Lots of rumors floating around about David Ash’s health. Last weekend he apparently injured a hamstring and, depending where you read and who you listen to, it varies from “not a big deal” to “had to be helped off the field.” The Texas training staff officially lists him as “day to day”, but I don’t know what else they would say. My take: don’t sweat it until there is something to sweat. It could be serious, but if it is this is the time for it: a month before the season starts and two (or three) games that everyone else on the team should be able to carry the load if need be. Of course, it could be nothing at all. So, don’t get all panicky until it’s time to get all panicky. It’s not time right now.
HERE. WE. GO.
I’ve read all my football magazines, watched all the old games again and again and played several seasons of NCAA 13 (Texas is SOOO good in that! And I win every single time. Sometimes I have to start over, but EVERY.SINGLE.TIME) but now it is time for the real, live, honest-to-goodness college football.
The Horns are hours (okay, several days worth of hours, but still) away from reporting for fall camp and starting the real prep for the 2012 season. All the work in the off-season, all the running and lifting and drills and speed work, set the table for August. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love the mantra of Michigan State’s off-season program: “1,000 invisible mornings.” To me it sums up the off-season perfectly. No one is watching, there are no fans are cheering and 99% of them have no idea what their favorite team is even doing; it’s just the football team working to get stronger, faster and better while most of their peers are still asleep. It’s a cliché phrase now thanks to every football player in the world’s Twitter, but the off-season and summer is grind of endless workouts, but it all pays off when August comes around. And August is here. It is time to see who shines and who fades, who worked the hardest and rises and who did not and slides. The prep work is done, now it’s time for football.
Before we get into the Texas Longhorns, let’s take a look at who the Texas Longhorns will be playing this year. Of course we will dive much deeper when it’s time to play each opponent, but let’s take a look at the 2012 schedule with each team’s pre-season ranking listed if applicable.
Texas Longhorns 2012 Football Schedule
09/01/12 • Wyoming
09/08/12 • New Mexico
09/15/12 • at Mississippi
09/29/12 • at No.21 Oklahoma State
10/06/12 • No.11 West Virginia
10/13/12 • vs. No.5 oklahoma (Dallas)
10/20/12 • Baylor
10/27/12 • at Kansas
11/03/12 • at Texas Tech
11/10/12 • Iowa State
11/24/12 • No.14 TCU
12/01/12 • at No.13 Kansas State
As you can see, Texas has a bit of a murderer’s row at the end of September that will most likely determine the success of the season; however, you have to play every single game and as I did last year, I am taking nothing for granted. Let’s take a look at what the Texas opponents bring to the table this fall.
09/01/12 • Wyoming
The Cowboys from Laramie (that’s their mascot and their town) will be the game one opponent. They have upgraded their uniforms (yet still brown and yellow) and their talent. They finished 2011 with exact same 8-5 record Texas did but lost their bowl game to Temple, 37-15. I know most of you are assuming a big win, but this Wyoming team is salty. They return eight starters from a solid defense. In fact, it’s probably the best defense in the Mountain West Conference. With Texas settling in new starters and looking for confidence offensively, the Wyoming defense could potentially give the Horns some trouble. They have a nice quarterback and solid group of receivers returning, but they are going to have their hands full with the Texas defense, who isn’t breaking anyone new in and they certainly aren’t look for confidence. It probably goes as you think it will go, but they are talented enough to make this a real test if Texas isn’t ready to go.
You are preparing yourself for the fact this is most likely on the Longhorn Network, right? Here’s an update on the new carriers for LHN: … (crickets chirping)…. If you don’t see your cable provider listed (you don’t) you better find a ticket, get a radio or make friends with one of the 12 people that have it.
09/08/12 • New Mexico
The Lobos come to town with new coach Bob Davie, who returns to the sideline after a brief 10-year career in the broadcast booth for ESPN. Seriously, the last time Davie was on the sideline as a coach New Mexico’s recruiting class of 2012 was about to start the 3rd grade… But that isn’t my concern. My concern with New Mexico is… Hmm… I’m looking, sorry…. Please continue to hold and someone will be right with you…. Okay, I’m back. I’ll go with this- a new coaching staff can energize a team and a fan base and the installation of the pistol offense and the 3-4 defense will mean trouble for opponents if they aren’t prepared. How did that sound? Sincere?
Don’t cut your new friend with the Longhorn Network loose just yet, because this one is also likely on there. After this game, you could probably move on.
09/15/12 • at Mississippi • 8:15 pm • ESPN2
Texas travels to Oxford and the kids at Ole Miss will be pumped. Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium will be rocking with… I can’t even finish that sentence. The Ole Miss crowd will surely be pumped, but it will have more to do with what’s going after game and what’s going on in the Grove, the biggest attraction on the Ole Miss campus during football season. I’m just giving you a hard time, Rebel fans. Sort of. They may chant “SEC” at Ole Miss, but they aren’t on the same level with the big boys in the league. New coach Hugh Freeze, coming to Ole Miss from Arkansas State after going 10-2 last year, is trying to breath confidence and success into a program more known for the party outside than the game in the stadium. It’s an uphill battle with LSU, Arkansas and Alabama all clicking, but if you take recruits away from A&M and beat them, I am all for it.
