For the first time in a while, the Red River Rivalry game has two playoff contenders going at it. The Texas Longhorns have already beaten Alabama on the road and finally look to be the real deal. Oklahoma is unbeaten and looks to be much better than last season.
This Oklahoma team differs significantly from what you witnessed last season.
Brent Venables was getting his program off the ground after suffering the blow of losing its coach and two-time Heisman contender to USC; new faces weren’t quite themselves yet.
Dillon Gabriel may have slipped under the radar lately with all of the outstanding quarterback play across the country, but he ranks with them all.
Before his injury at UCF, he amassed more than 8,000 yards and seven scores over just two seasons before falling short with Texas. Last season was frustrating – including missing an entire game due to being dinged up – yet now he’s showing everyone just how impressive he is by connecting on 75% of his throws for nearly 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns!
At the same time, Venables’ talent as a defensive coach has been highlighted for all to see.
Last season’s Oklahoma D was awful: poor against both runs and passes, finishing ninth overall out of 10 in a ten-team Big 12. But this year’s version looks different, particularly its secondary unit, which should be able to contain Texas’s next-level receiver speed by bullying early and remaining physical throughout games.
Yes, Oklahoma’s schedule hasn’t been tough so far this season; Cincinnati and Iowa State aew average at best teams – yet OU remains No.1 in scoring, defense scoring defense margin and turnover margin.
This Texas team may differ from what you’re used to seeing.
Though its roster included talented NFL-level players and some winning teams, they weren’t always playing with enough aggression each week to be competitive.
That isn’t that Texas team.
There’s no Bijan to speak of, and the O line has continued its strong play over recent weeks, averaging six yards per carry on average. On defense, third down defense has become deadly effective when teams get inside of the red zone; overall, it ranks as one of the premier units in the conference.
Texas outwitted Alabama by 10 points in Tuscaloosa mainly due to their ability to hold off momentum as it began shifting toward Alabama – plus, don’t overlook the come-from-behind win against a good Wyoming team. This Linghorns team looks to be the real deal this season.
Texas is the more physical team, one of the nation’s most complete teams. Oklahoma is good enough to pull off the upset, but I am taking the Horns to win and cover. Texas 31 Oklahoma 21.
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