Tough schedule means tough-sledding

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Seth Doege attempts a pass against Oklahoma. The junior quarterback led Texas Tech to a 41-38 upset win over the Sooners, throwing for 441 yards and four touchdowns. The Red Raiders face the Longhorns in two weeks.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

We interrupt your continued celebration of Oklahoma’s 41-38 loss to Texas Tech for one very sobering message: Texas’ second-half schedule? Yeah, not as easy as we thought.

To reach a bowl game — which has suddenly become the goal at Belmont — the Longhorns need to win two games out of this group: Kansas, No. 20 Texas Tech, Missouri, No. 8 Kansas State, No. 16 Texas A&M and Baylor.

The upcoming game against the Jayhawks is as automatic a win as they’ll get. Everything else will be a challenge.

“[Texas Tech beating OU] goes to show you that if you’re not ready to play, anybody can beat you,” said senior linebacker and unofficial team spokesman Emmanuel Acho.

Tech proved itself very dangerous behind quarterback Seth Doege, who threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns against the Sooners. Texas better be awake for that 11 a.m. kickoff in two weeks.

Missouri (3-4) is better than its record suggests; the Tigers have lost four games by an average of 11 points and came within 10 of beating the Sooners in Norman. KSU is undefeated and led by battering-ram quarterback Collin Klein. You know the dangers in a trip to College Station, and you also know what RG3 and the Bears are capable of.

So, should you be worried? Head coach Mack Brown says no.

“This team has a good feel of where it’s going,” he said. “I can’t see them walking around with a swagger at all.”

That’s a big improvement over last season, when the team’s “swagger” morphed into complacency. But good attitude and exciting young talent notwithstanding, the rest of the schedule is a bear: three ranked teams, three road games, four teams that beat the Longhorns last year. All six opponents average more points per game than them, too.

“The league’s probably the best it’s ever been from top to bottom,” Brown said.

Pundits who projected Texas to finish 8-4 were assuming the team would have found a quarterback by now and that the conference wouldn’t be this strong. But an early-season switch away from Garrett Gilbert and a mid-season switch to David Ash requires that we re-evaluate the team’s potential.

Do that, and then consider how well the rest of the conference is playing. KSU has come from nowhere and is undefeated, the Red Raiders have lost two games by an average of six points and the Bears and Aggies boast offenses ranked No. 2 and No. 7 in the nation, respectively.

Heck, 8-4 looks like it could be the ceiling at this point.

Printed on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 as: Horns will have hands full after taking on Jayhawks, starting with Texas Tech