2014 Texas Football Schedule Preview

2014 Texas Football Schedule Preview

Texas Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Matthew Emmons-USA Today Sports

The Texas Longhorns open the 2014 season with a new chapter in their storied history under first-year head coach Charlie Strong, who has already instilled a mantra of toughness and brought discipline to a program that clearly needed some. That said, Strong has not inherited a team with dead weight. The Longhorns have clear talent on both sides of the ball, which when mixed with a successful, energized coach, could carry UT farther than expected.

Texas vs. North Texas: Aug. 30

Texas vs North Texas Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas vs. North Texas: Aug. 30

Texas vs North Texas Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mean Green have taken some major steps forward under head coach Dan McCarney, winning nine games last season and narrowly missing the Conference USA Championship. However, North Texas must replace their starting QB, running back and three of their top four pass catchers on offense and also four of their top five linemen and a couple linebackers on defense. That seems like bit much to overcome on the road in Week 1.

Texas vs. BYU: Sept. 6

Texas vs BYU Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Texas vs. BYU: Sept. 6

Texas vs BYU Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

A Week 2 matchup with BYU is a tall order for Texas, as the Cougars will enter Austin with a great offensive line, their top five returning rushers and a good dual-threat QB. While BYU lost some key players on defense, most notably OLB Kyle Van Noy, imposing force Bronson Kaufusi and a strong secondary are among the returning pieces. UT has some question marks along the offensive line, which could be an issue with their non-conference slate.

Texas vs. UCLA: Sept. 13 (Arlington)

Texas vs UCLA Football 2014 Schedule Preview
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Texas vs. UCLA: Sept. 13 (Arlington)

Texas vs UCLA Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Things don't get easier for the Longhorns the following week, as a trip to Arlington to play Pac-12 contender UCLA lurks. The Bruins feature a Heisman hopeful in QB Brett Hundley and the majority of their offense returns. On defense, meanwhile, the Bruins have an experience-laden secondary and a star in OLB Myles Jack. Texas' offense will have to find a way to keep up with the Bruins' pace if they want to have a shot.

Texas at Kansas: Sept. 27

Texas vs Kansas Football 2014 Schedule Preview
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Texas at Kansas: Sept. 27

Texas vs Kansas Football 2014 Schedule Preview
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

After an absolutely grueling three-game start to their schedule, Texas gets an off week before they head to Lawrence to play a Jayhawks team that will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kansas fans will be counting down the days until basketball season in 2014, and no matter how the Longhorns play against the Cougars and Bruins, they aren't going to become the unlikely victim to a program that has lost 46 games the past five seasons.

Texas vs. Baylor: Oct. 4

Texas vs Baylor Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

Texas vs. Baylor: Oct. 4

Texas vs Baylor Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

After their trip to Kansas, the Longhorns will head back to the grind with highly-ranked opponents awaiting them in their next two games. After passing for over 4,000 yards and scoring 32 touchdowns, Bryce Petty returns under center for a Baylor team that is very talented at the skill positions. Texas will need to key on attacking Baylor's rebuilt offensive line to slow down Petty and his superior attack to have a chance.

Texas vs. Oklahoma: Oct. 11 (Dallas)

Texas vs Oklahoma Football 2014 Schedule Preview Red River Rivalry Game
Tim Heitman-USA Today Sports

Texas vs. Oklahoma: Oct. 11 (Dallas)

Texas vs Oklahoma Football 2014 Schedule Preview Red River Rivalry Game
Tim Heitman-USA Today Sports

The Red River Rivalry game will be worthy of national hype in 2014, as the Sooners are expected to be in the running for a playoff spot and the Longhorns will be plenty solid in their own right. Oklahoma does not feature the same tough start that Texas does, which could certainly hurt them against what will be a battle-tested Longhorns squad. The OU defense and offensive line will be strong, but UT's defense could rattle QB Trevor Knight.

Texas vs. Iowa State: Oct. 18

Texas vs Iowa State Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Getty Images

Texas vs. Iowa State: Oct. 18

Texas vs Iowa State Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Getty Images

In their first seven games, the Longhorns only leave the state of Texas once. A trip back home to Austin will be a good opportunity for Texas to regroup and prepare for the second half of their schedule with a night game against Iowa State leading the way. Like their game against Kansas, UT will be coming off of two tough games when they face ISU, which simply doesn't have enough defensive experience to hang with Texas on the road.

Texas at Kansas State: Oct. 25

Texas vs Kansas State Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Texas at Kansas State: Oct. 25

Texas vs Kansas State Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in 2014, Charlie Strong's squad will leave the state and head into Kansas, but they will face a much tougher opponent in Manhattan than they will in Lawrence. Legendary coach Bill Snyder's team may be ranked by this point in the season behind an experienced signal-caller in Jake Waters and a strong defensive line. Will Texas struggle in just their second true road game against a talented squad?

Texas at Texas Tech: Nov. 1

Texas vs Texas Tech Football 2014 Schedule Preview
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Texas at Texas Tech: Nov. 1

Texas vs Texas Tech Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech will provide another tough in-state challenge for UT on the road on the first day of November. Red Raiders QB Davis Webb shined in the team's bowl game against a good Arizona State defense and should carry that momentum into 2014 behind a good offensive line. Texas Tech lost some key players on defense but will slot in a few junior college players in their place. This game could go either way.

Texas vs. West Virginia: Nov. 8

Texas vs West Virginia Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Texas vs. West Virginia: Nov. 8

Texas vs West Virginia Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The following week, the Longhorns will travel back to Austin to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers, who will be in for a tough one on the road if they can't find a starter at QB and settle on him. The Mountaineers do have a very deep group of backs and a strong interior line, but their edge blockers may be an issue in pass protection. WVU will be solid on defense, but if their offense lacks balance, Texas fans shouldn't be too concerned.

Texas at Oklahoma State: Nov. 15

Texas vs Oklahoma State Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Mark D. Smith-USA Today Sports

Texas at Oklahoma State: Nov. 15

Texas vs Oklahoma State Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Mark D. Smith-USA Today Sports

With just two games left on the schedule, UT will need to play well if they envision a strong finish with two pretty solid teams easily capable of upending the Longhorns facing them down. However, the Cowboys do have some major questions on defense with their linebacking group and secondary, which could be thin and prone to the big play. On offense, there is also a lack of experience at the skill positions. Can UT exploit these holes?

Texas vs. TCU: Nov. 27

Texas vs TCU Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Getty Images

Texas vs. TCU: Nov. 27

Texas vs TCU Football 2014 Schedule Preview
Getty Images

In the regular season finale, Texas will head back to Austin for a battle with TCU, which is coming off of a rough season but will likely be improved due to a strong defense that could be among the best in the Big 12 in 2014. The Horned Frogs feature a great secondary, an experienced linebacking group and a star at defensive end in Devonte Fields. On offense, Texas Christian is in a transition, however. UT will likely be too strong for TCU.

Michael Briggs is a College Football Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.