Could Texas' non-league slate be a national-title albatross?

January, 16, 2009
1/16/09
9:51
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman had an interesting story earlier this week about Texas considering some major late changes in its nonconference schedule for the 2009 season and beyond.

Bohls reported that Texas and Wisconsin were in serious talks about a 2009 game in Austin. But that discussion finally bogged down when the two schools couldn't arrange for a return game to Wisconsin until at least 2013. Texas officials had even agreed to shift its Sept. 19 game against Central Florida to a future season, but still couldn't agree to a potential deal with the Badgers.

Texas senior assistant athletic director Butch Worley also told Bohls that the Longhorns are considering trying to get Notre Dame back on their schedule for the first time since 1996. That game makes sense because the Irish are desperate to have upcoming games in the talent-rich recruiting area of Texas.

Such discussion from Texas officials is interesting after the Longhorns were barely nosed out by Oklahoma for the Big 12 South Division title game berth after the Sooners and Longhorns finished in a three-way tie for the division crown with Texas Tech.

Texas' four-game 2008 nonconference schedule featured games against Florida Atlantic, Rice, Arkansas and UTEP, while Oklahoma's was marked by games against No. 7 TCU and No. 17 Cincinnati along with Tennessee-Chattanooga and Washington.

It's clear that the Sooners got a boost from the stronger nonconference schedule. And it undoubtedly helped the Sooners nose out the Longhorns in the final BCS standings despite Texas' 45-35 head-to-head victory over Oklahoma earlier in the season.

The Longhorns again could be facing a similarly weak nonconference schedule dilemma compared to the South Division's other projected powers. Here's how the top projected teams in the conference measure up for 2009.

Oklahoma: BYU (at Arlington, Texas), at Miami, Tulsa, one game to be determined.

Texas: Louisiana-Monroe, Central Florida, UTEP, at Wyoming.

Oklahoma State: Georgia, Rice, Grambling, Houston.

It's understandable why the Longhorns are beating the bushes trying to beef up their nonconference schedule. Because as it stands now, they are definitely behind both the Sooners and the Cowboys in terms of strength of nonconference schedules.

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