There are quite a few marquee games on the Longhorns 2013 schedule and it could be argued that each one can make or break the ‘Horns 2013 season. This fall is the first time in years that Texas fans believe they have a shot at winning the Big 12 title. With such large expectations for this season, the case for which game on this years schedule is most important could be made for a handful of match ups.
Its really hard to come up with one single game that stands out as the most crucial game to win for the Longhorns this year because just one conference loss could put the ‘Horns in a hole in the race for a Big 12 title. I’m going to list three games that stand out as potentially the most important on the schedule, and then make my case for which is the most crucial.
The first crucial game on the schedule is when the ‘Horns host the Kansas State Wildcats on September 21. If there is one school in the Big 12 that has given Texas fits since just about the formation of the league, its Kansas State. Since 1999, Texas is a miserable 2-7 against the Wildcats and has lost five in a row. Three of the past four contests haven’t even been close either.
If Texas wants to make a come back and contend for a Big 12 title, this is the first crucial game on this years schedule that they must win. It’s the first conference game for both teams and it’s at home. If Texas gets through the non conference schedule without a loss, they could be a top 10 team going into this game. Mack and Co. better be ready for a hard fought game against the Bill Snyder led Wildcats and fight till the end or else they may be handed yet another loss against the scrappy Wildcats in 2013.
The next crucial game is one that is crucial every single year, and one that the ‘Horns have been embarrassed in for the past three years: the Red River Rivalry.
Mack Brown has had an up and down record against the Oklahoma Sooners since coming to Texas in 1998. He won his first two meetings against the Sooners, lost five in a row, won four of the next five and then has lost three in a row since 2010. This game is always important for both teams and for years decided who would ultimately win the Big 12 conference. This year should be no different and this game could potentially cost Mack Brown his job if there’s another blowout.
Win this game and the ‘Horns season could skyrocket and fans would be back on board, lose and things could get really bad.
The Big 12′s most well known rivalry should be a great one to watch and yet again has huge implications in the Big 12 title race.
Lastly, the road game against the TCU Horned Frogs will be a huge game with Big 12 title implications.
This was a defensive battle in 2012 which saw the Horned Frogs win 20-13 on the road in Austin. This year, the ‘Horns travel to Fort Worth on October 26 to seek revenge for their 2012 loss. I see this as another defensive battle that will be won with one or two big plays on either side of the ball.
The Horned Frogs return quarterback Casey Pachall from last years suspension and have Big 12 title hopes of their own. Head coach Gary Patterson does a great job of preparing for big games and will have his Horned Frogs ready to battle Texas. Look for this to be one of the conferences best games in 2013.
There’s a common theme between the three games that I’ve listed as the most crucial to the Longhorns success or failure in 2013: the ‘Horns lost all three of these games in 2012 and will have all three on their radar as games they must get revenge in.
There are obviously other games on the schedule like Oklahoma State and at Baylor that could end up being huge games this fall, but if I had to pick one game from the three I listed as the most important, I’d surprise just about everyone and say that the Kansas State game is absolutely crucial for the ‘Horns in 2013. It’s the first conference game for both teams, the ‘Horns have struggled mightily for a long time against the Wildcats and Bill Snyder always has his teams prepared, especially against Texas. The Wildcats are a sneaky team that will capitalize on every chance they get and will hurt you when you make mistakes.
There’s no doubt that this year is a turning point for the ‘Horns, they’ll either turn the corner and win double digit games or they’ll disappoint the fan base by falling short in these three games. The jury is out on how this will all play out and we will have to wait and see which direction Texas goes in 2013.