After a bye week that hopefully has given key players in Joe Bergeron and Jordan Hicks an opportunity to heal from injuries, the days are counting down before Texas treks to Stillwater, Oklahoma and an early-conference showdown against Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Once upon a time this series was decidedly in favor of the (burnt) orange as Texas won games going away as well as those that involved miracle comebacks. Times have changed recently with OSU gaining the advantage, namely during the playing days of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, two players who are now rookies in the NFL.
So what should Texas expect on a Saturday night in Stillwater? For starters, the question is who will be the starter for OSU at quarterback. Wes Lunt is also on the mend list while in their last game Denton Guyer product J.W. Walsh more than adequately held the reins at quarterback.
Beyond that, it is fairly safe to say based on the early weeks of the season that this could be one of the most wide-open Big 12 Conference races in years.
Oklahoma was the trendy pick namely with the return of senior quarterback Landry Jones, but the Sooners stumbled at home last Saturday against Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats.
Lots of eyes this weekend will also be cast east as Baylor visits West Virginia in the Mountaineers' first conference game as a member of the Big 12. The Bears had their own struggles against Sam Houston State and Louisiana-Monroe but managed to pull out victories. The going will be tougher against Heisman Trophy contender Geno Smith and West Virginia.
But back to Texas. If ever it was true to "play one game at a time," it is now. The Horns follow up the trip to OSU with a home date against aforementioned West Virginia before meeting up with Oklahoma in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl.
Any temptation to look ahead should be quelled because of the caliber of competition in each of the next three weeks, and that does not even count Baylor in the fourth week.
Texas handled Mississippi in its last game, 66-31, and perhaps most comforting to see was quarterback David Ash taking more shots down field and letting his stable of talented receivers make some plays. It was a sight that fans have been waiting to see after mostly witnessing a short and check down passing game against Wyoming and New Mexico.
Overall, every team in the league has shown some flaws to go with the strengths. This could just possibly be one of those seasons when more than one team sits tied at the top of the conference with a couple of losses in league play once the season ends.
Texas should know shortly whether it is apt to be one of those teams or not.
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