundrage caught 13 passes for 186 yards in a loss to Iowa and will face a Longhorns secondary that gave up 237 yards to Kansas State's Tyler Lockett in its last game.
Iowa State has won 10 of its last 12 Thursday games, including a home win over No. 2 Oklahoma State two Novembers ago, a game that dashed the Cowboys' national title hopes. The Longhorns are playing their first non-Thanksgiving Day weekday game in two decades.
The Longhorns, even without arguably their best players on both sides of the ball in quarterback David Ash and linebacker Jordan Hicks, should have no trouble beating the Cyclones by double digits. Also look for Georgia to dominate Tennessee and Illinois to upset Nebraska.
With a convincing win over Notre Dame in South Bend, Oklahoma is now the heavy favorite to win the Big 12 this year. After a home game against TCU this weekend, the Sooners will face the Longhorns in the annual Red River Rivalry.
Texas' defense didn't respond immediately to a change in defensive coordinators, falling to Ole Miss in Greg Robinson's second debut as the Longhorns' defensive coordinator, but played well in a win over Kansas State and will look to stop an Iowa State team coming off its only win of the year last week.