The quick and dirty answer: the Horns have a fight on their hands in 2015. Between a stout non-conference slate, and a strong Big 12 conference featuring difficult road trips, hosting a regional series is no gimme.
The inexperienced Texas pitching staff will need to find their feet early with an opening 4-game series against Rice in Houston. The veteran Parker French opens the series on Friday, first-baseman-turned-starting-pitcher-and-I-can't-imagine-why Kacy Clemens and former bullpen lefty Josh Sawyer will split the Saturday double header, and postseason revelation (and Aggie slayer) Chad Hollingsworth finishes out the series on Sunday.
Following the trip to Houston, the Horns get a set of consecutive home series against Minnesota (4 games) and San Diego (3 games) before heading west for a 4 game series against the Stanford Cardinal, where they hope to avenge the 2013 sweep in Palo Alto.
The final remaining non-conference series sends the Horns to Lincoln, Nebraska for a late-March series after Big 12 play has started. Tuesday match-ups against UTSA, UTPA, Incarnate Word, UT Arlington, Texas State, TAMU-CC, Wichita State, Sam Houston State, and Prairie View A&M complete the non-conference slate.
The difficult non-conference group of games sets the Horns up for an even more difficult conference run. The Horns open up conference play at home against West Virginia the weekend of March 13th - 15th and face Kansas State at home the following weekend.
After the midseason trip to Nebraska, Big 12 play kicks off in earnest with a trip to Stillwater to face 2014 Big 12 champion Oklahoma State (picked to finish 3rd in 2015), who took 2 of 3 in Austin in 2014. The next weekend the Oklahoma Sooners come to Austin fresh off a 2014 sweep by the Horns in Norman. Following the Red River Rivalry, Texas heads to Lawrence to take on a Jayhawk squad that also took 2 of 3 in Austin in 2014.
If Texas hopes to win the Big 12, the weekend of April 24th - 26th will be key, when the Horns head to Fort Worth to take on Big 12 favorite TCU. TCU took 8 of 9 preseason 1st place votes and swept the Horns in Austin in 2014, so Augie and company will have their work cut out for them.
To finish conference play, the Horns get a home stand against 2014 CWS participant Texas Tech and a trip north on 35 to take on the Baylor Bears, the squad that sparked an early 6 game conference winning streak that buoyed the Horns' 2014 season.
The 2015 schedule does the Horns no favors. Out of conference, road trips to top 25 teams in Stanford and Rice and a mid-conference trip to Nebraska make for a difficult 10 games. In conference, the Horns will travel to the Big 12 favorite in TCU and 3rd place team in Oklahoma State, both teams finding themselves top 10 nationally preseason and a pair of teams the Horns went a combined 1-5 against in 2014. Only the series against Texas Tech coming at home is against a team voted in the top half of the conference preseason.
A favorable postseason march to Omaha will require a strong showing at home or some impressive outtings on the road.
What weekends are you highlighting, Horns fans?