Red River Rumbles: Can Texas Pull Off the Upset?

Nick VandiverCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2008

The Texas Longhorns—one of the most storied teams in the history of college football.

They've been one of the most dominating forces in the Big 12 for longer than anyone can remember.

Every year, teams would change. All-Americans would go to the NFL and the best teams would become the worst teams.

But Texas was the one team you could always count on. They were great, year after year. But the biggest concern of Longhorns was during the Vince Young era.

If they couldn't win a national title with VY, how could they win one with anyone else? After all, he was one of the most exciting players to ever play the sport.

I think it's safe to say that this year's teams have calmed those troubled minds.

Colt McCoy is obviously a very gifted quarterback. He is one of the top five in passer rating across the country. If not for the feet of Vince Young, McCoy would be given much more credit for the running ability that he has. He is incredibly efficient and knows who he needs to get the ball to.

Quan Cosby has really been McCoy's go-to guy at wide receiver. He leads the team in catches and receiving yards. McCoy knows that he needs to get the ball to his playmakers to win, so expect good numbers from him.

Jordan Shipley, though, is a big time threat for Texas. He's only caught 24 passes up till now, but seven of them have been for touchdowns. Most teams know the McCoy has a live arm, but because of his ability to run, defenses have to stay honest. That means plenty of opportunities for Cosby and Shipley.

The weak spot of the offense seems to be their run game. McCoy leads the team with 317 yards. The leading runningback is Cody Johnson with 193 yards.

This seems to bode ill for the Texas offense, but they don't have a problem with it. The quarterback touches the ball more than anyone else on the field, and this is even more true for McCoy.

If he drops back to pass and can't find an open man, he'll run it. He has topped 80 yards three times, and 100 yards once. His four touchdowns are second on the team and his longest run is 35 yards. Obviously, the guy can move.

The defense is stingy as well. They only allow 11.4 points per game, and teams seem to have a hard time putting points on the board.

And on the other side is Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner, all that stuff.

What it comes down to is that the Sooners are a very good football team. They wouldn't be No. 1 in the nation if they weren't. They fight with Texas every year for the Big 12 South title, and they seem to be coming out on top recently.

It all starts with Sam Bradford. He has thrown for over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns in five games. He doesn't have the most well-known corps of receivers, but they get the job done well.

The sophomore quarterback is incredibly accurate and aware, and he has turned the Oklahoma offense into a scoring machine.

Manuel Johnson and Juaquin Iglesias form the go-to tandem for Bradford. They both have over 400 yards and five touchdowns, so you can't double cover one and expect to win. They can both beat you on any play.

You can't hope for Bradford to not see the open man and make the throw. His great vision keeps defensive coordinators awake at night.

The rushing attack provides great balance as well. The two-headed attack of DeMarco Murray and Chris Johnson gives the offense plenty of dimensions against even the toughest defense. Murray seems to get the ball a little more, but don't underestimate either. It might be the mistake that loses you the game.

Sooner defenses have always been good. That's a given. They allow 13.8 points per game, and it's hard to get anything by them. The Texas offense will have a hard time doing what they want to do on offense.

When you look at the big picture, this is a great match-up. Two Top Five teams playing for control of the Big 12 South, bragging rights at stake. On paper, it's an even game. But once you get on the field. Look for both offenses to struggle early, but for the second quarter and onward to be an air-it-out bonanza. This game will be tight until the very end.

Keys to Victory: Texas

Let Colt McCoy air it out early. Don't be afraid to try and test the Sooner secondary. An early lead will be a big help. On defense, don't let the Sooner rushing attack roll early. Make Sam Bradford beat you with his arm and make the offense one-dimensional.

Key to Victory: Oklahoma

Location, location, location. This game will be in the Sooner's house, and that could be the deciding factor in this game. If they play Sooner football the way they want, they have a great chance to win the game.