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Breaking Down the 2013 Texas Longhorns Football Schedule

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Breaking Down the 2013 Texas Longhorns Football Schedule

texas
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY SPORTS

The 2013 Texas Longhorns football team will be met with more scrutiny than any team on the Forty Acres in recent history. Expectations are high as the Longhorns return several starters on both sides of the ball and impact players who have the ability to make plays on Saturdays, and many of whom who have a future at the next level.

Beyond what is essentially a warm-up against a perennial doormat at home to open the season, the 2013 schedule for Mack Brown's team is full of potential trap games and pitfalls which aren't readily visible to the naked eye. As a whole, the Big 12 Conference is more wide open this season than it has been in quite some time, and an easy win on paper certainly won't be as easy on the field.

Texas won't have much time to get its feet wet with a new up-tempo offensive scheme with a goal of running 80+ plays a game, and a defense that must improve greatly from the unit in 2012 that under-performed on a weekly basis. There are no weeks to work through the kinks, every Saturday -- and some Thursdays (thanks Longhorn Network) will be its own unique challenge.

Let's take a look at the Texas Longhorns 2013 schedule from Week One through to early December!

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New Mexico State Aggies

aggies
John Reed - USA TODAY SPORTS

Texas shouldn't have any problem with the hapless New Mexico State Aggies at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium on the evening of Saturday, August 31st. This matchup will give Major Applewhite and the Texas offense a chance to get a few different guys under center and work through live game action, in what may be the only opportunity some of them have in the early 2013 season given the challenges right around the corner in Weeks Two and Three.

Our Prediction: TEXAS BLOWOUT

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BYU Cougars

BYU Cougars
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY SPORTS

Texas learned the hard way one night in 2011 that you should never take the BYU Cougars lightly, especially when that Cougars team is coached by firey up and coming head coach Bronco Mendenhall. The Longhorns escaped with a 17-16 win over BYU back in September 2011, but by the skin of their teeth with a 4th quarter rally.

Provo is never an easy place to play and the Cougars will be hyped up to the nth degree to earn an early-season upset, but injuries to key players and less depth than BYU has enjoyed in seasons past should allow the Longhorns to escape with a win -- one that won't be easy to earn, regardless.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WINS, BUT NOT WITH EASE

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Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss Rebels
Beth Hall - USA TODAY SPORTS

The Longhorns waltzed into Oxford last season and handed the Ole Miss Rebels a 66-31 beating on national television behind high-flying performances from David Ash who threw for four touchdowns and 326 yards in what was arguably his best performance of the season. Mike Davis and Malcolm Brown also had their way in what was a much more decisive victory than even the 35-point margin suggests.

Knocking off the 2013 version of the Rebels in Austin, however, won't be quite as easy. With a talented quarterback in Bo Wallace returning as well as his primary target, Donte Moncreif, the Rebels have the ability to put up plenty of points themselves an in a hurry. Hugh Freeze's squad also has some new pieces on defense -- including the consensus No. 1 player in the 2013 class, Robert Nkemdiche -- that will make the Rebels defense much harder to handle than in 2012.

This game has plenty of trap potential for Texas, but a loss this early isn't likely for a Longhorns team that has its sights on bigger things in 2013 -- and has the experience to win games they should win this season.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WINS A HIGH-SCORING, OFFENSIVE SHOOTOUT

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Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State Wildcats
Matt Kartozian- USA TODAY SPORTS

In simplest terms, the Kansas State Wildcats have owned the Texas Longhorns in recent history. The Wildcats have beaten the Longhorns five straight times going back to 2006 -- they don't meet every season due to being in different divisions -- by a combined total of 174-114. Bill Snyder is one of the only coaches in the Big 12 that has had Mack Brown's number, and it's hard to pinpoint exactly why.

The 2013 Wildcats have several questions to answer and will be replacing 2012 Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein with newcomer Daniel Sams, who, while talented, has huge shoes to fill. There's no lack of talent on the K-State roster, but if there is a game which Texas knows they need in the early going to be on the right track toward success in 2013 this is it.

If the Longhorns can't play with a chip on their shoulder against K-State on September 21st, there are much bigger fish to fry. Our bet is they will, and earn an important first victory in Big 12 play.

Our Prediction: TEXAS COMES READY AND WINS A CLOSE ONE

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Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State Cyclones
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY SPORTS

For the first time in school history, the Iowa State Cyclones have sold out their allotment of season tickets for home football games. Needless to say, the excitement is palpable in Ames, with Cyclone fans together in the belief that their 2013 squad could be one of the best in recent memory. This is largely due to the confidence and energy injected into the program by new head coach Paul Rhoades, who is universally respected by players. He's one of those coaches you would run through a brick wall for without thinking twice about it.

The Thursday night matchup in early October actually could be the biggest test of the young season for Texas. There's at least one game a year where the team fails to show up prepared, and this could indeed be it. A Week Six test looming against the Oklahoma Sooners, however, and the implications of going into that game undefeated will be just enough to help them push through to a victory in an extremely hostile environment.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WINS A NAIL-BITER, HEADS INTO RED RIVER SHOOTOUT UNDEFEATED

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Oklahoma Sooners

oklahoma
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY SPORTS

There's a simple fact about the Oklahoma / Texas Red River Shootout in 2013: jobs, careers and reputations literally hang in the balance. The Sooners have had their way with Texas since 2009, winning three straight contests by a combined score of 146-58 and an average margin of 26 points per contest.

