Understand this: I am Sooner-born and Sooner-bred. It’s this way with my entire family. Even before my nephew’s first birthday he could drop the 'Horns. As Oklahoma Sooner fans, we learn to dislike the Texas Longhorns from birth.
So know that I mean it when I say that I believe the Texas Longhorns should be ranked higher than fifth place in both the Coaches' and AP Polls going into the AT&T Red River Rivalry game this Saturday.
The Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas will play host this Saturday to the 103rd matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns. This will mark the fourth time since 2001 that both teams have entered that stadium undefeated, and the 10th time since 1950 that both teams have been in the top five of the Associated Press Poll.
Texas fans might be asking themselves this week where the love is.
Both Oklahoma and Texas are 5-0. Both have similar numbers in almost every category. Indeed, both QB Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Colt McCoy of Texas have almost identical numbers coming into this weekend. But Texas is four places below their Big 12 rival.
Has Texas been able to play this season so far under the radar? Or do the pollsters know something we fans do not?
So far strength of schedule has been the one factor that has made the difference between contender and pretender. Texas has yet to play a ranked team. On Sept. 27 Oklahoma played then-No. 24 TCU and showed that they can continue to dominate even against a tough opponent. Texas’ first real challenge is this weekend against Oklahoma.
While I believe that Texas can compete on Oklahoma’s level based on their performances so far, we won’t know until this Saturday.
As a fan, I hope that the poll situation causes the Longhorns to play like they are contenders. Can Oklahoma compete with Texas in that situation?
If Oklahoma wins, then the Sooners have shown that they do deserve to be number one in the land. They will have survived this Big 12 Clash of the Titans. They will have beaten a Texas squad that came ready to play. After that, their next real test will be the Big 12 Championship and hopefully the BCS Championship game.
If Texas wins, then they deserve no less than the number one spot. They will represent the Big 12 South in Kansas City in December. They will have leaped into the limelight and thrown their 10-gallon hat into the BCS ring.
With half of the Big 12 Conference ranked in the top 25, chances are good that the winner of the AT&T Red River Rivalry will be playing in Miami in January. Whichever team emerges victorious will have the benefit of a much stronger strength of schedule than most. While that might not matter to the BCS computers, it still matters to the pollsters.
Hopefully in the end, both teams play like they are trying to prove that they deserve to play for the BCS title. In the end, one of them probably will be.