Games to Watch: Season Preview

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Photo Credit: Lillian Michel | Daily Texan Staff

Sept. 4 vs. Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish pummeled the Longhorns 38-3 in the first game of the 2015 season in South Bend, Indiana. It turned out to be a pretty accurate first look at Texas’ 5-7 campaign marked by struggling quarterback play and an uninspiring defense. 

Texas isn’t expected to win this game. But if head coach Charlie Strong’s team is unable to at least keep things close against Notre Dame, the third year coach will likely find out that the hot seat is a rather uncomfortable place to start a season. 

Oct. 8 vs. Oklahoma (Dallas)

Even if the Longhorns get off to another lethargic start in the 2016 campaign, a win here could be enough to energize the team back into relevance. A second straight Texas upset in Dallas though would be quite a shock. 

The offense that earned the Sooners a birth in last year’s College Football Playoff will 
return Heisman hopeful senior quarterback Baker Mayfield and bruising junior running back Samaje Perine. Longhorn defensive linemen junior Poona Ford and senior Paul Boyette Jr. will need to turn in strong performances to slow Perrine, and turn up the pressure on Mayfield if Texas wants to stay on track for a bowl game. 

Oct. 15 vs. Iowa State

Iowa State won’t be the team that makes or brakes Texas’ season. There are far more high profile games that the Longhorns should be concerned about. That being said, a convincing win against the Cyclones could be a definitive statement that the misery of 2015 is in the rear view mirror. 

Texas lost its last matchup with the Cyclones 24-0 marking the low point of the 2015 season. Another loss to a team that was once a Big 12 afterthought could mean that it will be a while before Texas contends for a conference title. 

Nov. 25 vs. TCU

This could be the game that decides whether or not the Longhorns go bowling and whether or not TCU wins the Big 12 title. Having such a tough matchup take place in Austin will be a boost for Texas, but it might not be enough for the Longhorns to defeat a team that beat them 50-7 last season. 

It will be imperative for sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson to flash his NFL caliber speed and strength to neutralize TCU’s spread offense attack. NFL bound quarterback Trevone Boykin will be replaced by either junior Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill or sophomore Foster Sawyer, both of whom should be capable of captaining the Horned Frogs’ potent offense.