Every game counts: Must-wins and momentum builders for Texas college football
The early-season loss effectively derailed Arkansas’ championship aspirations. The team went from national title hopefuls to nowhere in the top 25. These are the kind of losses that can ruin a season and get coaches fired.
None of the major Texas schools suffered such a demise this weekend, but that loss serves as a reminder that grand plans could end abruptly. Here is a list of key points in the season for Texas teams:
University of Texas
Goal: To make it to a BCS bowl and become an elite program again
Momentum Builder:at Ole Miss September 15
Before heading into its brutal Big 12 schedule, Texas has a chance to make a statement against Ole Miss. A win would set the tone for the Longhorns as they prepares for a trip to Oklahoma State, a home game against conference favorite West Virginia and the annual Red River Rivalry with Oklahoma. A win on the road at an SEC school would go a long way toward giving the young Longhorns confidence.
Must Win: at Kansas October 27
The game is in Lawrence, where Kansas just suffered an embarrassing loss to Rice. The Jayhawks can’t be overlooked, or the Horns will tumble in the polls.
Make or Break Win: West Virginia October 6
Texas fans are so used to the annual grudge match with Oklahoma being the big game, they may overlook conference newcomer West Virginia. That would be a mistake, because the Mountaineers hung 70 points in the Orange Bowl last season. This game comes before the showdown with Oklahoma, and a win would give the Horns a great shot at a BCS bowl and send a message that they’re headed back toward the top of the conference.
Goal: Prove to future recruits that the team can survive an SEC schedule
Momentum Builder:Arkansas September 29
The Razorbacks are vulnerable after the big loss to Louisiana Monroe, and the Aggies get them in College Station. A win would prove to the players that they really do belong in the SEC.
Must Win: at Louisiana Tech October 13
Any momentum the Aggies might get from beating Arkansas will be given right back if they lose to Louisiana Tech.
Make or Break Win: LSU October 20
LSU is a conference favorite, but the game is in College Station. A win sends a message to the SEC — and the nation — that the Aggies are not to be triffled with at Kyle Field.
Goal: To regain the momentum the school had under Mike Leach
Momentum Builder:at Iowa State September 29
Nondelusional Tech fans know the team won’t go undefeated in conference play, but Iowa State is beatable. This game could set up Tech in the conference pecking order before the schedule gets really tough.
Must Win: Kansas November 10
The game is in Lubbock, and, again, the Jayhawks lost at home to Rice. I can’t stress that enough. A loss to embattled Kansas would be hard to recover from.
Make or Break Win: at TCU October 20
TCU is wedged between teams like Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas and Kansas State during a crushing month for Tech. A win against the young Horned Frogs can establish Tech as a still dangerous team in the conference. Lose here, and it could be look out below.
Goal: To prove that recent success wasn’t solely because of a certain Heisman winning quarterback.
Momentum Builder:TCU October 13
The Bears have several patsies followed by a game with West Virginia to begin the season, so the team will most likely only have one loss going into this game. A win shows that the Bears are more than just Robert Griffin III.
Must Win: Louisiana Monroe September 21
Remember these guys? They’ve already slain one giant this season, so Baylor has to stay frosty and not overlook this one.
Make or Break Win: Kansas State November 17
The Bears will have some wins and some losses at this point. Kansas State is very dangerous, but Baylor gets them in Waco. Win this game and the Bears could make it to a decent bowl. Lose and it will be tough convincing people that recent success isn’t all due to RGIII.
Goal: To prove that the team belongs in a major conference
Momentum Builder:Virginia September 22
Virginia is the first team from a major conference that TCU plays this year. A win proves to people that TCU belongs with the bigger schools.
Must Win: at SMU September 29
It’s time for the Horned Frogs to leave the past behind. If they want to be major players in the Big 12, they have to turn the cross-town rivalry with SMU into a one-sided affair.
Make or Break Win: Texas Tech October 20
TCU has an easy start to the Big 12 schedule, but that’s because the nastiest teams all come at the end. The Horned Frogs need to beat Texas Tech in Fort Worth to gain some confidence before they go on to play five conference favorites in a row, with three of the games on the road.