With Baylor headed to Austin this Saturday for what's sure to be a lopsided beat down, it's time Texas fans start playing the Who To Root For game. It's only October, and this will change weekly, but it's time to start thinking about who the Horns want to win and lose each week if they're to have a shot at playing for the BCS title.
First of all, of course, all bets are off if Texas loses another game. So all of the below projections are based on Texas winning out. Which is by no means a given. With that caveat, let's discuss it.
Missouri - BON's newest rabble rouser MOLonghorn will be pleased to see this selection, but the rest of us need to start waving our pom poms for the Tigers the rest of this season. The Longhorns would benefit immensely from the Big 12 North winner being an undefeated, highly ranked team. If the Tigers beat Oklahoma in Columbia, and take out Nebraska and Texas A&M on the road, they'll have a great shot at being an impressive 12-0 heading into the Big 12 title game. That would likely leave the Tigers in the Top 10 of the BCS standings, which would mean a solid computer victory for the Horns should they win.
Ohio State - It's going to be awfully difficult for Texas to make it to Glendale if the Buckeyes lose. Unless Ohio State loses two contests - which seems unfathomable at this point - a Buckeye loss would be bad, bad news for Texas' national title hopes. A one-loss Ohio State squad almost assuredly stays ahead of the Horns in the pecking order, so Texas' best chance is to aim for a rematch.
Cal or Notre Dame over USC - The Horns need the Trojans to drop a game to move ahead. Both Cal and Notre Dame are likely to remain behind Texas if the Horns win out, but someone's still got to beat USC.
Anyone over Florida - The Gators have an inside track to the title game if they win out. Realistically, Texas might even need the Gators to lose in the regular season. A tight loss in the SEC championship game might not drop the Gators below the Horns.
Ohio State over Michigan - As hard as that it is to say - I really like Michigan's squad this year - if you're rooting for Texas to get back to the title game, you're going to have to cheer for the scarlet and grey in this one. That, or root for Michigan to lose to Iowa.
Louisville over West Virginia - For some reason, it's West Virginia that's captured the national attention, and because they've been a part of the narrative since the beginning (and remain so now, with two first place votes in the AP poll), they're the ones Texas needs to lose. Louisville's actually got the better resume, but if one of the two teams is going to get passed up for a one-loss Texas team, it's Louisville. Sad, but true.
This week in the Big 12 - Root for Oklahoma over Iowa State; Texas Tech over Colorado; and Nebraska over Kansas State.
And most of all, root for Texas to keep winning big. Really big.