NCAA Football – Week 7
The Red River Rivalry isn’t quite as meaningful in the national picture as normal, but that won’t stop these two heated rivals from battling hard all the way through this Saturday afternoon’s contest. Both teams already have a loss and are almost assuredly out of the national title picture, but this is still a rivalry game between two teams with aspirations of winning the Big 12 Conference. Let’s take a closer look at this game.
Texas lost a tough game at home last weekend to the West Virginia Mountaineers. The 48-45 loss was definitely tough to take, but it is pretty clear at this point that West Virginia is a very good football team. Texas is just two years removed from having a losing record, so this Longhorns program is clearly moving quickly in the right direction. It all starts with a terrific running game. Texas has three very good running backs. Malcolm Brown is listed as questionable for this one, but Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray are ready to go. David Ash has exceeded all expectations for him so far this year. Ash is completing 77.5% of his passes, and he has thrown 11 touchdowns and just one interception. If he keeps playing like that, this will be a tough team to beat this year.
The Texas defense was shredded up last week by West Virginia. Overall, the Longhorns defense is ranked 76th in the nation in total defense. They have played some good offenses, but that is still disappointing for a team that is normally built around their strong defense. Particularly surprising is the fact that opponents are averaging 182 yards per game on the ground. This unit needs to tighten it up a bit if the team is going to stay in the Big 12 race.
Oklahoma suffered a major upset at home against Kansas State a few weeks ago. The Sooners lost straight up as a 15.5 point favorite in that game. They did bounce back last weekend with a 41-20 win at Texas Tech, but for a team ranked so highly in the preseason, sitting at 3-1 right now is clearly a disappointment. Landry Jones’ numbers haven’t been as impressive over the last couple years as they were in 2010. It seems this team really misses Ryan Broyles. Kenny Stills is a solid receiver, but he doesn’t have the same game breaking ability that Broyles had. Damien Williams and Dominique Whaley have both been very good running the ball for Oklahoma this year. The Sooners offense is averaging 38.2 points per game.
The Sooners defense has been superb against the pass. Oklahoma ranks ninth in the nation in pass defense. That number is especially impressive when you consider the competition Oklahoma goes up against in the Big 12. The front seven struggled in a big way against Kansas State, and they’ll get another major test in this one.
Free Pick: Texas +3.5
The Texas Longhorns have been beaten down by Oklahoma quite a bit in this rivalry over the last few years, but I like their ability to run the ball in this one. I like Texas as the underdog here.
Texas 34 Oklahoma 31