After two straight frustrating losses, in which they blew two consecutive double-digit, Steve Sarkisian's Texas Longhorns are at the inflection point of their 2021 season.
A conference championship appearance still isn't completely out of the question. But in order to get there, a lot will have to fall in the Horns' way.
First, Texas will have to take care of their own business, and that starts in Waco on Saturday against the Baylor Bears.
However, this is a vastly different Baylor team than has been seen in years past.
Under Dave Aranda, Baylor has made a remarkable turnaround, moving from a 2-7 record in 2020 to a 6-1 record in 2021.
The Bears also sit 3-1 in the Big 12 and tied for second place with Oklahoma State (Cowboys hold the tiebreaker) and Iowa State.
More importantly, their identity lies on the defensive side of the football.
After their 38-24 Week 8 win, Baylor ranks 19th in the country in scoring defense, and 32nd in total defense -- a far cry from the Art Briles days in Waco.
This presents a unique challenge for the Longhorns, who have struggled to move the ball against the better defenses they have faced this season.
However, Texas hired Steve Sarkisian for a reason.
He has made a living deconstructing the top defenses in college football, and he has had two weeks to figure out this one.
If he can do it here, Texas will find itself in prime position to get back in the Big 12 race.
And If he can't, Texas' path the bowl eligibility becomes noticeably precarious.
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