Is Mack Brown already toast? Popular opinion suggests as much, and it's only mid-September, which potentially lends every Longhorns game an added layer of volatility. Texas has been terrible over the last couple of weeks, giving up 40 points or more in losses to BYU and Ole Miss. Kansas State would seemingly present Texas with an opportunity to turn things around, but under the circumstances, there's just no telling.
The Wildcats opened the season with a loss at home to North Dakota State, and since then they have taken care of business against Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass. This road game at Texas comes under ideal circumstances. The pressure is squarely on the Longhorns, and Brown's job status will be an ongoing distraction.
The telling thing about the state of Texas' program is the Longhorns opened as a two-score favorite in Vegas, but the line dropped precipitously, and did so quickly. The coaching situation in Austin seems to have everybody doubting the 'Horns.
Rankings and records: Kansas State is 2-1 on the season, while Texas is 1-2. The Wildcats are 8-5 all-time against the Longhorns, and they're riding a five-game winning streak in this series.
Vegas: Texas opened as a nine-point favorite, but that line has dropped significantly, falling as low as Texas by 3.5 points.
Weather: The high is expected to hit 82, and there is a 9 percent chance of rain in the evening.
Three names to know
David Ash/Case McCoy -- Ash suffered an injury against BYU, forcing McCoy into action last weekend. McCoy averaged just 5.4 yards per attempt against Ole Miss and he's at just 5.6 for the season, well below Ash's 9.6 average per attempt. Ash might not be able to play in this one.
Jake Waters -- Waters has the unenviable task of replacing Collin Klein, but he has been pretty good so far. He has completed more than 68 percent of his throws and is averaging 9.6 yards per attempt. That's the good news. The bad? He already has thrown five interceptions.
Jaxon Shipley -- Whoever ends up starting under center will have a reliable target in Shipley, who has 19 receptions for 228 yards in three games to lead the Longhorns. Between Shipley and Mike Davis, the 'Horns have one position they definitely can count on.
Two things at stake
The season is dangerously close to getting away from Brown and the Longhorns, to say the least. They have to win this game in order to restore some confidence heading into the rest of the league slate. Defeat in this case means a 1-3 start, and where do the Longhorns go from there? Would that be the start of a real turn for the ugly?
Kansas State isn't the same team that won 11 games a year ago -- we know this much. The Wildcats can't be discarded as long as Bill Snyder is running the show, however, and this is an early litmus test. That North Dakota State loss can eventually become a distant memory, or it can begin to look like a season-defining moment.
How to watch
TV: ABC (8 p.m. ET)