The Red River
Shootout Showdown is one of the best days on the college football calendar. It kicks off a weekend of fried food, midway games, and massively oversized nightmare-inducing characters. But it also usually one of the best games, taking place almost smack-dab in-between the campuses of Texas in Austin, and Oklahoma in Norman.
With one half of the stadium in burnt orange and the other in crimson divided right down the middle, it’s an amazing scene and a must on any college football fan bucket list. The Sooners have had the best of it lately, but can they make it eight of the last 11? Let’s take a look ahead of the matchup.
When and where
12 p.m. ET
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
Why the line is what it is
Texas has yet to get fully on track in the Tom Herman Era, and are just 25-15 in a Big XII that hasn’t exactly set the world on fire the last three seasons. Sam Ehlinger returns at QB for the ‘Horns, and he booked 3,663 yards passing and 677 yards rushing last season. Keaontay Ingram will be in the backfield (5.9 yards per carry, 853 yards last season), but the elite recruiting of the orange needs to start paying dividends now. With back-to-back Top 3 recruiting classes in 2018 and 2019, and plenty of talent on the offensive and defensive lines, Texas is too big a brand and department to be finishing where they are.
Despite a loss in this game in 2018, Lincoln Riley has won the Big 12 championship in all three seasons as a head coach. Heisman Trophy finalist Jalen Hurts is off to the NFL after one season as a grad transfer, but redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler takes over with high expectations in Oklahoma. Back-to-back 1000-yard rusher Kennedy Brooks also returns, and even losing future first-round pick CeeDee Lamb shouldn’t hurt so bad as OU has tremendous depth at skill positions.
Why it might change
There are question marks about who Ehlinger can throw the ball to, but if UT can find some playmakers in space, they should be able to hang around. There’s a ton of pressure on this Texas team however, as Year 4 of Herman needs to look a lot better than the 8-5 of Year 3.
Where the value is now
Oklahoma has been the dominant force in this game of late, and probably deserves a bit more respect than laying than a field goal on a neutral field. Even if Rattler starts slow as a redshirt freshman, this game is in Week 6, and he and the Sooners should be rounded into form by then.
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