At long last, the greatest week on the Texas football calendar has arrived.
The Red River
Rivalry Shootout Showdown takes college football’s center stage this weekend, as ESPN’s College GameDay will be making their way to Dallas and the Texas State Fair.
You ready, Dallas?— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 30, 2018
Next up, we’re headed to the State Fair for the Red River Rivalry! pic.twitter.com/VwdTl6H1Em
But if you’re here, you’re (most likely) a Texas fan. And so, you already knew that. What you may not know, is that this is the biggest game Texas will have played in a long, long time.
It’s bigger than both Notre Dame and USC part 2’s, and all the “Texas is Back” memes that have enjoyably/regretfully spawned from those games.
It’s bigger than any game played in the Garrett Gilbert/David Ash/Case McCoy era — a weird twilight zone of Texas football history that featured incredibly “probably should be ranked but in no way deserve it because this team will go 8-4 at best” teams.
And it’s bigger than any recent iteration of the Red River Showdown. It’s the first time since 2012 that both Texas and OU have entered this game ranked.
Why is this game bigger than all of that? Easy — it’s all about the hype.
Hype is a word I definitely hate reading/hearing/just generally associating myself with, but it is undeniably back at Texas. The last two home games have been two of Texas’ rowdiest, best showcases of what good Texas fandom can be. The Longhorns promptly responded to their fans’ support by notching two consecutive ranked victories — something the Horns haven’t done in, you guessed it, a long, long time.
Texas went on to throw the purple monkey off their back by going up to K-State and getting a seldom-seen road victory in Manhattan. Sure, it wasn’t pretty. But 4-1 is 4-1.
And now, Texas will meet Oklahoma at Midway with the Big 12 Conference lead, bragging rights, and so much more at stake. Texas and its fans are already excited about this game. You don’t need a pump-up song or motivational quote or speech to get amped up for OU. If you did, I’m sure there’s a school not too far from here that would love to have you at some of their late night shouting practices singing songs about how they don’t need rivalries.
Winning against a ranked USC and ranked TCU got Texas fans’ attention. Beating K-State on the road got them focused in. But beating OU, the school that has run the conference for 10 years, in the greatest rivalry in college football, at the site of College Gameday, in front of the whole nation?
Boy, would Texas be back after that.
So, we know what’s been going on with Texas. But... what else happened in the Big 12 this past week?
BIG 12 STANDINGS (through Week 5)
- (6) Oklahoma (2-0) (5-0)
- (9) West Virginia (2-0) (4-0)
- (19) Texas (2-0) (4-1)
- Texas Tech (1-1) (3-2)
- (25) Oklahoma State (1-1) (4-1)
- Baylor (1-1) (3-2)
- TCU (1-1) (3-2)
- Kansas (0-2) (2-3)
- Kansas State (0-2) (2-3)
- Iowa State (0-2) (1-3)
Week 5: W vs Baylor, 66-33
Highlight: In what could pass as a crappy basketball score, Oklahoma took it to Baylor and won convincingly with a crappy football score. The Oklahoma offense never took their foot off the gas, as QB Kyler Murray went 17-of-21 passing for 432 yards, and seven total touchdown in a performance that was easily the most impressive of his young career.
Trending: NEUTRAL. In what essentially turned out to be a tune-up for the Red River Showdown, Oklahoma destroyed Baylor by running an almost perfect offense. Texas’ defense will provide a much tougher test, but it’s hard to beat or keep up with OU when they’re firing on all cylinders like this.
Week 5: W at Texas Tech, 42-34
Highlight: The Mountaineers held off a late rally in what was a shootout in Lubbock. Will Grier had another great game, but the play of the day came from the WVU defense. This pick-six late in the fourth with TTU threatening to tie sealed the victory for the Mountaineers.
Trending: UP. The offense has been terrifying all year, but don’t sleep on the WVU defense. The Mountaineers forced three turnovers, and showed a great response in a fiercely fought contest that kicked off early on the road against a good Texas Tech offense. West Virginia returns to Morgantown to face Kansas this weekend.
Week 5: L vs West Virginia, 34-42
Highlight: After falling behind 28-7, and trailing at the half 35-10, the Red Raiders mounted a serious comeback behind the play of backup QB Jett “definitely not a NCAA video game create-a-player name” Duffey. While he threw for 172 yards on 16-of-27 passing, he also added 86 yards on the ground.
Trending: DOWN. A late comeback bid was spoiled by a WVU pick six, but the spark Duffey provided was noticeable and turned what was a rout into a fun contest. The trend line is down, however, as Tech must head into next week’s bye figuring out just how bad the injury to starting QB Alan Bowman really is.
Week 5: W at Kansas, 48-28
Highlight: The Cowboys rebounded from a surprising loss in their conference opener with an unsurprising win over Kansas in Lawrence, KS. Taylor “Corndog” Cornelius had a great bounce-back game, and Justice Hill was incredible as always in the victory.
