A losing weekend for the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners ahead of next week’s Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas won’t dim the intensity of the rivalry. It did drop Texas to No. 22 in the AP Top 25 and Oklahoma out of the poll, though the Sooners were still favored by 2.5 points in the opening line released by BetOnline on Sunday.
Texas fell to TCU, 33-31, at home on Saturday, the second straight close game for the Longhorns to open conference play. Oklahoma traveled to Ames and gave up a late touchdown in the 37-30 loss. It was the first home Iowa State win over Oklahoma since 1960 and marked the first time that the Sooners have lost consecutive games since 1999.
So head coach Lincoln Riley is in an unprecedented situation in the fourth year leading the Sooners — he has a redshirt freshman quarterback who has been brilliant and mistake-prone in almost equal measure and a team that is reeling despite winning the last five Big 12 titles. Riley is also trying to improve upon his 3-1 record against Texas head coach Tom Herman since taking over for Bob Stoops during the 2017 offseason.
Herman is potentially at a crossroads of his own with the fanbase upset about the program’s lack of progress in a season that was supposed to represent the best Texas chance to win the conference since Herman arrived in Austin following Charlie Strong’s dismissal in 2016.
With the potential for inexplicable results from week to week this season, Oklahoma still has a chance to reach its goals, as does Texas, setting up a rivalry game that doesn’t have the same high stakes as some previous matchups, but should still feature plenty of animosity.