- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Texas doesn’t kickoff its season opener for another 53 days, but you want answers.
You need to know how David Ash will do this season, how the Longhorns defense will come together and how many wins are on the way. You want to know what bowl game Texas plays in.
We have answers. Or, at least, a video game might. We simulated Texas’ season with the new “Play a Season” mode on “NCAA Football 14,” which hits stores on Tuesday. Here’s how it went.
Week 1: No. 15 Texas 48, New Mexico State 3
The up-temp offense gets off to a good start with 446 total yards and four David Ash TD passes. With Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders benched, Ash finds Mike Davis for 104 yards and three scores on six catches.
Week 2: No. 15 Texas 34, BYU 14
The Longhorns jump ahead 14-0 and never trail on the road. Ash surprises BYU with 51 rushing yards, and Johnathan Gray accounts for 115 total yards. Peter Jinkens is one of three Longhorns to grab an INT.
Week 3: No. 23 Ole Miss 24, No. 13 Texas 21 (OT)
Down 21-10 at the half, Texas rallies and an Ash-to-M.J. McFarland score with 37 seconds left forces overtime. But they come up empty in OT and Ole Miss wins on a field goal. Rebs RB Jeff Scott goes for 125 yards against the UT defense.
Week 4: No. 18 Texas 34, No. 12 Kansas State 20
The curse is broken! Texas finally beats Bill Snyder thanks to big days from Jaxon Shipley (115 yards, 3 TDs) and Gray. Ash throws 3 INTs, though, and Tyrone Swoopes is solid in his debut: 101 yards passing, 21 rushing.
Week 6: No. 13 Texas 41, Iowa State 13
Ash regroups during the bye and has no trouble against winless ISU. A hip injury sidelines Davis, so Shipley is the star again with nine catches for 147 yards. Jordan Hicks stays healthy, picks off a pass and now leads UT with 3.5 sacks. OU knocks off TCU to enter the Red River Rivalry undefeated.
Week 7: No. 13 Texas 37, No. 4 Oklahoma 14
Wow. They actually did it. Texas starts the game on a long TD from Ash to Davis and pulls away with 21 in the third quarter. Blake Bell throws two INTs and Texas holds Damien Williams to 28 yards on six carries. The Longhorns win with balance: 200 rushing yards and 100-yard receiving games from both Shipley and Davis.
Week 9: TCU 38, No. 6 Texas 31
Casey Pachall hits Brandon Carter for a 55-yard touchdown with three seconds left to steal this one. Ouch. Carter absolutely destroys the Longhorns -- nine catches, 237 yards, four TDs -- and, even worse, Ash gets hurt and Swoopes’ two INTs prove costly.
Week 10: No. 14 Texas 27, Kansas 13
The Longhorns escape with 17 consecutive points in the fourth quarter. Ash returns from injury and leads the comeback. Jackson Jeffcoat, mired in a rough season, gets his first sack in three games and has 2.5 on the year.
Week 11: No. 15 Texas 30, West Virginia 3
No Geno Smith and Tavon Austin means no trouble for Texas’ defense, which holds WVU to 94 passing yards. LSU knocks off No. 1 Alabama, moving Nebraska to the top of the polls and one-loss Texas A&M to No. 2.
Week 12: No. 15 Texas 31, Oklahoma State 10
OSU, a Big 12 title contender in real life, drops to 5-5 on the year. We’ve got a three-way tie atop the league with Texas, OU and KSU all 6-1 in Big 12 play. The Longhorns hold tiebreakers over both. Nebraska is still No. 1, but nine other teams are 10-1. This BCS race is about to get crazy.
Week 14: No. 13 Texas 51, Texas Tech 17
Mike Davis burns Texas Tech again, this time for seven catches, 169 yards and two scores. Texas holds the nation’s leading passer, Michael Brewer, to 173 yards and sacks him six times, two from Malcom Brown. Meanwhile, A&M loses to Missouri.
Week 15: No. 11 Texas 34, Baylor 20
Like OSU, Baylor disappoints in this simulation and finishes 4-8. After another nice showing, Ash is up to 27 TDs and 9 INTs on the year. The Sooners are No. 3 in the BCS, but thanks it its head-to-head victory, Texas wins the Big 12 championship with a record of 10-2. OU gets some consolation when Blake Bell wins the Heisman.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 10 Texas 31, UCF 6
Two couple unlikely heroes lead the way for the Longhorns: Case McCoy relieves an injured Ash and throws for 134 yards and a score, and Malcolm Brown carries the offense with 135 rushing yards. Texas finishes 11-2 and No. 6 in the polls.
National champion: Funny story. Top-ranked Nebraska loses to Wisconsin (again) in the Big Ten title game. That bumps Ohio State to No. 1, and in the national title game the Buckeyes meet ... Alabama, who slipped in thanks to an SEC championship win over Florida. Bama wins, 34-29, for its fourth title in five years. Roll Tide.
What it means: Nothing, of course, but I’m guessing the average Texas fan would take 11-2, a Big 12 title and a Fiesta Bowl victory in a heartbeat going into the real 2013 season.