Schedule analysis: Texas Longhorns

Tom Herman will face his first key test as Texas' coach in mid-September, with a road contest against USC. John Gutierrez/USA TODAY Sports

With the season just weeks away, we’ve been reviewing the schedule for each Big 12 team.

We continue the series with Texas:

Nonconference opponents (with 2016 record)

Sept. 2: Maryland (6-7)

Sept. 9: San Jose State (4-8)

Sept. 16: at USC (10-3)

Big 12 home games

Oct. 7: Kansas State

Oct. 21: Oklahoma State

Nov. 11: Kansas

Nov. 24: Texas Tech

Big 12 road games

Sept. 28: at Iowa State

Oct. 28: at Baylor

Nov. 4: at TCU

Nov. 18: at West Virginia

Big 12 neutral games

Oct. 14: Oklahoma (Dallas)

Gut-check time: Can we just include the first seven weeks of the season? The first half of Texas' schedule is absolutely brutal, and could wind up featuring four games against opponents ranked in the top 15. That doesn't even include a dangerous Thursday night road trip to Iowa State, which shut out the Longhorns the last time they met in Ames. If Tom Herman makes it to late-October of his first season with a winning record, look out.

Trap game: Before having to face Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks, the Longhorns have to go to Iowa State. The Cyclones have played Texas tough in recent years, especially in Ames. Texas better not look ahead, as tempting as it might be.

Snoozer: Sandwiched between the showdowns against Maryland and USC is a dud against San Jose State. A dud the Longhorns certainly will cherish, given how difficult the schedule is the first half of the season.

Final analysis: Talent has never been Texas' issue, and it certainly won't be in Herman's first season. But the schedule is completely unforgiving, given that Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and USC could all be preseason top 10 teams. Texas could build some major momentum down the stretch. But that will require survival through the first two months.