Well, it’s that time of the year again. The week that was, or is, in this case, down here in this part of East Texas. Oklahoma versus Texas. The Sooners versus the Longhorns. The Sooners are unbeaten in four games and the ’Horns are 3-1, after last week’s drubbing by UCLA. A lot is at stake, mainly bragging rights, for myself and a few hundred others. Most people in this part of the country refer to the annual Red River shootout as Texas-Oklahoma week, but I, being a big Sooners fan, refuse to see it that way. When I make reference to this weekend, it’s always OU-Texas! And since I’m retired from the sports writing business, I no longer have to be unbiased.
I naturally pick OU. I predict it will be by as many as 10 points. Say, 30-20. I’ve also asked many of my friends, some with Oklahoma ties and some with Texas ties. Here’s what they had to say.
Olin Buchanan, who writes for Rivals.com, a former writer as well at the Austin-American Statesman, and somebody that should know: “Oh boy … this is going to be just like 1983 … I think Oklahoma is very good, but I don’t know if the Sooners as the national championship contender some say they are. My questions are mainly about the interior defensive line and the cornerbacks. I do think Ryan Broyles may be the most explosive player in the country and the OL will be better (how can it not be). I think Landry Jones is a good college QB, but I have my doubts how much better he’s going to get. I wonder in Blake Beall won’t be the starter next year. They are good enough to win the Big 12 (my pick is Nebraska) and if the defense shows me it can play consistently well (like against Florida State) then I’ll buy them as a national championship contender. If right now I had to put my hard-earned money on the Texas-OU game (remember, which side of the river I’m from) I would put it on OU. Texas hasn’t shown me anything offensively to make me think it could win the Big 12. The running game isn’t that great, they’ve had injuries in the OL and Gilbert hasn’t been asked to throw too much. I think the defense is better than OU’s. I’m going to Lubbock Saturday to see that game, so it will be interesting to see if they reveal more in a conference game. But right now, I’d take OU by a touchdown.” He used to write for me in Longview, too. That’s one for Oklahoma.
George Whitley, a huge, huge Longhorns fan, and a former writer for me in Longview, offered this opinion: “Well, if Texas plays as poor as it did Saturday against UCLA, I don't think OU will have much trouble. That being said, I think the Horns will improve from their Saturday fiasco. I'm not overly impressed with the Sooners through four games, either. I say Oklahoma by a 24-14 count. Texas is just not that strong on the offensive front and it looks as if its run defense has a lot of question marks. I just hope Texas is close in the 4th and has a chance in the end.” That’s two for Oklahoma.
Steve Mattison, an OU fan for many years, although he switched to Texas for a short period, before coming back to his senses, said: “If Landry Jones brings his A game and the secondary can cover their unheralded receivers, then I see OU by at least a touchdown --maybe more. Of course, we (meaning OU) haven't been good at stopping the run, but UT can't run it (the ball), so that levels that out. Our real threat lies in the secondary. Gilbert has a cannon and we (meaning OU, again) don't want this to be his ‘coming out’ party. Sooners 31, Texas 17.” That’s three in favor of Oklahoma.
Jim Patterson, also an Oklahoma fan for many years, but lives in Arlington, had this to say: “I really have no idea. After Texas’ loss, I would think OU has the edge, but then again the Sooners haven't really looked overpowering the last two games. I'd say it's a tossup and whoever capitalizes on the other team's mistake late in the fourth quarter, wins.” I guess that would be a tie, or whomever has the best fourth quarter.” We’ll call that one a ‘waffle’.
That makes it four for Oklahoma’s side and one “waffle”. OK, now you don’t have to tune in at 2:30 Saturday afternoon. You already know the outcome! Sort of …