OKLAHOMA VS. TEXAS
Kickoff: 12 noon ET/9 a.m. PT
Las Vegas Line: Oklahoma -17
Recent installments of the Red River Shootout confirm the most trite of rivalry cliches. Records don’t necessarily matter.
In 2013, Mack Brown’s tenure as Texas head coach was circling the drain. The Longhorns were 3-2, winners of games against New Mexico State and Iowa State, the latter of which was gifted to them by some wretched officiating.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, was undefeated and looked very much like a BCS championship contender.
Of course, Texas won a 36-20 decision that was far more lopsided than the final score indicates.
Strange things happen at the Texas State Fair, which must be the rallying cry of a Texas Longhorn team in disarray. Second-year head coach Charlie Strong already has buzzards tracking his every loss, and a blowout loss to rival Oklahoma would certainly feed their hunger.
Strong needs some positive vibes. Last year’s Red River Shootout was very nearly a watershed game for the Longhorn head coach, coming down to a final snap. But as of Week 6 in 2015, this Texas team looks worse, and this Oklahoma squad looks better than a year ago.
Linebacker Eric Striker, the Football Writers Association of America’s Week 5 National Defensive Player of the Week, can wreak havoc on young Longhorn quarterback Jerrod Heard. Heard’s done his best to rally the ‘Horns, both on field with a historic showing against Cal, and off the field this week.
The talented Heard will be running for his safety with Striker and Co. in pursuit, but the quarterback’s capable of making enough big plays to keep the Longhorns competitive.
Texas’ defense has been dismal thus far, despite coordinator Vance Bedford’s swagger.
Vance Bedford: "I'm like John Wayne. Why would you cross the Red River? Pilgrim, I don't understand."
— Max Olson (@max_olson) October 7, 2015
Its best hope of slowing Oklahoma is forcing gunslinger quarterback Baker Mayfield into some bad decisions. That might happen once or twice, but not enough to sustain a Longhorn upset.