A Texas loss to the Sooners in 2013, could increase the volume of the grumbling about Mack Brown's future at Texas to yelling and place the future of those employed on his staff, as well, in danger. In short, it's as close to a must-win Brown has had in his 16 year tenure on the Forty Acres. With uncertainty at quarterback and some huge holes on the defensive line, the Sooners won't be what they have been over the past few seasons, but to say they won't be prepared for Texas regardless would be ludicrous.

The chip the Longhorns developed on their shoulders against Kansas State and Iowa State will carry over to a victory at the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma, but one that will have immediate implications in weeks following.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WINS OUT OF NECESSITY, BUT WITH A PRICE

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TCU Horned Frogs

tcu
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY SPORTS

The TCU Horned Frogs are an interesting team. Gary Patterson is a master motivator and has plenty of talent returning from a 2012 squad that finished 7-6, but many times looked like a team much better than their record would suggest. With the return of talented, but troubled quarterback Casey Pachall, the Horned Frogs' could be as talented as any in the conference and their defense should follow suit.

After a Thanksgiving night victory over the Longhorns last season, in which TCU dominated at times, the Frogs have momentum in the series which will play a huge part against a Texas team that will be mentally and physically exhausted after a win the previous week over Oklahoma.

The Amon Carter crowd and a speedy and aggressive TCU team will ultimately be too much for the Longhorns to handle, leading to the first loss of the season and a massive recruiting victory for a TCU team who will be searching to further cement their reputation as an emerging program in the Lone Star State.

Our Prediction: A TIRED TEXAS TEAM STUMBLES TO ITS FIRST LOSS

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Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas Jayhawks
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY SPORTS

Texas teams very rarely lose twice, and the arrival of the Kansas Jayhawks to Austin on the afternoon of Saturday, November 2nd will be a welcome site to a road weary team. Texas dispatches Charlie Weis' squad with ease, taking out some frustration and looking ahead to the homestretch of the Big 12 Conference season. This one will be a blowout.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WALTZES TO BLOWOUT VICTORY TO KICK-START 2ND HALF

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West Virginia Mountaineers

wvu
Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY SPORTS

In the next of many brutal stretches in the 2013 schedule, the Longhorns make their first conference trip to Morgantown, West Virginia on November 9th to take on the always-entertaining West Virginia Mountaineers. While this version of the Mountaineers won't be nearly as talented on the offensive side of the ball with the departure of Geno Smith and Tavon Austin to the NFL, they can't be slept on either.

After their own test against TCU the week prior -- the second of two long road trips -- the Mountaineers will be slower a step than they would be otherwise. This will give the Longhorns a tiny edge necessary to exploit a weak Mountaineers defense with the deep passing game and up-tempo offense and add one more W to the win column.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WINS AGAINST A TIRED MOUNTAINEERS SQUAD

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Oklahoma State Cowboys

pokes
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY SPORTS

Depending on whom you ask, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are either one of the best teams in the Big 12 Conference entering the 2013 season -- they were picked 1st by the conference coaches in the pre-season poll -- or aren't even worthy of a Top 25 selection in the early going -- at least according to CNNSI. Mike Gundy loses some first-tier skill talent with the transfer of quarterback Wes Lunt and the departure of running back Joseph Randle to the NFL, but behind J.W. Walsh, the Cowboys will still score points in bunches.

Stillwater is arguably the most hostile environment in the Big 12 -- if not one of the more hostile in all of college football -- and will be just enough to give the Cowboys the edge they need to avenge a last-second loss to Texas in 2012. It's another trap game for the Longhorns with a negative outcome.

Our Prediction: TEXAS LOSES A NAIL-BITER IN THE FINAL MINUTES

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Texas Tech Red Raiders

red
Richard Rowe - USA TODAY SPORTS

Lubbock is alive with buzz with the arrival of GQ-style, youthful head coach, and alumnus Kliff Kingsbury to take over for Tommy Tubberville with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. If nothing else, the Raiders will be entertaining to watch this season, but entertainment value -- especially early in a coach's tenure -- doesn't necessarily equate to success.

Tech has a brutal four game stretch against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor prior to their arrival to Austin on November 28th to take on the Longhorns and will be worn down in the best case scenario. The Longhorns again will avoid a two-game losing streak, minimize the Tech offense and emerge victorious to solidify their place in the Big 12 Conference race -- whatever it looks like as early December rolls around.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WEARS DOWN KINGSBURY'S BATTERED TROOPS

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Baylor Bears

bears
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY SPORTS

Just as Kingsbury will do in Lubbock, Art Briles has folks buzzing in Waco. With the construction of a new, multi-million dollar stadium underway, the Baylor Bears have begun to land some of the most talented recruits in Texas after years of struggling to get even three-star guys to don the Gold and Green. In fact, Baylor landed two Texas prize recruits in offensive lineman Andrew Billings (freshman this season) and Mount Pleasant wideout K.D. Cannon, who, according to some, is the most talented wide receiving prospect the state has seen in some time and will take the field for Baylor next season.

Running back Lache Seastrunk will key a Baylor offense that may be more run-heavy than it has in recent seasons, especially with the departure of big talent in the passing game with quarterback Nick Florence and wideout Terrance Williams. The Bears' new look will require a slight change in philosophy and their inability to keep up with the Texas offense won't allow them to pick up a win. This season, that is.

Our Prediction: TEXAS WINS WITH RELATIVE EASE TO FINISH THE REGULAR SEASON 10-2.