Trending: UP. Big win from Okie State — though it may seem routine to beat Kansas, the offense showed up in a big way. If Justice Hill is in space, he is almost impossible to stop and can really only be contained. OSU and the Corndog Convoy will host Iowa State in their next contest.
Week 5: L at Oklahoma, 33-66
Highlight: The Bears never stood a chance in this one, as Oklahoma roared (pun intended) past Baylor for a convincing 33 point win. The wide receiver duo of Denzel Mims and Jalen Hurd each had big games, as they put up 114 yards and 104 yards, respectively, and each scored a touchdown.
Trending: DOWN. Baylor wasn’t expected to win this game, but the shellacking they received in Norman can’t help inspire much confidence in this team going forward. Baylor will look to regroup with a winnable home game against faltering K-State next on the schedule.
Week 5: W vs Iowa State, 17-14
Highlight: It wasn’t a pretty game by any means of the word pretty, but a win is surely welcomed in Fort Worth. TCU ended their modest two-game losing streak on a game winning 28 yard field goal, set up by a nine-play, 36-yard drive.
Trending: NEUTRAL. TCU’s stalwart defense was on full display in this game, as the Frogs held ISU to just 14 points and less than 200 total yards. That will keep TCU in alot of their games, but their offense will have to get better in a hurry if they want to compete for a spot in the Big 12 Championship.
Week 5: L vs Oklahoma State, 28-48
Highlight: The Jayhawks just couldn’t stop the Pokes from scoring, but the good news is that Kansas was able to put up a few points of their own in the loss. Quarterback Carter Stanley played a nice game, throwing for three touchdowns — including this pretty toss and catch late in the game.
Trending: NEUTRAL. Back to the bottom of the conference we go, as Kansas should continue their decent towards the big 12’s basement. The trend line remains in neutral, however, as the Jayhawks weren’t expected to compete in the Big 12 — especially not against some of the conference’s better teams like OSU. It won’t get easier for the Jayhawks, with a road trip to West Virginia on the slate for this weekend.
Week 5: L vs Texas, 14-19
Highlight: The Texas is Back Tour™ rolled through Manhattan, Kan., as K-State couldn’t muster up enough points to overcome an early 19-0 deficit. Running back Alex Barnes managed a decent game on the ground, as he accounted for 80 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Trending: DOWN. Yikes. We can assume Texas has a good defense, but there was still just no signs of explosiveness or any major life from the K-State offense. With just 110 passing yards from the two Wildcats quarterbacks, Texas pounced (pun intended, again) on the running game, holding K-State to a meager 2.7 yards per rush. A game at Baylor is a must win this weekend for a team whose head coach has seemingly well surpassed “I’m too old for this sh*t” levels of frustration.
Week 5: L at TCU, 14-17
Highlight: A gritty game from the cellar-dwelling Cyclones featured an anemic offense that couldn’t get anything through the air. Running back David Montgomery literally carried this team, as his 101 yards rushing accounted for more than half of the team’s 198 total yards.
Trending: DOWN. One year removed from an exciting 8-5 season, Iowa State has greatly struggled to replicate their successes from last year on offense. Already at 1-3 and 0-2 in conference, it doesn’t get much easier for the Cyclones, as a road game against Oklahoma State awaits them next.
Out of Conference Opponents:
Week 5: BYE
Highlight: The Terrapins had the week off last weekend. They remain the best team Texas has played this year (record wise).
Trending: NEUTRAL. Maryland heads to the Big House in Ann Arbor for what should be a tough road game against Michigan. Also, the Terps’ third-string quarterback and ultimate Scrabble name champion Max Bortenschlager has been announced out for the season with an injury, continuing the storied tradition of Maryland always rostering injured quarterbacks.
Week 5: BYE
Highlight: Tulsa was on BYE this past weekend, so don’t worry — they can’t hurt Texas’ strength of schedule if they don’t play.
Trending: NEUTRAL. Tulsa will hit the road for a Thursday night game at Houston this week.
Week 5: W at Arizona, 24-20
Highlight: USC RB Aca’Cedric Ware ran as well as his name is hard to pronounce, as he tallied 173 yards on the ground to go along with two touchdowns, including this very nice 69 yard run for a score.
Trending: NEUTRAL. Arizona, with a certain new someone as their head coach, hasn’t looked very impressive this year, and USC had to hold the Wildcats off after jumping out to a 24-0 lead. However, alot of this final score had USC running the clock out baked into it. USC will have a weekend off before hosting No. 21-ranked Colorado.
Texas Strength of Schedule — 34-22
Strength of Opponents Played — 12-11
Strength of Remaining Opponents — 22-11
Week 6 Schedule (ESPN FPI projected winner in BOLD)
(19) Texas vs (6) Oklahoma (in Dallas, TX)
Kansas at (9) West Virginia
Kansas State at Baylor
Iowa State at (25) Oklahoma State
Texas Tech — BYE
TCU — BYE
Maryland at Michigan
Tulsa at Houston
USC — BYE