Long Horns/Long Fangs: The Tigers Take on The Longhorns

Nick VandiverCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2008

Well, last week was certainly a rocky one for the Top 5. Texas upset Oklahoma to take the number one spot in the rankings, and Oklahoma State came out of nowhere to beat the Missouri Tigers.

While the Red River Rivalry was an air-it-out attack from both sides, the Missouri game left a little to be desired. Chase Daniel was off the whole night, throwing three interceptions. His third pick sealed the win the the Cowboys, and the Tiger offense was out of sync every drive.

But what do you know? This week, the upsetter meets the upsetee.

That's right. This week the Missouri Tigers and the Texas Longhorns face off following last week's strange turn of events.

For the Longhorns, this is just a chance to further pad their No. 1 ranking and prove they're the best in the nation.

For Missouri, this is almost a must-win. After being held to only 23 points by the Oklahoma State Cowboys, this offense is eager to get back on track. If they can pull off the upset, it might just be the shot in the arm they need to stay in the race for the national title.

This game, though, has a very special meaning for Chase Daniel. It's a chance to rebound from last week's less than stellar performance. It's a chance to upset the No. 1 team in the country. But most of all, it's a chance to go back to his home state and stick it to the school that refused to even give him a chance.

Colt McCoy, on the other hand, was the quarterback that Texas took over Chase Daniel. This is his chance to prove the the Longhorns made the right decision.

Texas is going to have to air it out against the Tiger defense because not many runningbacks can get around Lombardi Award finalist Sean Weatherspoon.

Known to Tiger fans as "Spoon," the Missouri linebacker is strong in all areas on his defensive game. He picked off three passes in the first three games of the season, returning two of them for touchdowns. He regularly stuffs running backs for little or no gain, and he gets great support from his defensive line.

The Missouri offense just needs to get back in their rhythm and get the ball in the hands of their playmakers. This offense doesn't need deep passes or tricks to be successful. As many fans will remember, Jeremy Maclin took a short slant 56 yards for a touchdown against Nebraska. Let the receivers do what they do best.

They will also have to rely on their newest weapon. Derrick Washington has been a phenomenal replacement for Tony Temple, and he has been tearing up defenses all year long. Look for him to have a big game against Texas.

The Missouri pass defense is going to have to have a good day. Colt McCoy has a live arm, but he's not afraid to tuck it and run it. They're going to have to respect his ability to do both. William Moore should be a big presence.

Missouri has a slight advantage in the return game. Jeremy Maclin is a dangerous man returning kicks and punts. But don't count out the Longhorn returners.

Jordan Shipley returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in their upset of Oklahoma. Maclin hasn't notched a return touchdown since Week 1 against Illinois, so a special teams touchdown would help Missouri tremendously.

When you add everything up, the Tigers actually seem to have the edge. They have the big name quarterback, the big time receivers, and the strong run game. If Missouri can keep the game running at their own pace and do what they do best, the Tiger can easily come out with a win.

However, Texas won't back down so easily. Expect Colt McCoy to have a big day, as he'll constantly keep the Tiger defense off balance with his dual threat capability. Jordan Shipley has all the skills to beat the Mizzou pass defense in any way, so this should be an all-out aerial attack.

This game shapes up good for both teams, but someone's defense has to force some three-and outs to let the offense go to work with a lead. In the end, it'll come down to turnover margin and time of possession. Keep the ball away from the opposing offense, get touchdowns instead of field goals, and the game is yours.

Pick: Missouri