IT’S HATE WEEK. The 119th meeting between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners. For the first time since 2011, both teams enter the Cotton Bowl undefeated. Which team needs this win the most?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - When you lose 49-0 in the previous matchup it’s hard not to say that Oklahoma needs this more. A win over Texas could be a trajectory-changing win for the Brent Venables and they are still looking for a signature win.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - This is going to be a controversial take, but I think Oklahoma is still in a bit of a fight for legitimacy after last year’s result and this year’s questions about their schedule. While I obviously want Texas to win this game to be fully back, I think most people have had their questions answered about Texas thus far through the season, while Oklahoma still has its doubters. If they lose this week, especially if it’s not close, I think the Venables doubters get loud once again and things get weird in Norman ahead of the SEC move.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - Texas. If Oklahoma loses, you have the “it’s only Year 2 of a roster overhaul for Brent Venables” excuse. But if Texas loses, what’s the excuse? The Longhorns have a better roster and a better coaching staff AND have CFB playoff aspirations. If you can win in Tuscaloosa on a Saturday night, you should be able to handle the Sooners.
The Texas defense hasn’t allowed more than 24 points this season and through two conference games are allowing just 10 points per game. Yet, we’ve seen the Longhorns give up a few deep balls this season. Is defending the deep ball an issue for the Texas defense?
Daniel - I think it’s something worth monitoring for sure. While the deep ball isn’t as big of an issue as it was in recent years, we have still seen some teams sting the defense with the deep ball this season. You can bet teams will continue to try to get speedy receivers isolated on safeties who aren’t as fleet afoot. I’m not sure OU’s receivers strike that kind of fear in me based on the matchups, but you have to think they will be dialing things up early and often trying to get a leg up.
Gerald - I think it’s definitely something to watch. I don’t think it will offend anyone to say that being in man coverage is not really the strong suit of any of the safeties Texas has on the roster, so keeping them out of those one-on-one coverage situations is going to be key. I have zero doubts about their ability to keep a lid on the defense from a “field patrol” standpoint, but getting them in solo coverage is likely a losing prospect and something Oklahoma would like to exploit.
Cameron - I think there are a few weaknesses that can be exploited at times depending on the match-up. Alabama was able to line up Harrison Burton against a slower Jerrin Thompson on the deep ball touchdown given up. Baylor attacked Ryan Watts for two deep balls. And Kansas was able to land one with Texas keeping its eyes in the backfield. The latter is fine because KU was having success running the ball and if Jason Bean beats you, you can live with that.
However, Dillon Gabriel has been great down the field season (59% completion rate on passes 20+ yards downfield) but for Oklahoma to win they need to be able to run the ball. I expect PK and Sark to come out daring the Sooners to run and prevent them from taking shots.
You can purchase one item at the Texas State Fair and it CAN’T be a Corny Dog - what are you getting?
Daniel - This is a safe space, right? There is where I whisper that I’ve NEVER been to the Texas State Fair, so therefore I haven’t tried any of the delicious treats available. I’m going to steal Gerald’s answer because it sounds freaking amazing and I’d go face-first into a plate of nachos with smoked brisket on them.
Gerald - The toughest question of all, because the objective answer is Fletcher’s Corny Dog. So I cannot say that I will go with one of the new items, the Chicharron Loaded Nachos. Fajita beef, smoked brisket, nacho cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, what else do you need? Just make sure you eat it after the game for various reasons.
Cameron - I haven’t explored all the fancy food items at the State Fair but the fried Oreos are actually insane. I have my eye on the fried fireball shots this year…
Will Texas win the Red River Rivalry in back-to-back years for the first time since 2009?
Daniel (5-0) - I think Texas is the better team this year. I don’t think it will be a blowout like last year, but think Texas keeps the train rolling in Dallas. Texas 34 Oklahoma 24
Gerald (5-0) - I usually lean on the advanced stats models for my leanings, but they’ve been back and forth on this one. I am going to go with my heart and say Texas 31-24.
Cameron (4-1) - Texas 38, Oklahoma 27 - I expect a dogfight in the first half with Texas pulling away in the 4th quarter.