It’s going to be a night game and crowd will be excited, but if Texas handles their business early like they should most of them will head back to their tailgate. It’s a tricky game, but completely manageable.
09/29/12 • at No. 21 OKLAHOMA STATE
Better Texas teams have gone to Stillwater to play far worse Oklahoma State teams and barely escaped with their lives, athletically speaking. I guarantee you the defending Big 12 Champs will have a packed house waiting to greet the Longhorns, who they have not beaten at home since 1997 (the consecutive losses to OSU in 2010 and 2011 both occurred in Austin). Ok State returns the best turnover-producing defense in the country with one of the best back sevens in the Big 12, but offensively they lost Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden, two of the school’s all-time best players. And while superstar Joseph Randle returns at tailback, four starters up front do not. I don’t know what’s going to happen right now, but I would be nervous about starting a true freshman quarterback (they have already announced freshman Wes Lunt will start at qb) and a new o-line against this Texas defense.
It will be interesting to see what time this game kicks off. I assume both teams come in undefeated and that will have some interest from the networks, but if even a one-loss Texas team hosting a possible top 10 and undefeated West Virginia team in their first ever meeting as Big 12 conference members seems like it has ABC Saturday Night Football all over it and that is the following week. ESPN rarely has the same team on at night two weeks in a row, so that means a day game or FSN night game. My guess? Texas and OSU at 6 pm on Fox Sports Southwest. It will give everyone plenty of time at Eskimo Joe’s to hang out. It’s a great place if you haven’t been. Who wins? I know who wins, but I’m saving that for the week of the game.
10/06/12 • No.11 WEST VIRGINIA
Dana Holgersen and his Mountaineers make their first ever Big 12 road trip and likely come in 4-0 and well inside the top 10. They bring an absolutely loaded offense and legitimate Heisman candidate in quarterback Geno Smith, who led them to the soul-crushing 70-33 Orange Bowl win over Clemson last year. He has a superb set of receivers and an excellent running back stable to help him, but they lose their top two pass rushers on defense. The bigger issue for WVA is proving they can do it week in, week out in a much tougher conference. Last year they struggled on the road against the likes of Syracuse, Maryland and Cincinnati. Now they travel a time zone away and into a place likely 20 degrees hotter than their home stadium. And don’t forget about the 100, 000 fans in the stands, either. The Neers are deservedly a Big 12 Title contender, but this road trip has trouble written all over it.
Like I said, this sets up as the Saturday Night Game of the Week for ESPN and ABC, which will likely help the Mountaineers if the weather is hot. I can’t wait to see how many of their fans travel down here.
10/13/12 • vs. No.5 oklahoma (in Dallas)
Today is August 1st. it’s the 213th day of the year and there are 152 days remaining until the end of the year. On this day: Colorado was admitted as the 38th state in 1876, Pancho Villa was born in 1901, MTV launched its network with the video “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles and it is Swiss National Day, a holiday in Switzerland. Also, one year on August 1st I got a speeding ticket, but it wasn’t my fault because the speed limit sign was knocked down the mile prior. Nobody believed me then, either, mostly because there were three other speed limit signs. Stll, YOUR FAULT, speed limit sign.
11, noon or 2:30 on ABC. My guess is 11.
10/20/12 • BAYLOR
Much like Oklahoma State, Baylor is very confident their offensive success will continue without their iconic quarterback, now a Washington Redskin. Former starter Nick Florence steps in to replace RGIII and he has experience, starting in 2010 when Griffin was injured and subbing in last year for the same reason. He isn’t the Heisman playmaker that Griffin was, but he is more than capable of getting the job done. While Baylor loses Kendall Wright, they gain Lache Seastrunk. The former Oregon Duck was a superstar in high school, but things didn’t work out for him in Eugene so he’s now a Baylor Bear. Why things didn’t work out there for Seastrunk is a different matter, but he’s playing for Baylor and I expect he will be very good. I also expect their offense to be good, but is there defense going to be able to stop anyone? It wasn’t really a problem last year as they outscored everyone, but I don’t think this offense is going to be able to do that. That could be a problem.
I, for one, am very excited about this game. I want this 2-game losing streak to them SNAPPED. Griffin cemented the Heisman in that game against Texas last year, but the offense gifted him all the opportunities as turnovers led to blowout loss after Texas had the lead. Ugh, I still see that last td pass in my mind and I don’t like it one bit. And I hope the obnoxious lady sitting next to me in Dallas with her cat, IN A BAR, is around when this game over. I will be nicer to you than you were to us. Probably.
