Before the season, the three of you expected Texas to be in the Big 12 Championship. Well, here we are. Has this season lived up to your expectations?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - I’d say that the season has exceeded them all things considered. This team is one defensive drive in Dallas away from being undefeated and likely being a Top 5 team in the college football playoff picture. If they take care of business on Saturday I call this season a resounding success regardless if they end up in the playoff or not.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - The other part of my prediction was 10-2 or 9-3 in the Big 12 championship and get in by virtue of a tiebreaker. The fact that Texas sat alone atop the conference and was Dillon Gabriel’s best collegiate drive away from 12-0 is way above expectations. Do I wish that Texas had closed out that game? Yes. Do I wish Texas had been more dominant in some of its wins? Also yes. But when push comes to shove, Texas is two years removed from 5-7 and now has a slim chance at playing for a national championship. If someone had told me that four months ago, I would have told them to pump the brakes.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - For the first time since the College Football Playoff was created, Texas is in the hunt heading into the conference championship so my answer is a resounding YES. Sark and his staff have built one of the best defensive lines in the country, have explosive playmakers all over the field, a dangerous special teams unit, and have won with a backup quarterback and an injured starter. It wasn’t a perfect season, but it’s hard to expect that when this program won five games just two years ago and are pretty young all things considered. However, a loss to Oklahoma State would be devastating. It wouldn’t erase all the good things but it would feel like a major bump in the road into the postseason and into the SEC next year.
The latest College Football Playoff rankings are out and the Longhorns are still ranked No. 7 behind Oregon and Ohio State. What will it take for Texas to make the four? Or are the Longhorns boxed out?
Daniel - It’s going to take them taking care of business on Saturday followed by Louisville upsetting Florida State. I think the committee with have SOME sense and have them leap-frog Ohio State if they beat Oklahoma State. But they will still need Florida State to go down if they want any shot to make it in.
Gerald - It starts with beating Oklahoma State. In a year where Texas managed to take care of the things in front of them, that is the most important aspect. I think the simplest scenario for Texas is for Georgia, Michigan, and Washington to win out, while Florida State loses to Louisville. That would eliminate all of the one-loss teams save for Ohio State and it would be hard to put them in at 11-1 vs a 12-1 conference champion.
Cameron - Florida State has to lose and Texas needs a double-digit win. Leave no doubt. I was a bit concerned at first to see Ohio State ahead of Texas, but going off the past, the Longhorns should climb ahead of the Buckeyes. Either way, I think the committee has fumbled the bag with these rankings. It should be the four best teams in the country, not the four most deserving teams. Sorry Florida State, without Jordan Travis, you are NOT one of the four best teams in the country.
The Longhorns need a few breaks to go their way on Saturday to make the College Football Playoff. Hypothetically, if they defeat Oklahoma State on Saturday but get left out, would you deem this year unsuccessful?
Daniel - Absolutely not. Their only blemish on the record would be a close loss on a neutral field to Oklahoma and despite it, they will have rallied to hoist the Big 12 crown. That would also mean a berth in a New Years 6 bowl game, which again show great improvement from year one to three for Steve Sarkisan.
Gerald - Not in the slightest bit. Again, most of us predicted somewhere in the range of 9 or 10 wins, so for Texas to even be in that conversation is massive. For the first time since 2009, I think Texas has finally lived up to the ceiling they have for the year and we can say without equivocation that the season was a success.
Cameron - No. For me, winning the conference championship was always the goal for this team. A LOT has to break your way to reach the playoff and there’s nothing wrong with your only loss being against your rival on a neutral field by four points. I also don’t hate getting left out because it provides more bulletin board material heading into the offseason.
Which Texas player needs to step up against Oklahoma State?
Daniel - Offensively I’ll say Quinn since he didn’t have his best stuff against Texas Tech. Defensively, I am going to say Jaylan Ford and really the entire Texas linebacker corps. They are going to get a heavy dose of Ollie Gordon and will need to consistently get him on the ground when they get the opportunity.
Gerald - Whoever gets the start at safety. I would be shocked if Pete Kwiatkowski does something other than “put eight in the box and force Bowman to beat me” so that puts the pressure on the Texas secondary. The corners have been playing really well as of late, but the safeties have still left something to be desired. If Texas can avoid dying by 100 paper cuts in the passing game as they have in previous frustrating performances, this thing will get out of hand quickly.
Cameron - Quinn. It didn’t matter on Friday because Texas Tech couldn’t muster anything against the defense and it might not matter in this game, but I still want to see Ewers have a great game. Mostly because I want him to end the season on a high note heading into the Bowl game.
What scares you the most about Oklahoma State?
Daniel - The rushing attack spearheaded by Ollie Gordon. Mainly because it can shorten the game and make offenses have to maximize the opportunities they get. I’ll also say that Mike Gundy always seems to have some of his best coaching dialed up for games against Texas. It is never a cakewalk when the Longhorns have to deal with The Mullet.
Gerald - Off the wall answer, but Oklahoma State has a 6-foot-5 receiver. When I think of advantages that Mike Gundy and the Pokes can exploit, it’s not Ollie Gordon or anything else. It’s a Texas secondary that has shown susceptible to giving up plays and the giant who kept Oklahoma State in the game against BYU while Ollie Gordon got going.
Cameron - Mike Gundy. Texas has had so many weird and random losses to Oklahoma State over the years and I don’t think any of those teams were world-beaters. But to their credit, they always find a way to win and the Longhorns have largely found a way to lose. It’s been the opposite for Sark’s squad this year and they’ll need to keep that up on Saturday against a Cowboys team that has found their way into the conference championship game despite some bad losses.
Does Texas close out the revenge tour with a Big 12 Championship win on Saturday?
Daniel (10-2) - Texas owes them one and everything is at stake for the Longhorns once again. Stylistically I think this matchup favors Texas. The Longhorns are very stout against the run and that’s what Oklahoma State wants to do come hell or high water. I think if the Texas offense brings their A-game on Saturday, the OSU offense will struggle to keep pace and Texas will make Brent Yormark eat his words once again from the off-season
Texas 38 Oklahoma State 24
Gerald (11-1) - I’m at war with myself. Battered fan syndrome has me scared of Mike Gundy because he has been a pain in the keister for so long and loves needling Texas. I think if I can talk myself out of that anxiety, I think Texas’s best thing (run defense) is better than Oklahoma State’s best thing (rush offense). I think Texas is going to force Alan Bowman to beat them and the last time that happened Allan Bowman was on TV lamenting he threw the horns down. I’ve got Texas 35-17.
Cameron (9-3) - Yes, I don’t really see it being close. I expect Texas to stop Ollie Gordon and make the Cowboys one-dimensional. Redzone struggles and a turnover here or there might keep it from being a blowout but give me the Horns. Texas 38, Oklahoma State 16