It’s time for the best Saturday of the college football season, when the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners share the field for the annual Red River Showdown.
The BON staff got together to discuss how Texas can continue to surge with a win over the Sooners, why OU sucks, and more.
First things first ... Are the rumors true — does OU, in fact, suck?
Curry — It wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that.
Seahorn — According to my watch it is 9:33 PM EST...
Gerald — Regardless of day. Regardless of time. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, OU still sucks.
Cody — What time is it?
With Steve Sarkisian and Lincoln Riley, Saturday’s matchup will feature two of the nation’s elite offensive play-callers. In this schematic chess match, what should be the deciding factor?
Curry — Casey Thompson is the key to this game. Oklahoma is going to do everything it can to stop Bijan Robinson. Sarkisian has to be put Thompson in positions to succeed.
Seahorn — Whichever team takes care of the ball and wins the turnover battle. I will also note that Texas getting better QB play out of Casey Thompson this week will also be imperative. You can bet Alex Grinch is probably licking his chops a bit after watching the film from the TCU game.
Gerald — You could basically copy and paste my answer from the TCU game, but I really think this game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage. The Oklahoma offense thrives when the running game gets going, so if Texas can bow up a bit and keep the OU offense from getting what they want on the ground the defense will be ok. Conversely, the Texas offensive line has struggled with communication and assignments and OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will dial up twists and stunts to make that even harder.
Cody — For Texas, the run will have to open up the pass. Oklahoma knows what Bijan Robinson can do, and I fully expect Alex Grinch to commit to slowing the Horns’ rushing attack. But, if Sark can get creative with his play-calling, not becoming one-dimensional and allow the pass and rush game to complement each other and keep OU off balance, things will open up and Texas will be just fine.
Bijan Robinson had a workload last week with 37 touches, and Texas certainly needs him this week. But, with OU certain to emphasize stopping him, what kind of impact will Robinson have on Saturday?
Curry — I think Bijan will have a good game. I don’t know if he will see 30+ touches again, but he will definitely get his shot. I think Oklahoma is going to do everything it can to stop him. Texas will need to rely on some other guys to help Bijan out.
Seahorn — Even with OU certain to be keying on him, I think Sarkisian and his staff will still be creative enough to get him at least 100 yards from scrimmage on Saturday. If they can’t do that then it is going to be a long afternoon.
Gerald — You say that as if TCU and Texas Tech didn’t try to scheme to stop him. The Red Raiders and Horned Frogs aren’t as talented as Oklahoma, but Bijan Robinson running outside zone is basically the most boring way to get six yards per carry. He’s going to take the first seam he sees, put a foot in the dirt and keep you ahead of the chains. Feed the beast and see what you can open up over the top.
Cody — I wouldn’t be surprised with another 100-yard rushing performance, but OU will emphasize stopping him on the ground, so I’d keep an eye on some chunk plays as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
Which Spencer Rattler will the Texas defense have to deal with — the one who got boo’d at home, or the one who completed 22-of-25 passes vs. Kansas State and prompted Sark to say it looks like 7-on-7 when he gets going like that?
Curry — If Texas sees a rattled Spencer Rattler, it better take advantage. Texas only scored nine points on three turnovers last week. That’s not a recipe for success against Rattler - who can turn it on quickly. I think nerves play a part for everyone in this game - so Texas will get its chances.
Seahorn — The truth will be somewhere in between I imagine. The last time we saw Rattler in Dallas he looked a bit shell shocked before finally finding his footing down the home stretch. Another slow start like that and things could get interesting quickly in the Cotton Bowl.
Gerald — I think he has a penchant to squeeze the ball and force some throws when he is put in a spot where he needs to win the game with his arm. Even though he got the start last year, the Cotton Bowl will be louder than it was in 2020 and I am curious to see what that does to him mentally.
Cody — I think the first quarter will decide that. If he comes out hot and puts up some points, Texas will have their hands full all afternoon. But if they can get some stops, maybe a turnover, then we could see Rattler get into his own head and force things, which won’t win this game.
The Red River Showdown is a game that’s rarely predictable. What kind of surprises could we be in for in this year’s edition?
Curry — A Texas win.
Seahorn — I think my favorite storyline is Casey Thompson being a Sooner legacy and is heading into Dallas as the starting quarterback on the opposite side of the rivalry. I think he is going to be fired up on Saturday and I am betting he bounces back after last week.
Gerald — D’Shawn Jamison with a return touchdown. He’s one away from tying Shipley for the record, so what better spot to do it than the Cotton Bowl? He’s been flirting with it all year and I think it’s going to pop.
Cody — My surprise pick is Casey catching stride and having success down the field. He’s an OU legacy, nearly went to Oklahoma, and as a true competitor, he can now beat OU. I think he’ll be a key storyline on Saturday.
Texas wins the Golden Hat if …
Curry — Casey Thompson and the OL has its best game of the season and Texas gives up less than 30 points.
Seahorn — Win the turnover battle and get Thompson going early so that the OU defense can’t tee off on the run game.
Gerald — Balance offensively. Bijan doing Bijan things and Casey hitting one or two over the top.
Cody — Let Bijan do Bijan things, protect Casey enough to let him work across the middle, and get pressure on Rattler.
Prediction: Does Texas upset OU on Sark’s first Red River Showdown?
Curry — Absolutely yes. Texas gets the best of Oklahoma in a nail-biter that’ll take years off all our lives.
Seahorn — I’ve picked Texas every week so far this year, but I’m going against the grain in this one. I think it will be a close battle like this matchup typically is, but I think the Sooners win by the skin of their teeth. 34-28 Sooners
Gerald — Every prediction I’ve seen is tighter than 4.5 points either way. I think the game will rest on Gabe Brkic or Cameron Dicker and what better way for Cameron Dicker to realign his legacy than to do what kicked it off. Texas 38-35.
Cody — Aside from its FCS win, OU has been surviving by an average of 5.25 points per game. They don’t survive on Saturday. Give me Texas, 38-34.