Texas got a big bounce victory over West Virginia ahead of the Red River Showdown. Did the Horns do enough for you to calm down any concerns you had following the Texas Tech loss?
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - Following the Tech loss, the biggest concerns for the defense were getting off the field on 3rd and 4th down, sacking the QB, and then on the offensive side it was not stalling out in the 2nd half. The final numbers don’t look great for the defense with West Virginia converting 50% of their 3rd downs, and ⅗ of 4th downs but a big part of that came on the Mountaineers final two drives when the Horns were well in control. And as far as the offense goes, Texas only punted twice in the entire game and we’re on their way to scoring again before the game ended. I’m more concerned if the Texas Tech loss was just a freak thing with Donovan Smith playing the game of his life OR if Sark has an issue with road/neutral games. I guess we’ll find out this week.
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - They definitely soothed some concerns and once again showed they could answer the bell when it comes to adversity. Instead of letting a tough loss carryover into the next week and turn into a losing streak, they took some anger out on the Mountaineers and righted the ship just in time for the RRS. This team has matured a bit from week one to now and they still haven’t played their best football just yet, so I am excited to see how they handle walking into the Cotton Bowl on Saturday with a chance to demoralize an Oklahoma team who will be fighting for their lives.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - For starters, as a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan there is literally nothing that anyone can do to help my concerns as it relates to football. I think that the defense rebounded well and the offense looked more in sync, but I think WVU might be this year’s get-right game for folks in the Big 12. The offense played winning football and avoided, for the most part, shooting itself in the foot. The defense, although I know why folks don’t love it, learned when and how to let folks dink and dunk you – when you’re up three touchdowns and trying to let them bleed clock. Jaylan Ford continues to be a tackle vacuum and Barryn Sorrell looks like a legit pash rushing threat, so here’s hoping that trend continues.
Nik Patel (@NothingbutNik) - I am still worried about the Texas defense being able to play at full intensity for the length of the game. When up against fast paced offenses, it seems like one dimension, either defending the run or pass, takes a toll sooner or later. Worthy, Whittington, and Sanders paired with either QB will be successful. But the offensive line might be the last thing we are waiting on to take the offense to a new level and allow this RB unit to really thrive.
It’s being reported that Quinn Ewers is expected to start on Saturday but Hudson Card has played his butt off this season, going 2-1 as a starter despite an obvious ankle injury. If Ewers does in fact get the start, do you like this decision or would you rather ride the momentum and stick with Card?
Cameron - Ewers can turn this game from a one-score affair to a dominant victory. That’s how talented the kid is. Hudson Card has played more than well enough for Texas to win every game this season but the Horns can attack Oklahoma’s defense with Ewers in ways that Card can’t. I.E. the deep ball. We all saw the glimpses of what Ewers can be in the first quarter against Alabama and if that returns this Saturday, oh boy…
Daniel - You can’t ask for much more from Hudson Card with how he has guided the ship over the past few weeks. As I said on Sunday, he played his best game last week against West Virginia and is more than capable of leading this team on Saturday if that is the decision made by Sarkisian. With that said, I think if Ewers is ready and able to go then you turn the reins back to your starter. That’s no disrespect to Card, but we saw what this offense could be with number three under center against Alabama and that is the vision Steve Sarkisian has for his offense. We won’t be able to gauge what percentage of healthiness Ewers is until we see him out there spinning it and taking hits again, but my hunch is that Sark wouldn’t trot him back out there and put him in harm’s way if he had any inkling of doubt about his status.
Sark has taken the conservative route to this point with Ewers, so I imagine if we see him out there then he was a full go all week and looked good during practice. If he doesn’t clear those thresholds then there is no reason to risk further injury.
Gerald - And while we have the conversation, I wouldn’t put that one loss on Hudson as much as I would the offensive line and some questionable schematic decisions defensively. Hudson Card has played winning football since coming in against Alabama and I am completely fine if Steve Sarkisian chooses to ride that wave, especially given what Hudson Card can do with his wheels. Max Duggan cracked off a sixty-yard touchdown against the OU defense and Hudson is the more fleet-footed quarterback. On the reverse, the OU cornerbacks – outside of Billy Bowman who we don’t know his status for Saturday – are suspect and Max Duggan dropped two touchdowns longer than 60 yards on their heads, which leans toward Ewers’ skillset. Long story short, I think Texas has a winning formula regardless of who is playing quarterback, so I think the right choice is to play the guy who is healthier and gives you the best shot at longevity.
