Week 6 College Football Picks: Texas in Prime Position to Stun No. 3 Sooners

Jeremy ReidCorrespondent IOctober 6, 2011

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Malcolm Brown #28 of the Texas Longhorns reacts to his touchdown for a 21-0 lead over the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter at Rose Bowl on September 17, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Red River Rivalry is renewed in a big way.  The teams come to play each other undefeated for the first time since 2008.  Oklahoma is No. 3 in the country and will travel to the neutral Cotton Bowl.

The teams are both 4-0 with Big 12 and national championship aspirations, and one of them will receive a crushing blow after this battle.  Oklahoma is rolling behind quarterback Landry Jones and star receiver Ryan Broyles.  Texas, on the other hand, is working on improving from its ghastly 5-7 record from a year ago.  The Longhorns have already avenged two of their 2010 losses by beating UCLA and Iowa State handily this time around.

Even when Texas was having a disaster of a year it played Oklahoma tough, losing 28-20 last season in one of college football's best rivalries.  This year they are far more evenly matched. 

Oklahoma is airing it out over opponents at will and already has a 23-13 victory over a then-top five opponent, Florida State.  However, Oklahoma did hit a snag when it found itself behind for the first time all season two games ago against Missouri, mainly due to some lapses in defense.

Oklahoma is a 10.5-point favorite coming into this game and would be the easy pick to win behind two Heisman candidates on offense.  Texas, though, has played some scrappy football early and since it lost Garrett Gilbert for the season to injury the Longhorns look rejuvenated on offense.

They have found a lot of their success behind freshman running back Malcolm Brown (who is averaging 4.9 yards per carry) and a pair of young quarterbacks, freshman David Ash and sophomore Case McCoy.

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 1:  Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw in the first half against the Ball State Cardinals on October 1, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma defeated Ball Sta
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They found the winning formula using both quarterbacks last week in a big conference road win over Iowa State.  They were 7-of-12 each, combining for 255 yards and two scores. 

With the two quarterbacks getting playing time and senior running back Foswhitt Whittaker spelling Brown as a receiving threat as well, the Longhorns will have a few different looks to throw at the Sooners.

If Texas can confuse the Oklahoma defense with its different looks at quarterback, the Sooners may not get an opportunity to settle in.  The Sooners only give up 3.9 yards per rush defensively, but again in that Missouri game they were run all over.  The Tigers gained 241 yards on the ground, and the Longhorns bring in a different look with an equally balanced running game of two backs averaging 4.9 yards or better per carry.

The Sooners did adjust defensively last week against Ball State after giving up 532 yards of offense to Missouri the week before.  They needed a huge game from Broyles, including three touchdowns, to get bailed out of that one.  Against Texas the passing game will be the highlight as usual, but Texas comes in only allowing 4.9 yards per pass when Oklahoma is used to gaining nine yards each throw.

If Texas moves the ball and gets up early, that stingy secondary could give future professional Jones some fits in a comeback bid.  Jones has already tossed five interceptions, four of which came in his two toughest games against Florida State and Missouri.

The crowd will be close to equal as it always is, but being in Dallas it's always a little different for the Longhorns.  This will be a great game with both teams playing from the top again at 4-0.  Don't be so shocked if Texas pulls this one out and diminishes the Sooners' national championship hopes.