The Lone Star State loves to do things big. Sam Houston’s move up to the FBS ranks means that the state of Texas is home to 13 FBS programs – more than any other state. And thus, a pilgrimage awaits. Would it be possible to attend a game at each of the 13 FBS stadiums within the same football season? It turns out that the answer is yes.
Here is the 2023 Ultimate Texas Tour that includes a trip to each FBS stadium in Texas. You'd watch 21 games over 13 weeks. Eight of the 13 weeks include two games due to the growing presence of midweek matchups.
WEEK 1 – Colorado at TCU
Start the year with a trip to Fort Worth to watch national runner-up TCU begin the year against Deion Sanders’ new look Colorado Buffaloes. Sonny Dykes led the Horned Frogs to a 12-0 regular season and a victory over Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. Sanders, who makes a home in the DFW area, is a former Dallas Cowboy who turned over an FBS roster in an unprecedented manner during his first offseason in Boulder. This might be the most anticipated game in Week 1 across all of college football with Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff expected in town.
The other option is heading to Houston to watch the Cougars host Jeff Traylor’s Roadrunners. It’ll likely be the better game. Houston won the 2022 matchup in San Antonio in a three-overtime thriller.
Second choice: UTSA at Houston
WEEK 2 – Oregon at Texas Tech
There are big-time out-of-state matchups with Texas heading to Alabama and Texas A&M traveling to Miami, but the name of the game is to stay in Texas. Luckily for us, the Red Raiders host Oregon in a potential top 25 matchup in West Texas. Come out on Friday and hang out with the Gamblin’ Gauchos and then take in a great game and atmosphere at Jones AT&T Stadium. Grab a bite at Dirk’s Chicken or take a quick drive to Rejino Barbecue in Olton.
Second choice: Baylor vs. Utah
WEEK 3 – Army at UTSA (Fri.); Jackson State at Texas State
The first double dip of the season involves a pair of quality G5 contests. The first is in San Antonio when UTSA takes on Army. The 2022 game between the two teams was a classic. Find Lot C and have a blast. Stay near the Riverwalk after the game and then head to San Marcos the next day to watch Texas State host Jackson State. The weather should still be warm enough to walk around campus and take in the beautiful scenery. The other option is to head to Houston and watch the Cougars play TCU in their first Big 12 contest. Dana Holgorsen and Sonny Dykes are great friends, which should add to the drama.
Second choice: TCU at Houston
WEEK 4 – Texas at Baylor
The press box view in McLane Stadium is arguably the best in Texas, though the Sun Bowl in El Paso would hold an objection. The Longhorns are the early betting favorite to win the Big 12 thanks to a loaded roster and experience on the offensive side. Baylor is an enigma with two losing seasons bookmarking an historic 12-win season that culminated in a Sugar Bowl win and a Big 12 championship. This might be the last time Texas plays in Waco for a long time. The crowd should be outstanding.
Or go to DFW and watch the Iron Skillet between TCU and SMU. Dykes has won the last three Iron Skillets.
Second choice: TCU at SMU
WEEK 5 – Jacksonville State at Sam Houston (Thursday); Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Arlington)
Unique scheduling in Conference USA allows us to head to Huntsville on Thursday to watch the Bearkats’ conference debut against a fellow former FCS power. Head up I-45 towards Arlington on Friday and then hit the always fun contest between former SWC rivals Texas A&M and Arkansas in Jerry World.
Second choice: Texas Tech at Houston
WEEK 6 – Texas vs. Oklahoma (Dallas)
This was a tough week with the Aggies hosting Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide on the same day, but the State Fair offers a unique backdrop that every college fan should enjoy at least one time. Buy more tickets than you expect to use (you’ll use them) and grab a corny dog, some beer, and dominate a few carnival games before heading into the Cotton Bowl to watch two rivals play in their final Big 12 meeting. Hopefully, Texas A&M vs. Alabama is in primetime so that a double header is possible.
Second choice: Texas A&M vs. Alabama
WEEK 7 – West Virginia at Houston (Thur.); Kansas State at Texas Tech
Another two-game week appears in Week 7 as Holgorsen’s Cougars host his former club in the two schools’ first battle as conference foes. Get to the game early and climb to the top of TDECU Stadium for a beautiful view of Houston. Take a plane from Houston to Lubbock on Friday to watch the reigning Big 12 champion Kansas State battle Big 12 dark horse Texas Tech. An easier drive is up I-45 to Fort Worth to watch the Horned Frogs face BYU.
Second choice: TCU vs. BYU
WEEK 8 – New Mexico State at UTEP (Wednesday); Texas at Houston
A college football trip through the Lone Star State isn’t complete without a visit to the Sun Bowl. El Paso is a unique place in the Texas landscape with tremendous food, people, and a lot less traffic than other big cities. A midweek game provides ample opportunity to explore on Thursday before hopping in a plane on Friday to Space City to watch the Longhorns play on Houston’s campus for the first time in ages. That is the only FBS game taking place in Texas on that weekend.
Second choice: N/A
WEEK 9 – UTEP at Sam Houston (Wednesday); South Carolina at Texas A&M
Another midweek game provides us an opportunity to become true Sickos. El Paso vs. Huntsville is a cultural clash of the ages, which is a perfect illustration of the size and diversity within the Lone Star State. You’ll also be less than an hour from College Station and a trip to Kyle Field, which, for my money, is the best game day experience in the entire state.
Second choice: North Texas vs. Memphis
WEEK 10 – UTSA at North Texas
One of the more underrated rivalries in Texas takes place in Denton, America in Week 10 when UTSA travels up I-35 to face the Mean Green. The two teams have met 10 times in the regular season with each program winning five times. The last game between the two was for the Conference USA title in 2022. Now, both programs play in the American Athletic Conference. A home win would be a huge feather in the cap for first-time FBS head coach Eric Morris.
Second choice: SMU at Rice
WEEK 11 – North Texas at SMU (Fri.); Texas at TCU
Another opportunity for two games in two days takes place in Week 11. Start the festivities in Dallas when SMU hosts DFW rival North Texas in their first meeting as conference opponents. You won’t even need to change hotels to make the drive on I-30 to Fort Worth on Saturday to watch the Horned Frogs host the Longhorns for the final time as Big 12 opponents.
WEEK 12 – USF at UTSA (Fri.); TCU at Baylor
Start the weekend in San Antonio to watch the Roadrunners face USF on Friday night before driving north on I-35 for an historic matchup between TCU and Baylor on Saturday. The 119th meeting between the two old rivals will surpass Texas vs. Texas A&M as the most-played intrastate game in Texas college football history.
Second choice: Texas Tech vs. UCF
WEEK 13 – Texas Tech at Texas (Fri.); FAU at Rice
By now, you’ve probably noticed a trend. Watching Texas play in-state Big 12 opponents for possibly the last time in a long time should create memorable atmospheres. The home game against Texas Tech the day after Thanksgiving shouldn’t be any different as at least one of the programs is in the hunt for a Big 12 championship game appearance. Take 290 or 71 (dealer’s choice) to Houston for a season-capper at Rice. Tom Herman’s FAU might be what stands between the Owls and a bowl bid.
Second choice: UTEP vs. Liberty
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