Texas vs. Oklahoma, 12 PM EST, ABC
Texas vs. Oklahoma pick:
Back in Week 6, these two squads hooked up for the 113th time at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Fans across the nation were treated to a good old-fashioned Big 12 shootout that was a true back and forth affair. The instant classic was tied at 45 all in the final minutes.
True freshman kicker Cameron Dicker stepped onto the field with a chance to end it for the Longhorns, and he proceeded to drill it. That was Oklahoma’s lone blemish on the season, but Texas has had a few missteps along the way.
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Not a ton was expected from Texas heading into the 2018 season, and a Week 1 loss to Maryland seemed to confirm those suspicions. However, the Longhorns recovered from that hiccup to win six in a row, including the thriller over the Sooners. Back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and West Virginia leveled out the enthusiasm, but Texas has closed out the season strong by winning its last three.
Oklahoma enters this one on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoff, and the club will need a big win and for other things to break just right for them to have a shot. The 2018 resume is impressive, and this is the most prolific offensive unit in the country. However, the Sooners shortcomings on defense might be too much of a hurdle for the CFP committee to look past.
Statistically, the Sooners are clearly the better offensive squad. That said, the Longhorns have already demonstrated that they have the chops to keep up with them if this game devolves into another shootout. As far as Big 12 defenses go, Texas is pretty solid, while Oklahoma is a squad that’s comfortable getting the job done as long as it has the ball last.
Pressure on the QB is pretty even, but the Sooners do a better job protecting their own. On the turnover front, Texas has had much more luck, while the Sooners are a relatively surprising -2 on the year.
This is one of the most storied rivalries in all of college football. These two schools have met 113 times in total, with Texas holding an all-time series edge of 62-46-5. The past decade has favored the Sooners, as Texas is just 4-6 straight up and 6-3-1 against the spread over the last ten.
Also over that span, the Over has been the correct choice six times, including in two of the last three meetings. For the meeting from earlier this season, Oklahoma was a 7-point favorite in a game with a projected total of 59 points. Texas walked off the field with a 48-45 victory.
The spread is larger this time around, as the Sooners are 8-point favorites. The Over/Under has also been jacked up several notches, as it sits at 77.5 points as of this writing.
This is just the second Big 12 title game in the storied conference’s history. Last year was the first iteration, with Oklahoma winning by a score of 41-17 over TCU. If they are able to pull it off again this year, they may very well be able to snag one of the coveted College Football Playoff spots. Several other things will have to break right for the Sooners to have a chance at that, but it’ll certainly be on the table at Noon EST on Saturday.
Three losses precludes Texas from the national title conversation, but a conference crown would be absolutely massive for the program and serve as a gigantic springboard for 2019. Texas has the makings of a preseason darling next year anyway,, but a Big 12 crown will only bolster the enthusiasm surrounding the program.
As evidenced by this year’s first meeting, these squads are evenly matched. Texas can absolutely hang with Oklahoma, but the Sooners may just have too much firepower for them to pull off a second upset. That said, we like the Longhorns to keep it close as these two programs treat the nation to another thriller.
We like the Sooners to win outright, but we’ll take Texas plus the points.