10/27/12 • at KANSAS
The Charlie Weiss Era will be in full swing at Kansas… I just saw how ridiculous “Charlie Weiss”, “Era” and “Kansas” looked in the same sentence. I thought Turner Gill was going to do some nice things at Kansas. I mean he turned around the Buffalo Bulls, but it didn’t work at Kansas. I honestly don’t know what to think of Weiss at KU. It’s a nice hire for them because his name will get them some needed publicity, but he struggled to make the offense for talent-rich Florida work and now he goes from the Boardwalk Place of talent to Baltic Avenue. It wasn’t like he was charming and charismatic guy when was the head coach at Notre Dame that won people over with his personality, by all accounts he was on the arrogant and gruff side… Didn’t they just fire a guy for that a few years ago? Whatever, not my problem.
I see this game at 11 am and it being ridiculously cold for people from Texas. In 2008 the Horns beat KU up pretty badly, but in 2004 it took a 21-yard run on 4th & 19 for Texas to avoid a monster upset. The commonality between the two is the early game time and the fact Texas won both games. Not sure how it goes yet, but the result will be the same.
11/03/12 • at TEXAS TECH
If this goes the way I think it could go, Tommy Tuberville could be fighting to save his job. But there is a lot of football to be played before Texas heads to Tortilla Flats. One thing is very certain about this game: the kids will be lubed up and the place will be loud. I mean LOUD. Even when Tech stinks, which they might, the students at Tech HATE Texas and will show up at Jones SBC for the Horns. They always got Texas and A&M at home in opposite years, but now the Ags are gone, but the Horns are still here. Tech has yet another new defensive coordinator, but the same pass-happy offense. Who knows how it looks in early November, but I have strong suspicion Tech will be at or below .500 with much grumbling about whom to get to replace Tubs. If Tech has any trouble stopping the run this season, they should just stay home on November 3rd.
After a morning game at Kansas and Iowa State coming to Austin the following week, I see this game under the lights. It’s only fair to give the Tech kids eight or so hours to get their hate on and paint up. How in the world are they supposed to do that for a morning game?
11/10/12 • IOWA STATE
Hopefully Steele Jantz will be starting again by then. I am rooting for you, Steele Jantz. Texas comes at the end of a brutal stretch for the Clones: at TCU, K-State, at OSU, Baylor, oklahoma, Texas. I don’t think you’ll beat Texas, Cyclones, but listen to me: You need to spend your time, resources and energy on preparing for that oklahoma game. No one likes them. Seriously, no one. If you beat them, I will bring you some fajitas when you play Texas. You have enough Texans on your roster, so tell them I’m bringing some honest-to-goodness real Mexican food if you win.
I expect this to be an 11 am game unless Iowa State has great October. So 11, then.
11/24/12 • No.14 TCU
The game schedule says Saturday, 11/24, but I don’t expect it to be on Saturday. This will be played on Thanksgiving Night (11/22) assuming nothing odd happens. The Frogs let a close game get away at Texas in 2007 and the huggable and adorable Gary Patterson surely will be reminding his team of that. TCU will come to play, you can believe that, and if things are going the way they could this game could be for the Big 12 Title. Quarterback Casey Paschall and a terrific Horned Frog defense will be unimpressed and un-intimidated by the Texas crowd or the TV audience and the drug scandal of 2011 will be long forgotten by the media (do you remember it now?). This game should be terrific.
Like I said, expect this game to get moved to Thanksgiving Night on ESPN. Remember the last Thanksgiving Night game, Ags? Me, too.
12/01/12 • at No.13 KANSAS STATE
This sets up very similarly to Texas at Baylor last year. The Horns came off a big Thanksgiving Night win and then had to travel to a Heisman candidate’s house. I expect all of that again as Texas heads to their own personal House of Horrors in Manhattan. In 2010 Texas was embarrassed and embarrassing in a blowout loss and in 2006 a National Title defense opportunity was crushed by Josh Freeman and company. This year K-State has a Heisman candidate in quarterback Colin Klein and a solid cast supporting him. It will be loud, it will be cold and for the second straight week, it will be purple. Texas is going to have to play turnover-free football, unlike last year at Baylor, or they can expect the same results. The Purple (I guess I can’t just call them that anymore, can I?) are considered a dark horse candidate to win the Big 12, and they could. They just seem to find ways to win.
With the SEC and Big Ten having their Championship Games that same day, I don’t really know when this game will be played. If either team is undefeated, surely ABC will run this in prime time against the other games. Likewise, oklahoma at TCU that same day, for the same reasons, could be a national primetime game. I am sure it will be on ABC and it will be at 2:30 or 7. Right now I’m hoping for 2:30, because it will be cold enough with sun up. Maybe Texas plays at 2:30 and then we can all watch A&M play in the SEC Title Game later that night? Come on, that was funny. Whoop!
There you go, the Texas football schedule 2012. I know we still have a month before the games actually start, but it’s nice to take a look at your opponent and see what’s coming down the road, right? Next week we start breaking down the Longhorns.