The schedule is a major factor in any team’s hopes for a national championship. Who you play, when you play, and where you play are questions prognosticators love to ask before making bold title game predictions.
By luck of the draw, the schedule manages to give Texas an ever-so-slight leg up in crucial games. As miniscule an edge as it may be, the Longhorns will gladly take it.
One glance at Texas' 2013 football schedule and five games stick out: Ole Miss, Kansas State, Oklahoma, at TCU, and Oklahoma State.
These are the games that will likely decide the Horns’ fate come Selection Sunday.
Ole Miss and Oklahoma State are two improved teams looking for revenge from last season. Fortunately for Texas, both games will be played at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium. Playing on the cacophonous home turf of a team looking to even a score is never fun for the away team. That’s something the Longhorns will not have worry about this year.
Kansas State, on the other hand, will have to worry about DKR’s raucous crowd when the Longhorns seek revenge in the conference opener. The Longhorns are improved while the Wildcats have taken a step back. Texas should be favored.
The Longhorns get another big break in the form of the scheduling format. Because Texas plays Iowa State on a Thursday, the Longhorns will have nine days of rest before the Red River Shootout. Not only does this supply Texas with two additional days of rest and preparation, but the Longhorns also have the added benefit of being able to watch Oklahoma and TCU square off that Saturday.
The Longhorns then have a week off before facing TCU in Fort Worth. A week of rest will be a welcomed break after what is sure to be a great game at the Cotton Bowl.
I’m no prognosticator, but if schedules were the sole determinant in the national title race, Texas would be well on their way to receiving the Coaches’ Trophy.