Who: Texas vs. Oklahoma (in Dallas)
When: Saturday, Sept. 13, 2012 at 11 a.m. CDT
Where: Dallas, Texas
Stadium: Cotton Bowl
The annual Red River Rivalry is on our doorstep, and the No. 15 Longhorns (4-1, 1-1) and No. 13 Sooners (3-1, 1-1) are gearing up for what will be a hot contest.
With the loser dropping to a 1-2 mark in the Big 12, and on the outside of the title race looking in, the stakes are high as the victor is thrown back into the conversation as conference champion.
Here is a complete look at the 2012 battle at the Cotton Bowl.
QB: David Ash, Case McCoy
RB: Joe Bergeron OR Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray
WR: Jaxon Shipley, Bryant Jackson
WR: Mike Davis, Kendall Sanders
WR: Marquise Goodwin, D.J. Monroe
LT: Donald Hawkins, Kennedy Estelle
LG: Trey Hopkins, Sedrick Flowers
C: Dom Espinosa, Garrett Porter
RG: Mason Walters, Thomas Ashcraft
RT: Josh Cochran, Luke Poehlmann
DE (Buck): Jackson Jeffcoat, Cedric Reed
DE (Strong): Alex Okafor, Reggie Wilson
DT: Chris Whaley, Ashton Dorsey
DT: Desmond Jackson, Brandon Moore
SLB: Demarco Cobbs, Tevin Jackson
MLB: Steve Edmond, Dalton Santos
WLB: Jordan Hicks, Kendall Thompson
CB: Quandre Diggs, Duke Thomas
FS: Kenny Vaccaro, Josh Turner
SS: Mykkele Thompson, Adrian Phillips
CB: Carrington Byndom, Sheroid Evans
PK: Anthony Fera, Nick Jordan
P: Alex King, William Russ
QB: Landry Jones, Blake Bell
RB: Damien Williams, Dominique Whaley
WR: Kenny Stills, Sterling Shepard OR Roy Finch
WR: Justin Brown, Durron Neal
WR: Trey Metoyer, Lacolton Bester
LT: Lane Johnson, Tyrus Thompson
LG: Adam Shead, Nila Kasitati
C: Gabe Ikard, Ty Darlington
RG: Bronson Irwin, Austin Woods
RT: Daryl Williams, Derek Farniok
DE: Chuka Ndulue, R.J. Washington
DE: David King, Mike Onouha
DT: Casey Walker, Jordan Phillips
DT: Jamarkus McFarland, David King
OLB: Corey Nelson, Aaron Frankling OR Joseph Ibiloye
MLB: Tom Wort, Frank Shannon OR Jaydan Bird
NB: Gabe Lynn, Julian Wilson
CB: Aaron Colvin, Gary Simon
FS: Tony Jefferson, Jesse Paulsen
SS: Javon Harris, Gabe Lynn
CB: Demontre Hurst, Lamar Harris
PK: Michael Hunnicutt, Eric Hosek
P: Tress Way, Dylan Seibert
The Longhorns hosted West Virginia in a hot contest that picked up big steam in the second half.
Geno Smith had no repeat of his performance against Baylor, but his four touchdown passes continued his Heisman campaign as the Mountaineers topped the Horns 48-45 in Austin.
Texas saw its vulnerable defense get thrashed by Andrew Buie, who recorded 207 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
Without the services of running back Malcolm Brown and linebacker Jordan Hicks, the Longhorns felt their absence, although the defense moreso than the offense.
A bad snap late in the game cost Texas a chance to take the lead, only to see a missed game-tying field goal result in a touchdown for West Virginia.
The Sooners traveled to Lubbock to take on a new-look Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders kept things close until late in the first half.
Fueled by two Landry Jones' touchdown passes, two Blake Bell rushing scores and a 46-yard interception return, Oklahoma captured its first Big 12 win of the season with a 41-20 final.
The Sooners picked off Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege three times, while marching on a 27-0 run between the second and third quarters to secure the victory.
What else is there to say? It is the Red River Rivalry.
Both Texas and Oklahoma sit at 1-1 in the Big 12. The loser likely drops out of the conference title race, while the victory leaps back into the thick of things waiting for Kansas State and/or West Virginia to drop a game down the road.
The annual meeting still offers up one of the fiercest rivalries in recent memory, as the added pride and year's worth of bragging rights create a dynamic atmosphere and crowd.
As usual, the fans will polarize the stadium, split down the middle with burnt orange on one side and crimson red on the other.
The onus has fallen off the shoulders somewhat on David Ash, as the Texas quarterback has set a standard of performance this season.
With Malcolm Brown's status uncertain heading into the weekend, Johnathan Gray's role looks to be significant in the running game. And in a game of this magnitude and history, how the freshman responds to that kind of atmosphere will be telling to what kind of performance he may offer up.
Along with Joe Bergeron as the feature backs in the running game, Gray brings a spark and explosiveness in space that will be critical in Dallas.
Once recording consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, scoring five times, against UTEP and Florida A&M to start the season, Damien Williams has seen his production fall in the past two games with just 82 yards and no touchdowns over that span.
Williams did reel off 82 receiving yards on six catches, making him a difficult cover for a Texas defense that has struggled in bringing down opposing running backs.
The Longhorns will win if their defense shows up in big ways.
Offensively, it seems like Texas has found a particular identity, one that is still growing, that enables more of the offense to unfold. With a potent running game, the Longhorns will scheme it for a 60-minute bout.
Defensively, however, Texas has been able to generate some big plays in the turnover game, flipping field position and giving easy opportunities for the offense to score.
Lights out performances from Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat could slide an advantage towards the Longhorns. But more importantly, limiting the big plays across the second and third levels, where Oklahoma does possess a formidable receiving corps, will be what ultimately controls the its offense.
The Sooners will win if they bring a similar defensive output that they showed in Lubbock.
The Texas offense, however potent it may be, is still in a growing stage where hiccups in execution are still present. As we saw against West Virginia, the Longhorns are indeed capable of setting themselves back.
Halting the Longhorns when they are threatening to score will slow the game and control the score, and in those situations, a senior quarterback in Landry Jones may be the best weapon the Sooners have.
This year's Red River Rivalry is very much a toss-up, pitting the No. 13 and No. 15 teams in a battle to maintain good standing in the Big 12.
Both Texas and Oklahoma have their strengths, though they do offer up a variety of weaknesses at the same time that causes some concern.
Both have been kicked in the mouth by very good Kansas State and West Virginia teams and will arrive in Dallas prepared to go at it.
However, Texas has shown a little bit more intangibility with some sparks on special teams, something that could propel the Longhorns to a close victory at the Cotton Bowl.