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Evaluating Texas State's Non-Conference Schedule Additions

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The Bobcats have released both their 2015 and 2016 non-conference schedules, and the offerings are a mixed bag of goodies and duds.

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In the olden days of Bobcat lore, deciphering what Texas State's future football schedules would look like often involved heaping amounts of research, speculation, lies, conjecture, and refreshing FBSSchedules.com until their servers crashed. The collective reaction of Bobcat Nation (and affiliated media) was therefore likely one of shock, joy, and relief when the Texas State athletic department released *both* the 2015 and 2016 out of conference schedules last month.

But what do the schedules look like, and what do the games mean to the fans and the program?

2015 OOC Schedule

The road schedule goes hard in 2015. At home? Not as much.

September 5: at Florida State Seminoles

Welp.

Upsides: There are a few nuggets of good news for what will likely be a bodybag payday game for Texas State in Tallahassee. For one, Jameis Winston won't be suiting up, and all of us Bobcats remember what happened the last time a seemingly overmatched Texas State team faced off against a team breaking in a new quarterback. The entire country outside of the Florida panhandle will be rooting for the Bobcats, for what that's worth. Those of us lucky enough to have enough personal time off banked to make a road trip to FSU have a great excuse for an extended stay in New Orleans along the way. Finally, it's Texas State's first game against a truly elite FBS program--no, A&M, you don't count--and will be a learning experience regardless of outcome.

Downsides: Have fun cashing that check, Larry Teis.

September 12: vs. Prairie View A&M Panthers

Meh.

Upsides: Unlike 2014's sacrificial FCS lamb UAPB, Prairie View should have something resembling a pulse. It should also hopefully give Texas State a chance for the starters to rest up after a brutal road game in Tallahassee.

Downsides: Even though Dennis Franchione's made it clear that Texas State will schedule a lower division opponent every season, that doesn't make it any more fun for the fans. Nor will it do much to help Texas State stand out to any of the bowl committees that snubbed the Bobcats this past season. Plus there's always the question of exactly how much value the team gets out of playing a SWAC school, which is likely somewhere in between "not much" and "diddly squat."

September 19: vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Amazingly, this may be the toughest home game for the entire year.

Upsides: Southern Miss is a recognizable opponent with a proud history. Although the most casual of Bobcat football fans may not see the Golden Eagles as worthy of a draw as, say, Navy or Texas Tech, this game should still be well attended. They're beatable yet have enough talent to provide a worthy test and barometer for how good the 2015 iteration of Texas State will be.

Downsides: Unless USM finally takes a step forward towards reclaiming their former glory, this matchup won't have a lot of "pop" for bowl committees as the Golden Eagles have been on a decidedly downward trend the past few seasons.

September 26: at Houston Cougars

This should be fun.

Upsides: Tyler Jones's scrambling and Tom Herman's new offense should be a delight to watch for both fanbases and football junkies. Both teams are also known for heart attack finishes. There should also be some additional spice to this series because of Texas State's 2012 upset and the addition of multiple former Bobcat assistants in Jason Washington and Craig Naivar to the UH staff. Additionally, a win against a team with name recognition like Houston would stand out to bowl committees.

Downsides: Only in the sense that it'll be a tough matchup.

2016 OOC Schedule

Three fun games and one real stinker in this bunch.

September 3: at Ohio Bobcats

Once again Texas State starts their season with a test on the road.

Upsides: Much like 2013's opener at Southern Miss, Texas State starts out with a tough but winnable matchup at a peer G5 school. Watching Dennis Franchione go up against Frank Solich could also be an interesting face-off between elder coaching statesmen.

Downsides: The Bobcats vs. Bobcats jokes will probably get old by the spring game.

September 17: at Arkansas Razorbacks

Another year, another paycheck.

Upsides: It's an easy enough roadie for Bobcat fans to make, and the BERT vs. Dennis Franchione matchup should provide ample amount of material for internet hijinks. If Texas State can manage to upset an SEC school, well...

Downsides: Unlike last year's matchup at Illinois, imagining that Texas State could keep up with an Arkansas team fully loaded with Bielema's recruits is difficult.

September 24: vs. Houston Cougars

If this game doesn't sell out, it'll be a huge disappointment.

Upsides: Here is the type of game Texas State should try to schedule every season. Tom Herman vs. (senior) Tyler Jones, again. Texas State fans desperately wanting to make this matchup a true rivalry should make the atmosphere electric in Bobcat Stadium. Houston should bring plenty of fans if for some reason Bobcat fans have any problem selling the place out.

Downsides: Are you kidding?

October 1: vs. Incarnate Word Cardinals

NO NO STOP THIS AT ONCE.

Upsides: There's the San Marcos vs. San Antonio rivalry angle since UTSA's not on the schedule until 2017. Yes, I'm reaching here.

Downsides: Scheduling home games as a Sun Belt school can be difficult, but did the athletic department learn nothing from UAPB? They just scheduled an FCS startup that all of the Southland Conference sans fellow startup Houston Baptist and perennially hapless Nicholls pummeled and will likely continue to pummel for years.

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What do you think about the Bobcats' future non-conference schedules? Leave a comment below.