Before we get into the preview, I have to say one thing — it is a total travesty that Oklahoma does not come into this game as the top-ranked team in the AP poll. Oklahoma has done everything asked of them, including taking care of business in impressive fashion in Tallahassee.
You should pretty much never drop from the No. 1 ranking without a loss unless you embarrass yourselves in a winning performance, and the Sooners certainly haven’t done that. I have nothing but respect for LSU and Alabama, but this just isn’t right.
Now, back to the show. This is shaping up to be a much better, more competitive game than it looked like it might be heading into the season. The Sooners were the top-ranked team in the country and promised to be dominant. The Longhorns were coming off a humiliating season, didn’t have a clear choice at quarterback, were unranked to start the season for the first time since 1998 and had made some aggressive changes in their coaching staff that could have been read as desperation.
The Longhorns still don’t have a lot of clarity at quarterback, but they have won all four games they have played, and they dominated their opponents in three of those games. Two of those wins came in dominating fashion against UCLA and Iowa State—two teams that beat Texas last year. The Texas Longhorns' football schedule hasn’t been especially tough, but the team has shown a spark in winning that they lacked all of last year. Now this game serves as the best possible test of just how far back Texas has climbed out of oblivion.
It seems hard to believe given how strong these teams have been for years and how early in the season the game is played, but this is just the second time in the last seven years that the Red River Rivalry has been played between unbeaten teams. The last time it happened was in 2008 when Oklahoma was the No. 1 team in the country, but they lost to fifth-ranked Texas.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Betting Storylines
Texas still doesn’t have a clear No. 1 quarterback, but the impact hasn’t been as negative as it could have been. Heading into this game they are rotating two guys—freshman David Ash, and sophomore and famous little brother Case McCoy. The two have played well, combining to complete 70 percent of passes, average about 10 yards per attempt and throw four TDs without an interception.
While those numbers are fine, there is no way you can convince me that two quarterbacks are better than one. You also can’t be at all certain that any combination of the two players will fare nearly as well against the impressive Oklahoma defense as they have against the second-rate opponents they have played. In short, QB play isn’t the liability it seemed like it could be coming into the season, but it’s still a liability.
Texas has also yet to face a legitimate offense. Rice is an irrelevant team, and Iowa State has a lot of troubles. UCLA is a total mess. BYU isn’t nearly as good as they were expected to be, largely because QB Jake Heaps has been a disappointment. Texas hasn't faced anything remotely resembling a potent offense, but they certainly will here.
Landry Jones is looking a lot like a future Top 5 draft pick, and he leads an offense that is fourth in the country in total yards. Manny Diaz is a heck of a defensive coordinator, but in his first year on the job in Austin, he’ll have to work miracles to shut down this Oklahoma attack.
Red River Rivalry Odds and Betting Trends
Oklahoma opened as nine-point favorites in this neutral-site game, and that has inched up as high as 10 at this point, according to college football odds. About three-quarters of all bets made have been on the Sooners, so the movement is in line with expectations. The total opened at 56.5 and has inched slowly upwards since.
Oklahoma is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against teams with winning records. Texas is just 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games, though they have covered three of four games this year. Oklahoma covered the meeting between the squads last year, and the year before the game was a push, but Texas rode a four-game ATS winning streak before that.
Red River Rivalry Predictions: Oklahoma at Texas College Football Picks
It’s probably obvious at this point, but I don’t believe in the Longhorns. They have obviously shown improvement this year, but they still haven’t really proven anything significant. I don’t trust their defense, I don’t trust their quarterback situation, I doubt their depth and I just don’t see how they can stack up effectively against anything that Oklahoma has to offer.
Despite the ongoing media love affair with the SEC, I still think Oklahoma is the best team in the country, and I don’t expect them to have too many problems proving that here.
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