Texas Football: Can Longhorns Still Make a Run at a Big 12 Title in 2013?

Zach Shelton@@zachisagingerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

After tumbling to a 1-2 start, can Texas still make run at the Big 12 title?
After tumbling to a 1-2 start, can Texas still make run at the Big 12 title?Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since Mack Brown's debut season, the Texas Longhorns have started the season 1-2.With Big 12 play beginning this weekend, is there still time for the 'Horns to turn things around?

If there is any solace fans can find from Texas' two embarrassing losses, it is that both came against non-conference opponents. The 'Horns could have lost by both games by 100 and it would not affect their ability to win the Big 12.

Since this is a down year for the conference, the Longhorns can still get things turned around with a 9-0 or even an 8-1 record in Big 12 play. Yes, that means a team that has given up 926 rushing yards in three games could still make a BCS bowl as the Big 12 champion.

Whether that will actually happen is another matter. Texas is still in disarray, and its nine-game Big 12 slate is littered with teams that would like nothing more than to give the program a swift kick to the ribs.

Given the status of this team on both sides of the ball, a lot of these eager squads stand to do just that. 

Kansas State comes to Austin this week having beaten the 'Horns five times in a row dating back to their Big 12 opener in 2007. After that, five of Texas' final seven games are against mobile quarterbacks, to which it has already surrendered 366 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

The Longhorns have also been wrecked by opposing running backs, allowing 182 yards to BYU's Jamaal Williams and another 164 to Ole Miss' Jeff Scott. At that clip, even Kansas' James Sims stands to light up this defense, and fans should just pretend Baylor's Lache Seastrunk does not even exists for a few weeks.

But defense is far from the only problem. The Longhorn offense has only scored seven second-half points in its last two games, averaging under 3.5 yards per carry in each contest. Worse is that the nation's most-exprienced offensive line has allowed 19 tackles for loss, according to SB Nation's Wescott Eberts.

Only adding to the turmoil, the injuries are piling up as well. Do-it-all receiver Daje Johnson has been ruled out for Kansas State, while quarterback QB David Ash, WR Mike Davis and two starting offensive linemen are all listed as questionable.

There are just not many positive things to say about the Longhorns with nothing but must-win games remaining on the schedule. The issues are crippling both now and for the foreseeable future, especially with so many Big 12 offenses sporting mobile quarterbacks and talented tailbacks.

What Texas does have working in its favor is talent, and experienced talent at that. Worst-case scenario is that Texas fields 15 returning starters on Saturday, and most of those guys possess the type of skill other Big 12 schools can only wish for.

Once, if ever, that talent comes together and this team starts playing with some toughness, these Longhorns still have the potential to run the table in conference play. 

Until Brown and his staff figure out a way to coax that toughness out of their guys, this will continue to be a mediocre-at-best team, and any Big 12 aspirations will be based outside the realm of reality.