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How Does The Season Play Out?

Now that we know a bit about Texas and the teams remaining on our schedule, it's time to play the guessing game about how it will all play out and handicap our chances to play in a bowl game carried on any channel other than ESPN Deportes.

We're unranked, with a 3-2 record, and the view isn't pretty from here. The offense is in the bottom third of FBS and our defense - though technically Top 10 - has us wanting more. Special teams are a Jackson Pollock canvas of ineptitude. The "We're Texas" birthright to a ten win season looks shaky right now. Several games we've counted as sure wins in the preseason now look challenging, if not daunting.

Let's see how the the schedule plays out and try to project which way this thing breaks.

at Nebraska
Iowa State
at Kansas State
Oklahoma State
Florida Atlantic
Texas A&M

Nebraska is already being pencilled in as a loss by many.

Their defense promises to savage our offense like a terrier on a sweat sock and they can run the ball and do option type thingies with Martinez that can glamor our defense into enough brain lapses to get points on the board. I also boldly predict that their crowd will be hysterical in their bloodlust and in their desire to gain a decisive 2-8 record against us in Big 12 play. This is a likely loss, but Nebraska will put the ball on the grass, our bye week gives us extra prep time on defense, and they have a roadie to Kansas State to sweat this Thursday. There would be something particularly sweet about this Texas team upsetting them in Lincoln; with Nebraskans suiciding by harvesting combine by the dozens.

I exhaled in relief when I was reminded that our game against Iowa State is at home. Yes, that's where we are right now. They're well coached, they just laid into a Tech team we struggled mightily with, and they can run the ball. Amusingly, they have about the same quality resume we do at this juncture in the year. But. This. Can't. Happen.

A loss to Iowa State at home?

- gratuitous shot -It's not like we're Nebraska. - gratuitous shot -

You know what I wrote about being relieved that Iowa State is at home? That goes for Baylor too. RGIII is a magician, a win over Texas is the kind of thing that can add three more years to Briles' contract - keeping him stocked in Propecia well into the next century - and they just blew the doors off of Kansas 55-7. This game is interesting. It has no business being interesting, but it is. I'll take a win. Any win. If I were Briles, I'd rank Texas #6 on my coach's ballot the week before playing us just to see if I can make Mack Brown blow a gasket, forcing him to revisit the 2008 debacle in vivid PTSD flashbacks.

And now it's time for a road game against Longhorn kryptonite: Kansas State. A team that historically doesn't even have to be good in order to beat us. Kansas State can run the hell out of the ball with Daniel Thomas despite having a spare at QB, an OL full of 2 stars, and minimal outside receiving threats. It's almost as if you don't have to possess overwhelming athletic advantages at every position to run offense. I can assure you that they will out coach us, but we're better than they are player for player. Flip a coin. Preferably one heated up with a lighter onto the forehead of the KSU mascot, the heated metal lighting his mohair polyester blend costume, turning him into a sprinting fireball of pyrotechnic idiocy.

Oklahoma State is a game I'd pencilled in during preseason as a confidence-inspiring blowout, the game where Gilbert puts it together, throws for 350 and 4 TDs against a willing defense, we see the light turn on, setting us up for an undefeated tear down the stretch, including a bowl win. I suppose that could still happen. It's just that our offense seems locked in at 6 yards per attempt and 230 passing yards on 38 attempts no matter the opponent. Although that statistic obscures 250 yards of vital horizontal yardage. I like how we match up with them on defense and I think the Tech game is a reasonable comp for how we'll fare. Again, I'm glad it's in Austin, and yes it's sad that I keep writing that. After the game, OSU QB Brandon Weeden hooks up with a 44 year old triple divorcee at Maggie Maes and ends up retiring in Costa Rica.

Mark it down - the Florida Atlantic Owls will not come into Austin and push us around. We will win this game. Cocky? Overconfident? That's just how I roll. If anyone knows where I can find a Florida Atlantic message board, I say we start terrorizing them now.

Texas A&M looks like a competitive game. Tim DeRuyter is an excellent hire at DC and though he isn't playing cards with a full hand of defensive talent, a pair of 5s is usually sufficient to take Greg Davis' pot. His ability to disguise and bring pressure is something we won't handle well. A man holding his index finger over his lip and claiming its a moustache and talking in a falsetto is sufficient disguise for Greg Davis. Oh, DAD! I didn't recognize you! Prankster.

The Aggies do have massive issues on their OL and that's likely their undoing on offense unless Johnson puts on his dual threat hat and plays an amazing game as he did last year in College Station. They've certainly got the skill players to make you pay.

Final thoughts

Doing this exercise proved to me how few sure wins we have and that's scary.

7-0 is possible, as is 2-5, but neither is happening. 6-1, 5-2, or 4-3 seem most reasonable down the stretch.

Right now, my pyramid of loss concern goes:

@ Nebraska
@ Kansas State
A&M, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State
Florida Atlantic

I'm pleased we have 5 of our last 7 at home. Assuming we split our two roadies, and then drop one of A&M, OSU, ISU, Baylor at home, that leaves us with a 8-4 record and a likely trip to the Alamo or Holiday Bowl.

I can't wait to play Northwestern or Oregon State. Riveting stuff.

Am I wildly optimistic or embarrassingly pessimistic?