Nik - Card deserves more respect because he delivered what he could with an ankle injury. I would take Ewers if he is fully cleared to play as I think he is still the better QB. However, I do retract the harsh criticism I had on Card pre-season. It seemed like Ewers was such an obvious QB1 at the time, but Card has proven he can be relied on. Going against an OU defense that is in a downward spiral at the moment, I trust that he would also be able to get the job done.
Oklahoma has lost two straight before the Red River Showdown, but never like this. Outscored by a combined 38 points. Are the Sooners…bad? Or is it the growing pains of a first year coach?
Cameron - Both. Oklahoma lost nearly 40 players to the portal and the NFL draft and don’t have the depth or talent to replace the holes left behind by Caleb Williams, Mario Williams, Perrion Winfrey, and Nik Bonitto. In the past when the defense has struggled, Alex Grinch seemed to scheme around it but he’s not walking through that door. This is the first time I’ve seen the Sooners with this many flaws defensively. If Dillon Gabriel can return, the offense will be good enough to win a few games but this isn’t your dad’s Oklahoma Sooners.
Daniel - They are looking like a team who had their roster gutted by their previous head coach on his way out the door. The roster has a bunch of holes in it and they are not loaded up with the athletes on either side of the ball that strikes fear in your heart. We just saw two different styles of offenses absolutely take their defense to the woodshed in consecutive weeks, and it’s clear they have a laundry list of issues that just can’t be fixed over the course of a season. Offensively, they aren’t sure that their starting quarterback is going to be able to go and there is no Caleb Williams kind of quarterback waiting in the wings to come to bail them out of trouble like in 2021. The high-octane Lincoln Riley offense is now in Southern California and that has long been the identity of that program. They now have to figure out what they want to be under this new staff and it looks like they are going to take their lumps before they arrive at their answer. This Oklahoma team is not very good, but with that said teams are most dangerous when their backs are against the wall. Losing on Saturday means they are essentially playing out the rest of the season for pride, as three straight conference losses will be a death kneel for any conference title aspirations. They are going to come out energetic, fired up, and they will throw the kitchen sink at Texas. The Longhorns better be ready.
Gerald - There’s something to be said about the talent that transferred out of OU when Lincoln Riley left, but they look suspect on both sides of the ball. I think there’s a mix of OU having less experienced talent than we’re used to, combined with a coach in his first year. I do think when you hire a guy like Brent Venables you don’t expect your defense to play BAD football like they have so far. Be young, have talent holes, but don’t play bad defense.
Nik - Typically when hiring a previous offensive or defensive coordinator, we expect to see growing pains on the opposite side of their expertise. Saban figured out the defense first, Riley had the offense firing early on. To see Venables struggle with the defense is alarming. Oklahoma is second to Texas in the conference when it comes to total talent composite, not to mention they are 9th in the nation! Yes, they had a more talented team last year, but to have that many skilled athletes and give up 96 points in the last two games is incredible. I think it is a coaching issue, but the Longhorns need to approach the game pretending that Oklahoma is a top 5 seed.
You arrive at the Texas State Fair with an infinite amount of tickets to use on food, rides, toys, etc…what if the FIRST thing you’re buying?
Cameron - Corn dog. With some mustard. And then I’ll follow it up with some deep fried twinkies followed by searching “can you eat too much?” on google before going back in for corn dog #2.
Daniel - I saw some kind of deep-fried strawberry shortcake thing yesterday that is apparently new on the menu at the state fair this year. I’d be face-deep in that from the jump.
Gerald - Fletchers Corny Dogs. The king stays the king.
Nik - I heard there was a holy biscuit with Some queso, chicken, and bacon Strips.
Does Texas snap the losing streak and beat Oklahoma?
Cameron - *looks around nervously* yes. I think this could turn into a blowout in favor of the Horns. Texas 48, Oklahoma 28
Daniel - Yes. But because rivalry game, it will be closer than people would expect. Texas 41 Oklahoma 34
Gerald - This feels like a year where if Texas doesn’t win then I don’t know what they’ll have to do to get it done. I’ve lived through a ton of those in my life, so I enter this prediction with my teeth clenched, 38-35 Texas off the foot of Burt Auburn.
Nik - As a strong fan of analytics, I have to admit that they will never predict a rivalry game. But whatever I say every year, the opposite tends to happen. So “Oklahoma” wins 45-38?