The 2016 edition of the Red River Rivalry kicks off today in Dallas between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns, who were not a good team at all last season, managed to win their biggest game of the year, though. Texas put together a beautiful game plan to pull off the upset, a 49-31 win to surprise the nation. That was all Texas had in the tank in 2015 but they did it when it counted the most in their rivalry game. The loss didn’t impact Oklahoma’s plans at a chance to win the National Championship, as they still made the college football playoff, catching a date with the Clemson Tigers.
It all of course went for not, as Clemson won and went on to lose against Alabama. If you don’t think Oklahoma has revenge on their minds after last season, you have another thing coming. It doesn’t necessarily mean Oklahoma will run away with this game, but I would be shocked if they don’t come in prepared and ready to play.
Already out of the playoff picture, a loss here for Oklahoma could be a kill shot to Bob Stoops’ career. He was nearly delivered a deathblow last week against the TCU Horned Frogs. Oklahoma holding onto a massive lead going into the 4th quarter, the Sooners came close to a blowing a 49-23 lead. They ultimately held on for a 52-46 victory. Oklahoma stopped playing football, it’s simple as that. In the NFL, pounding the football and killing the clock with a lead like that will be more than sufficient.
In college football, leads can evaporate in the blink of an eye with the amount of bad defenses and high-octane offenses. Everything was working for Oklahoma, but when they stopped running their playbook and handing the ball off with 2 seconds on the clock every down, TCU was able to get the ball back and turn it into points in a hurry. I sincerely hope they learnt their lesson from that near blown game a week ago.
Baker Mayfield looked solid as can be last week, throwing for 2 touchdowns and 274 yards. They didn’t need him to do much more, because the running game looked like the same kind of unit everybody predicted it’d be at the start of the season. The Sooners ran for 262 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Those are some of the gaudy numbers expected to come out of that backfield. Oklahoma will look to do it today with revenge over Texas in their sights.
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Texas +13.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Oklahoma vs. Texas Pick:
Oklahoma sports an ugly record of 2-2 entering the Red River Rivalry, enough to do push them out of playoff contention. However, they still have an opportunity to win the Big-12 and play in a New Year’s Bowl Game. For Texas, everything started off so great, they beat Notre Dame in the opener and it looked like they were going to turn a page in 2016. So much for that, as the Longhorns have dropped games in back-to-back weeks, with losses against California and Oklahoma State. Two winnable games which would have propelled head coach Charlie Strong into safe territory heading into their game against Oklahoma. Instead Strong is back on fire watch, and a loss to Oklahoma this afternoon will do nothing to cool those discussions.
The offense looks to be firing on all cylinders for Oklahoma. They have seemed to work out the kinks on their offensive line, who have been playing much better football of late. I think the Ohio State game put an added fire under them to get this thing in motion. I see their offense playing great football the rest of the way now that they have the Buckeyes out of the way. They were a top scoring offense a year ago, and they should be able to look like that same unit over the next few months. If anything, they’re going to find a groove against Texas.
When you think of Texas, you might think of a hardnosed defense, but it feels like their defense has disappeared along with the rest of the Big-12 Conference. There isn’t a team in this conference who brings that to the table, no different with Texas. If they did, they’d be 0-4 at the moment. The Longhorns have allowed an average of 38.3 points per game. They are 68th in the country defending the pass and 39th against the run.
The offense isn’t the problem for Texas now. They have find their quarterback in Shane Buechele, who has passed for 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Texas is also running the ball extremely well, with 261 yards per game for 11th in the nation. Oklahoma allows an average of 131 per game, 39th. They’ve been standing still against the pass, allowing around 300 yards a game and 84th defending the air game. They’re also allowing 35.3 points per game. There is no other play in this game for me but the OVER.
PICK: OVER 73 POINTS (-110)