(FOX 26) - Whether it's Trump or Cruz, Clinton or Sanders what happens at Monday's Iowa Caucuses will resonate fiercely in the Lone Star State where primary voters gather in just 30 days.
"If Donald Trump wins tonight that sets in motion a Trump steamroller that may only be stopped when it hits Texas and about a dozen other primarily southern states on March 1st," said Mark Jones, Chairman of Political Science at Rice University.
If the early primaries fall to Trump, it's conceivable Cruz could still turn the tide Super Tuesday by capturing the lion's share of his home state's huge hoard of delegates.
"Texas ends up being the moment of the Alamo for Cruz, because he needs to put a stop on the insurgency from Trump," said Brandon Rottinghaus, political scientist at the University of Houston.
Texas may matter deeply to the Democrats as well, especially if the caucuses generate an upset for Sanders.
"If Bernie Sanders wins tonight than its a lock he wins New Hampshire which means Texas represents a firewall for Hillary Clinton," said Jones.
On the GOP front, Jones predicts the high stakes March 1 will draw out a record number of Republican primary voters.
Rottinghaus contends the campaigns which survive Iowa and New Hampshire will head here looking to either re-establish credibility or land some knockout punches.
"Texas for conservatives is that big rodeo buckle. This is the winner, because this is what you need to be able to show optically that you can operate in a party that is growing more conservative. That is the base of Texas Republican voters," said Rottinghaus.