They call it the Red River Rivalry, and it is one of the most intense meetings of the year in NCAA football. It is so intense that the stands are divided with a line at midfield.
Yes, the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners will face the No. 11 Texas Longhorns at 12:00 P.M. EST on Saturday.
Two Undefeated Teams Fighting for Big 12 Supremacy
We will see two undefeated teams in action, but one is clearly better. On paper and statistically, the Oklahoma Sooners are almost superior at each position.
The best player on the field will also be playing for the Sooners. Indeed, QB Landry Jones is a Heisman trophy candidate. He has completed 71 percent of his passes for 1,447 yards. Can you name another efficient quarterback with a completion percentage above 70 percent?
Oklahoma averages more than 555 yards per game on offense. Even more, this Sooners group is very experienced, both on the offense and the defense.
In contrast, the Texas Longhorns are still a project for the future. Case McCoy, Colt’s brother, is now the man under center for the Longhorns. They made the switch in Week 2. In contrast to Landry Jones, McCoy has only 335 yards passing.
After a 5-7 2010 season, the Longhorns brought in a whole new coaching group. Their linemen are also young and inexperienced. They might be 4-0, but they have faced below-average opponents: BYU, Rice, UCLA and Iowa State. Many teams could be 4-0 with this kind of opposition.
Risky line: Sooners are Set as 10-point favourite
The Texas Longhorns are 10-point underdogs even though they play on a neutral field. This is a big spread considering a few facts.
First, it is one of the sport's biggest rivalries. Conference games are always played with intensity. As proof, no Texas-Oklahoma matchup has been decided by more than 10 points since 2006. And Oklahoma has not won by more than 10 points versus Texas since 2004.
Also, this game will be on a neutral field, where anything can happen. The Sooners are better, but will they win by double digits? The public thinks they will, since 80 percent of the action is on Oklahoma.
As to determine who will win straight up, many points lead us to believe that the No. 3 Sooners will win.
- The biggest star: Players like Landry Jones or Alabama RB Trent Richardson can carry their team by themselves. They can make the difference, just like Vince Young and Reggie Bush did back in their college days.
- The experience: The emotions will be high on Saturday. Even walking down the tunnel to the field overwhelms some players. The Sooners have the most experienced group and a quarterback accustomed to playing under pressure.
- The opposition: The Sooners have defeated Florida State on the road this season. Texas has not faced any strong opposition.
Now, if you want to select a winner based on the spread (Oklahoma -10), it gets more complicated. The Sooners could easily blow out the Longhorns since they have everything going into their favour.
However, you need to consider the past results of this rivalry. Sometimes, this kind of rivalry will make a huge difference. The intensity will help the weakest team to offset the talent deficit between both teams.
I would not pick Oklahoma to win by more than 10 points, but I can’t trust a young team playing against potential national champions.
Enjoy the game!