Crystal Ball - Red River Rivalry

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:27 pm
By: News 9

Originally Published: Sep 26, 2010 10:32 PM CDT

Its that time of year again. The Oklahoma Sooners are ready to head down to Dallas for their annual matchup with the Texas Longhorns. Despite the Longhorns surprising upset at the hands of UCLA, the game has no less weight in determining the how the Big 12 South will shake out. How do the Sooners stack up with their rivals from south of the Red River?

1. Coaches: PUSH
Another wonderful matchup of OU-Texas coaches. For many years it seemed Barry Switzer and Darrel Royal were bigger than the game. Now, Bob Stoops and Mack Brown go center stage for almost 24/7/365. Each of these guys and their assistants rank in the top five of college coaches. Proof: Stoops 6-5 vs. Mack, 5 straight over Mack, 6-1 Conf title games, 1 nat’l title, $4M salary, great wife. Mack: 4-of-5 over Stoops, 2 Big 12 titles, 1 national, $4M man, great wife. Pick ‘em.

2. QB: Edge OU
Landry Jones: (65%, 305 yds/game, 9TD/3INT, 139 ratingimproving4-0 this year after losing close UT and road games in 2009.experience advantagenot finished product and moved better in pocket vs Cincy but still prone to bad INT (across body throw vs. UC that almost cost game.hard worker and popular with mates. Garrett Gilbert: (63%, 221 yds/game,  4TD/ 4INT, 120 rating confidence being tested.terrific in fill-in role in BCS title loss.natural throwing motion but not consistently in sync with receivers. Game may hinge on his ability to come through in Cotton Bowl crunch.
3. Run Game Edge PUSH
The natural inclination is to give OU the edge, But UT has run for more yards and a better average. And OU’s OL doesn’t exactly blow people off the ball, and the ran for an average of 1.9 yds/rush vs. UCDeMarco Murray’s versatility and numbers are good, but making big plays and making first man miss don’t come as easily.Madu a great change-of-pace back-up. Converted WR DJ Monroe started vs. UCLA and had 51 yards and averaged 8.5/rush.

4. Offensive line: Edge Texas
Texas gets the edge based on experience and pedigree. They’ve recruited better even though offensive numbers reflect itC David Snow probably best of bunchOU’s improved from the dysfunctional group in ’09 into a cohesive and deep group that’s led by So. C Ben Habern.OU relies on youngsters and converted TEs which has worked for the most part.

5. Specials Edge OU
Aside from not being able to hit field goals beyond 42 yards, OU’s special teams are a strength Tress Way’s low punts vs. Cincy and inability to leave kicks inside the twenty don’t offset his national standing. Cover units are very good and Broyles is a top-notch return man. UT PK Justin Tucker is 7-for-9 with a long of 51Tucker and  Gold have punted 8 times apiece averaging a little over 40 yds/. UT’s return teams are not special, especially KO return game.

6. Defensive Line: Edge Texas
OU has all-world DEs and there’s depthBeal a first-team AA and reliable big-play guy who’s always around the ballGreat depth with 3rd team PMacon making two late-game plays to clinch win at UC. But the so-so down linemen give edge to UT. ATaylor still slowed and starter CWalker likely to sit out. UT’s DT KRandall a stud and DEs SAcho and EJones play with the energy DC Muschamp likes.

7. Linebackers Edge Texas
OU’s WLB Travis Lewis is playing all-star ball and clearly a team leader. But RS Frosh Tom Wort is learning the system and misses occasional tacklessomething that’s plagued this defense. Wort is a vicious hitter and a key player in Dallas. UT leads the B 12 in sacks with 3.5 per game. Athletic DEs Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho lead the way.

8. Secondary Edge Texas
OU boundary corner Jammel Fleming is slowed or will miss game with ankle injury. Promising TR Fr AColvin will play there, another TR Fr TJefferson starts at nickel and is outstandingbut youngFS QCarter’s a stud and a hitter and SS JNelson is fast and solid. OU has been beaten deep some and is very young. Texas is outstanding with Aaron Williams (big, talented and NFL top pick), Curtis Brown Chykie Brown are corners and Gideon is physical on the back-end. They will be a huge test for OU QB Jones.

9. Receivers Edge OU
 Slot Ryan Broyles had 10 receptions for 100 yards vs UC and has seven consecutive games with at least 100 yards receivinghe’s a pure thoroughbred dependable gamebreakerTR Fr Kenny Stills is now No. 2 and has poise, hands and skill to be the next OU go-to man6-5 DMiller is coming on as is the TE gameTR Fr Mike Davis from Dallas Skyline has become UT’s main threat as Malcolm Williams is good but’s not reached  potential.

10. Intangibles: OU
Very slight edge to the Sooners who have the momentum edge going in4-0 record a lot better than UT’s 3-1the way an un-ranked UCLA ripped them seven days before the RRRivalry could be unnerving. Texas does take the confidence of having won 4 of the last 5 in the seriesSooners have turnover ratio advantage and their leadership is more grounded.Mack has great record of winning close games, but Stoops is 3-0 in close games this season.