Texas Longhorns Football: Five Reasons The 2010 Season Rides on The RRR
Pretty much every year, the Red River Rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma provides a major impact on the final results of the Big 12.
For the Longhorns, this year is not so different, though perhaps even more weight is placed on the 2010 episode at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Saturday.
After a forgettable 34-12 loss to UCLA last weekend, the Horns are keen to get back into the win column and move forward this season.
Here are five reasons this year's Red River Rivalry will be a telling influence on the rest of the year for Texas.
Getting Back in The Win Column
With the loss to UCLA in the rear-view mirror, the Longhorns would like nothing more than to pick up a victory and get themselves back into the win column.
The Horns have owned the Sooners of late, taking four of the last five games at the Cotton Bowl.
A second straight loss here may end up drowning Texas as far as returning to the Big 12 Championship Game.
The road to defending their title begins here with a win.
Creating an Edge in The Big 12 South
Texas and Oklahoma State currently share a lead atop the Big 12 South standings with matching 1-0 records.
The Horns defeated Texas Tech a couple of weeks ago, and the Pokes squeezed out a thriller against the Aggies on Thursday night.
As the brunt of Big 12 play begins this weekend, Texas could take a 2-0 leg up in the division with a win, consequently owning the head-to-head advantage over Oklahoma--the favorite to challenge the Longhorns for the Big 12 South title.
Putting the Sooners in hole to start conference play could do wonders as the season rolls on.
There is hardly anything better after a devastating loss than to go out the weekend after, execute a successful game plan and secure a win.
Whether swagger and confidence on the team is low or not, a victory over the Sooners could all but erase the taste of defeat and feelings of despair and regret from last Saturday.
Not only will a victory shine bright in the Big 12 South standings, it can create a springboard for the next couple of weeks.
A Primer For The Next Two Weeks
Following the Red River Rivalry, the Longhorns have a week off to evaluate their place in the conference and make the necessary adjustments for the subsequent week.
In that week after the bye, Texas will travel to Lincoln in a much-anticipated 2009 Conference Title Game rematch with the Cornhuskers.
Both teams will look significantly different on both sides of the ball, but the animosity between the two programs will be palpable, and it will likely be one of the most physical games on the schedule for the Horns.
Kicking off the next two weekends with a victory over Oklahoma sets up the building blocks for the bye and for the matchup with Nebraska.
Setting The Stage to Run The Table
Combining these last few ideas together, finding that fifth win in six years over the crimson and cream can set up nicely to run the table and return to the Big 12 Title Game.
While forecasting that projection is foolhardy, there are hardly any teams of Oklahoma or Nebraska's caliber remaining on the schedule.
An upset is always in the balance, but confidence will be seeping out of the players and coaches should Texas come out of these next three weeks unscathed with a spotless Big 12 record.
After the game in Lincoln, the toughest games are likely against Kansas State in Manhattan (the Wildcats have owned the Longhorns in recent years) and Oklahoma State in Austin.
While the Red River Rivalry is just one game, it represents a whole lot more this season.