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Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners Red River Rivalry Pick
#3 Oklahoma takes on #17 Texas at the Cotton Bowl Saturday in the annual Red River Rivalry at high noon est. The Sooners opened as an -8.5 favorite over the Longhorns and the line currently sits at -9 across the board.
After a very un-Texas-like 5-7 year last season, the Longhorns have a bunch of revenge games in 2011. So far, they are 2 for 2 with revenge beating both Iowa State and UCLA, covering both games. This week they get to go for 3 for 3 in a rivalry game that already has a high level intensity, year after year. Last year the Sooners knocked off Texas 28-20 in a game that saw Oklahoma capitalize on several Texas mistakes. Even with the mistakes, Texas fought it's way almost all the way back with Sooner QB Landry Jones knocking a fumble out of bounds that would have set Texas up with a chance to tie the game. The Sooners have lost 2 of the last 3 and 4 or the last 6 in this series.
We saw last week when Michigan State beat Ohio State the results a mismatch at QB can produce. We don't think this game has quite the same mismatch, but you have to make note of the QB situation with Landry Jones for the Sooners and Case McCoy and David Ash leading Texas. Experience in a huge spot like this can make the difference in a game and that experience edge goes to Jones and the Sooners.
Oklahoma has played two quality opponents in Missouri and Florida State, while the jury is still out on Texas, with BYU, UCLA and Iowa State. Certainly Texas isn't getting it done in the same spectacular blowout fashion that we saw throughout most of the last decade but they are still averaging 34 points per game while giving up just 15. The Sooners are also giving up just 15 points per game while averaging 43 points per game offensively.
Both teams come in with very good yards per point numbers. Both have a 12 on offense while the Sooners weigh in with a very good 23 defensively. The Longhorns are also very good defensively with a 19. The higher the number on defense the better. The lower the number on offense, the better. If we use yards per point to make a line on this game, it would favor Oklahoma by 3. However, when you take into account that Oklahoma has played a schedule that is roughly 8 points more difficult than that of Texas, you can see how the line reaches 9.
Our score prediction model also favors the Sooners by a score of 27-17, a 10 point win.
Last season, talent, or lack of talent wasn't the problem with Texas, although they did have some QB problems with Gilbert not living up to expectations and leading the Big 12 in Picks. The problem at Texas will never be talent. Instead, there was something wrong with that team internally. Somewhere along the way, Mack Brown lost that team and the team threw in the towel. We're not saying they were a title contender, but they should have been better than their 5-7 record.
This year, no such problem. The team is buying in. It's a complete turn around as far as a winning attitude goes and that winning attitude will get their strongest test of the season Saturday. The fact that the 2010 version of the Longhorns, with all of their troubles, was able to fight back and almost have a chance to tie the game, has got to give this team confidence going into this year's game.
We hope so, because it gives us some confidence, and despite feeling the Sooners are the better, more polished team, we're going to grab as many points as we can here. Currently that would be +9 but we may see +10 here and if we do, we'll bite. Longhorns +10 or better
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