I know we’ve got a date with the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Fiesta Bowl left this season, but let’s take a look at next season:
09/05 – Louisiana Monroe
09/12 – at Wyoming
09/19 – Central Florida
09/26 – UTEP
10/10 – Colorado
10/17 – Oklahoma (Dallas)
10/24 – at Missouri
10/31 – at Oklahoma State
11/07 – Texas Tech
11/14 – at Baylor
11/21 – Kansas
11/26 – at Texas A&M
That’s a non-conference schedule with one team from the Sun Belt Conference, one from the Mountain West, and two from Conference USA. Not a single opponent from a BCS conference.
At least they didn’t schedule a Division 1-AA team or two, as Texas Tech has been known to do.
To be fair, we were supposed to have a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas on the schedule, but they backed out earlier this year to play A&M at Jerry Jones’ new stadium in Dallas. That game was replaced with Wyoming.
And Utah pulled out as well. Although not from a BCS conference, they’ve been playing respectable or better ball for a few seasons now.
Confounding matters next year is a relatively weak conference schedule. No Nebraska. Texas Tech and Kansas at home. Best road games are Missouri and Oklahoma State. Of course, Texas can’t control this, but they can plan for it.
Texas must step up and schedule at least one respectable non-conference opponent every year. I would actually prefer they schedule a pair, so that if one pulls out (or has a down year), they’ve got a backup.
For instance, when Arkansas was scheduled for this season, they looked like they would be a decent opponent. Unfortunately, they sucked this year, and our other non-conference opponents were Florida Atlantic, UTEP and Rice. None of them were going to do much for our strength of schedule.
We do have home-and-homes with UCLA and Ole Miss scheduled for 2010-2011 and 2012-2013 respectively, so that will help for those seasons (if one or both doesn’t back out).
However, if we wish to play in the national championship game for the 2009 season, we’d better win every one of our games. A one-loss Texas team is not going to be shown much respect next year.