The past several seasons have been frustrating for Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns.
Brown's Longhorns appearing in the 2009 BCS title game, but the program has gone into a rut ever since -- despite bringing in tons of talent every year. The quarterback situation had been the primary cause for the team's issues, but that seems to be in the past with David Ash firmly entrenched as the starter.
Now, with 19 starters back from 2012, the time seems right for Texas to get back to the top. Their schedule could create for a bumpy road, though, if things don't work out right.
2013 Texas schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
The Longhorns open with a cupcake game against New Mexico State, but the rest of their non-conference schedule is no joke. Texas travels to BYU and hosts Ole Miss in Austin and, unfortunately for the Longhorns, both of those teams are capable of pulling off an upset. They'll need the healthy competition, however, as it should get them ready for a cutthroat season in the Big 12.
The good news for Texas is that their three most difficult games (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU) are broken up with a bit easier games in between. The Longhorns take a potentially tricky appearance at Iowa State the week before the Red River Rivalry, however, so there's a chance that they could get caught looking ahead. Texas needs to make a statement against Oklahoma, too -- a team they haven't beat since 2009.
A win in the Cotton Bowl would be enormous from a mental standpoint, but the hard work doesn't end there. TCU and Oklahoma State both figure to be in the conference title race, too, and Texas finishes the season with a pair of tough games against Texas Tech and at Baylor. The Longhorns will need to be on point every week or the losses could pile up in a hurry.
Texas is a difficult team to project because even though they have a wealth of talent and experience returning, their recent history doesn't make for high confidence in their chances. The Longhorns will snap out of their funk eventually, though, and 2013 has all the ingredients to be the year they return to double digit wins.