With the Big 12 so wide open during the 2012 college football season, the Red River Rivalry will have a huge impact on who comes out of the conference. Both the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns enter the Week 7 meeting with one loss and are ranked in the Top 15 of the latest AP Poll.
This has always been one of the more historic college football rivalries and has been decided by 10 points or less in four of the last five meetings. And while another close game should be expected, especially with so much on the line, the Oklahoma Sooners should end up running away with this matchup.
Last year, the Sooners were able to drop over 400 total yards of offense and won the game by 38 points, which was the fifth largest margin of victory between these two teams.
Here is why you can expect another blowout by Oklahoma in the 2012 version of this historic matchup.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.
Some Texas fans still doubt that David Ash is the real deal.
After all, how does a quarterback go from completing just 57 percent of his passes and throwing eight interceptions to completing 77 percent of his passes and throwing for 1,200 yards?
While Ash has played much better than anyone would have ever imagined, the fact is that he has yet to play a real defense. Against West Virginia last week, the sophomore threw for only 269 yards and a touchdown. Sure, he completed 76 percent of his passes, but he didn't make enough key plays down the stretch to lead his team to victory.
Oklahoma is an experienced defense that is ranked 17th in the country, allowing just over 300 yards of total offense. The secondary is ranked ninth in the nation and recently held a proven quarterback, Seth Doege, to 203 passing yards last week.
There will be no more wide open receivers running around, and it will really show just how good this Longhorns offense can be and just how far Ash has come along as a starting quarterback.
The running game has always been the key to winning the Red River Rivalry. In fact, the team that has won the last five meetings has out-rushed their opponent to victory.
With the secondary performing so well for the Sooners, one would think Oklahoma will stack the box and do what they can to slow down the rushing attack of Texas.
Bob Stoops and company want Ash to win this game with his arm, not have Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown carry the offense.
Texas has the ninth worst run-defense in the Big 12, allowing 182 yards on the ground a game. The Longhorns are allowing over four yards a carry this season and there have been two rushing touchdowns in each of their last three contests.
On the other hand, Oklahoma has improved its run-defense since Week 1 and was able to bottle up Texas Tech last week to two yards a touch.
I expect both Damien Williams and Dominique Whaley to receive a ton of carries and win this game for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Everybody has been hard on Landry Jones throughout his career at Oklahoma.
Although he has thrown for over 13,000 yards and 100 touchdowns throughout his career in Norman, there has always been something missing when it came to the senior quarterback.
He usually fails to perform well in the big games, and his body language after a mistake can certainly rub you the wrong way.
And while Jones has yet to hit the 300 yard mark this season, you could certainly say he is due for a big game.
On top of that, the senior quarterback looked solid in last week’s performance against Texas Tech, actually looking alive, getting the ball out quickly and making smart decisions with the football.
Going up against a defense that has given up over 2,000 total yards in the first five games should get the Oklahoma signal-caller back on track.
The last two quarterbacks to play against Texas have combined for well over 500 passing yards, including freshman quarterback J.W. Walsh, who completed 66 percent of his passes and threw for 301 yards.
There is little doubt that Jones should have a field day against this unit and lead his team to victory.
The Longhorns defense is no longer receiving the respect that it once did.
Texas was supposed to have one of the top units in the country but instead are giving up big play after big play.
Through five games, this team has allowed 12 plays of over 30 yards, compared to the 15 allowed last season. The 404 yards allowed a contest is ranked seventh in the conference, and there have been back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances by Big 12 running backs allowed.
Just read what West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said after his team’s performance, according to the AP, via ESPN.
"We just lined up and ran it right at them," Holgorsen said.
Talk about straight disrespectful, but the head coach was absolutely right. Sophomore running back Andrew Buie was able to average over six yards a carry and rush for 207 yards, more than he had all of last season.
If the Longhorns are giving up performances like that to an unproven back, I can only imagine what a combination of Damien Williams and Dominique Whaley will do this weekend.
With the weapons that are on this Oklahoma offense and the poor play of the Texas defense, there is no doubt that the Sooners should be able to put together a victory in the 2012 Red River Rivalry.