Which UT is for real
How was this game even close?
On paper, this was a game that Texas should have won easily. The Horns were 24 point favorites against a Baylor team that was throttled by Kansas last week, and Texas has won the previous nine contests against the Bears by an average of 41 points.
So why in the heck was this one so difficult? Texas won the game by 21 points, but it took a couple of late scores to make the final tally look more one-sided than it actually was.
At the risk of oversimplifying things, Texas simply did not play well in key areas, and the Horns took a big step backward after playing well against Iowa State and Oklahoma. Texas moved the ball well overall, accumulating 470 yards of total offense, but the Longhorns made critical errors that kept the game closer than it needed to be. Colt McCoy was not sharp, the receivers let some balls slip through their fingers and a couple of the coaching decisions were real head-scratchers, especially early.
Going for it on fourth-and-five in the first quarter was a mistake, as was the decision to run the ball on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Those same decisions wouldn't have been made if it was a close game against Oklahoma, TCU or Texas A&M, and the coaches shouldn't completely abandon the book just because it's Baylor on the other side of the field, especially when it's a close game.
Overall, this might have been the Horns' worst performance of the year, but the team is fortunate that it came against an opponent the caliber of Baylor.
Should fans put more stock into this game or the last two weeks?
It would be nice to say that this game was out of the norm, but it's hard to ignore the fact that Texas has struggled with a few opponents that it should have blown out.
After beating up on Iowa State, the team, the fans and the media were singing the Horns' praises for playing the way that most expected before the season began, and Texas certainly deserves credit for dominating in all phases in that win.
The same praise was heaped on the team after putting up a good fight against Oklahoma two Saturdays ago, but that effort lost some of its luster after OU struggled to get a win against Iowa State this weekend.
All last week, fans heard that that the team had refocused after the Oklahoma loss, but that's a tough pill to swallow after the first-half showing against a bad Baylor team.
The good news for Texas is that the Horns got the win, and Texas still has a chance to win all of the games on the remainder of the schedule. But the weekly task is about to get much tougher, and Texas is going to have to play much better on both sides of the ball if it hopes to avoid another loss or two.
Why did Colt McCoy and the offense struggle?
McCoy seemed to have regained his rhythm after strong showings against OU and Iowa State, but he struggled at times on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore completed a very respectable 25-of-34 attempts for 293 yards, but he did throw two interceptions against just one touchdown.
McCoy seemed to be slightly off-target on some fairly easy throws, and he and the Texas receivers could not seem to find a groove when a passing play was called. But those are issues that are going to pop up from time to time, and it's conceivable that McCoy could slip right back into all-Big 12 form next week.
Perhaps more alarming is the fact that the Texas offense seems to struggle every time a defense takes away the deep ball, forcing the Horns to move the chains with underneath passes or through the running game. Texas rushed for 177 yards on the game but averaged just 4.8 yards per carry. Through the air, the offense seems to do fine on the majority of plays when the defense forces underneath throws, but before the Horns can find the end zone, a missed play here or there causes drives to stall.
Playing over the top coverage has worked for defenses all year, and it worked again on Saturday. It's a scheme that the Horns will surely see again in the coming weeks, and it's up to McCoy and the offense to find a way to move the ball in long, ball-controlled drives.
Does Texas have any chance of winning the Big 12 South?
Things looked pretty good there for a while, with Oklahoma struggling against Iowa State. But the Horns' chances of winning the conference crown did little to improve on Saturday, with OU and Texas A&M both winning.
Texas now sits at 2-2 in conference play, with the Sooners having a one-game advantage in the standings at 3-1, not to mention the head-to-head win over the Horns.
Basically, Texas needs a minor miracle and some unexpected help from every team in the Big 12 South in order to get back to the Big 12 title game. It's a longshot at this point, but this year's race has shown that any team is capable of falling on any given Saturday.
Where does the team go from here??
After two weeks of solid play and two consecutive wins, Texas suffered a bit of letdown in the win over Baylor, but the Horns should still maintain some momentum heading down the stretch of Big 12 play.
Texas should enter this week's game against Nebraska with a chip on its shoulder after struggling against an overmatched Baylor team. But, it's been damn near impossible to pick up the pulse of this year's Longhorns, so it's hard to say how the team will respond in the game against the Huskers. The match-up with the Huskers was one that many fans had circled before the season began, but it's certainly lost some of its luster with the way the two teams have played, particularly with Nebraska having gone in the tank in recent weeks.
The Longhorns have now made it through the easiest stretch of their schedule, and it came at perfect time. From here on out, things will get much more difficult and Texas will have to be on top of its game against every opponent or risk an upset.
In the national polls, Texas should climb the ranks and creep into the high teens, but the team will have to perform well to prevent a fall.