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Columnist: "Texas is trotting out Texas Tech-type players"

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Ouch.

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According to The Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel, the game between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma State Cowboys in Austin on Saturday won't be a fair fight.

Wtih a host of Texans on the Oklahoma State roster, it's an opportunity for those players to show out in their home state against a program that declined to recruit many of them. And Texas isn't exactly Texas any more, in Tramel's estimation:

Texas is trotting out Texas Tech-type players, but with Bevo on the jersey, they're still getting everyone's best shot. It's not a fair fight.

I know, that's funny. The school with The Longhorn Network and almost half a million living alumni, a school with a recruiting base on cruise control and resources the envy of America, is no position to call foul. But it's true. Everyone gets fired up to play Texas. The ‘Horns have every opponent's attention, even if these days, beating Texas is a lot easier than beating Kansas State.

The recruiting rankings would argue with Tramel's point about the Longhorns roster featuring players who ought to be playing for a lower-tier school, but the lack of NFL draft prospects among the upperclassmen and the nearly complete absence of Texas players from the All-Big 12 preseason team provide some support for his position.

In fact, the Red Raiders placed three players on that All-Big 12 team, compared to just one for the Longhorns. And Texas is starting a former walk on at safety and had to call on a 5'8 back up with an offer from Louisiana Tech out of high school when the walk on got ejected last week.

Tramel is stll exaggerating with that particular claim, but the Longhorns no longer have the clear separation from the Red Raiders in talent at nearly every position.

As for Cowboys players from Texas who are ready to give the Longhorns their best shot, senior defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was a mid three-star prospect from Fort Bend Bush in the 2012 class with offers from Arizona and Iowa State. He's looking forward to getting revenge on Texas for spurning him during the recruiting process, but would look good in a Texas uniform right now as the reigning Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Same for sophomore safety Tre Flowers, who was a low three-star prospect out of Converse Judson in 2013. Though he never picked up a Texas offer, he would probably start in the secondary for the Longhorns after starting six games in 2014 and finishing as the team's sixth-leading tackler.

In a state that produces so much talent, it's easy to second guess recruiting decisions several years down the road, but the point here is that it's meaningful for the players and gives them an edge that isn't easy to match from the Texas side.

So while there is some merit to what Tramel is saying in terms of the reduction of Texas talent and opponents giving the Horns their best shot, where he underestimates Texas is in the impact of redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard and the rest of the young players on the roster.

The offense will have to prove that the last two weeks weren't merely the result of taking on overmatched defenses, but having Heard means that Texas can score from any point on that field -- it wil be a fair fight on Saturday, even if the Texas-born Olahoma State players have a mental advantage.