The Texas football schedule might say bye, but in reality, the Longhorns are facing the most important opponent they will see all year.
Texas is at a crossroads, 5-3 after dropping two of three games and barely squeaking by Kansas 50-48 on a last-second field goal.
There are a ton of potential paths coming out of the bye week for the Longhorns, but two seem to be the most prevalent. Is this a team that goes on a four-game run that ends with another trip to AT&T Stadium in Dallas and a shot at a Big 12 title, or is this team going to fall back into the middle of the pack in the league in year three of the Herman era?
If odds were made now Texas would likely be an underdog in two of its final four games - at Iowa State and at Baylor. The Longhorns will be a narrow favorite at best in two weeks when Kansas State comes to town.
Yes, there will be reinforcements to help Texas navigate the daunting remaining slate. Caden Sterns is likely the best pure tackler in the Texas secondary. He'll return from a knee ligament injury suffered against Oklahoma State. B.J. Foster and DeMarvion Overshown will also be back after missing last week with injuries.
Against Kansas State, we'll see the closest version to full strength we've seen all year in the defensive backfield. On offense, Jordan Whittington finally gets a chance to deliver on the major hype that has surrounded him since he arrived on campus.
But it's going to take more than just a few new players to fix what has ailed this Texas team in 2019. This is a team that has to get better fundamentally at every level over the next few days.
The offensive line must get better at switching off on stunts and slants. The defense must improve its form and technique as tacklers. The kick return game has to improve and put the other side of the ball in better situations.
Most importantly, the coaching staff has to better convey what they want out of their schemes and put these young players in better positions to make plays.
If the Longhorns come out of this bye week with these problems addressed, the entire fanbase will barely remember this period of doubt six months from now.
But if Texas can't get things fixed and stumble down the stretch, it's going to be a very uncomfortable offseason in Austin.