Arguably the biggest rivalry game in all of college football will be held this weekend. Additionally, this will be the last time this game will be played while each team plays in the Big 12 Conference. Texas versus Oklahoma. For the final time in the Big 12, each team will travel to Dallas to meet in an unforgettable matchup. Other than this colossal contest, the undefeated Maryland Terrapins take on #4 Ohio State. #23 LSU gets yet another test as they travel to Colombia to take on the #21 Missouri Tigers. Staying in the SEC, two other games present enormous stakes. #1 Georgia takes on its best opponent of the season in the #20 Kentucky Wildcats who are also unbeaten. Finally, another intriguing matchup will occur in Texas. #11 Alabama travels to College Station to take on the Texas A&M Aggies in a game that always seems to be too close to comfort for the Crimson Tide.
#3 Texas vs. #12 Oklahoma (+5.0) 11:00 a.m. CT Saturday, October 7 on ABC
This will be the last time Texas is chosen, I promise. But, in all seriousness, the Red River Rivalry is always one of the most intriguing matchups in all of College Football. However, this year may be one of the best matchups we’ve witnessed in a while. This game is incredibly important as both Texas and Oklahoma are eyeing College Football Playoff bids. Furthermore, as was mentioned in the first paragraph, this will be the last time these two teams play as members of the Big 12 Conference.
The wait is nearly over… pic.twitter.com/M8TZmt5LG6— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 6, 2023
This will be the 119th iteration of the game. Texas currently leads the series, 63-50-5. But, since 2010, the Sooners have dominated the Longhorns. Oklahoma has won the past ten of fourteen matchups against Texas, including the 2018 Big 12 Championship. Oddly enough, in three out of the four Texas victories, the Longhorns have been unranked. After last year’s thumping of the Sooners, the Longhorns entered the AP Poll as the 22nd-ranked squad. Last year’s Red River Rivalry win was Texas’ largest margin of victory against Oklahoma and the largest margin of victory in this game since 2003.
Expect fireworks once again this year. Since 2010, the winning team has at least scored 24 points in every game. And, the two teams combined have scored more than 50 points 11 times since the 2010 matchup. This season, Oklahoma is averaging 510 yards, while Texas averages 478.4 yards per game. Both teams sport a balanced attack, as each team averages more than 280 yards through the air and over 150 yards on the ground. Currently, the over is set at 60.5, which does seem a bit low considering the shootouts these teams have been involved in.
Nevertheless, Texas hasn’t allowed any opponent to score more than two touchdowns in a game this season. And unsurprisingly, neither have the Sooners. These teams enter the weekend as two similar squads. The main difference is Texas has beaten a powerhouse, Alabama, while Oklahoma has yet to play a ranked opponent.
The Longhorns are equally dangerous by air and ground. Potential first-round pick, Quinn Ewers, has thrown for 1,358 yards, 10 touchdowns, and only one interception. Running back Jonathon Brooks has filled in admirably for ex-Longhorn star Bijan Robinson. Brooks has totaled 597 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. He’s coming off his best performance of the year after torching the Jayhawks for 218 yards and 2 scores. The receiving core boasts three special talents. Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell, and Ja’Tavion Sanders who is coming off an injury, but will be ready to go.
As opposed to the Longhorns, the Sooners don’t have the dominant playmakers. But, Oklahoma is led by star quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel has already amassed 1,593 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. In addition, his offensive line has only allowed four sacks this season. Gabriel has done a fantastic job of spreading the ball around and the ground game has employed more of a shared rushing attack. On defense, linebacker Danny Stutsman will lead the charge in stopping Brooks from rushing and Ewers scrambling. The junior linebacker has already accumulated 49 total tackles.
This Oklahoma team looks totally different from a year ago, but so does Texas. The Longhorns might be it this year. Their talent is oozing throughout the roster and holes are hard to come by. Sure, Gabriel may have over 300 yards against the Longhorns, but Texas can keep up with any team in the nation due to their balanced attack. I expect the Longhorns to win this one before both teams meet again in the Big 12 championship.
My pick: Texas wins 41-34
Texas A&M vs. #11 Alabama (-1) 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday, October 7 on CBS
Although Alabama has been significantly better than Texas A&M over the past few seasons, this game has been more competitive than one would expect. Since joining the SEC, Texas A&M has only defeated the Crimson Tide twice in eleven tries. But, that’s nothing to scoff at as Alabama has consistently dominated all of college football.
A season ago, the Aggies only lost by four, and then in the season prior, Texas A&M defeated Alabama by three. This season, the Crimson Tide don’t look as dominated as they’ve been in recent years. Alabama is 4-1 with two wins that would have typically been blowouts. The offense isn’t as explosive and while the defense is good, it doesn’t rank top-10 in either yards or points allowed per game.
And, Texas A&M looks like a competent team this season. Besides a drubbing against the unranked-at-the-time Miami Hurricanes, the Aggies have defeated each opponent by at least twelve points. The Aggies have two quality victories, over Arkansas and Auburn.
The annual Texas A&M versus Alabama game will surely be interesting. And based on my pick, I believe this contest will be even more intriguing than one would expect. The Aggies have so much talent and Alabama doesn’t look like to Alabama we’re used to seeing.
My pick: Texas A&M wins 27-24