Over the past decade, the Red River Rivalry has had it's moments. It is one of the top rivalries in the nation if not the best while featuring premier talent. However, it has come down to one thing...the rushing attack. This year would seem to be setting up to follow suit. The debate has already started as this border war is infused with pride.
As if it has not been harped on enough around the interwebs, the Oklahoma Sooners will have depleted their options at the receiver position. That does not mean Landry Jones will not be one of the top signal callers in college football this season. He has the talent and ability to deliver the ball yet much of his success will rely on the incoming receivers. How this handful of players progresses will certainly have it's impact on the game.
Let's not forget though, that the Sooners will be returning four of their starting offensive lineman. While the OL is instrumental in the passing attack, its success of lack there of can be detrimental to the rushing attack. OU will have plenty of options in the backfield as Brennan Clay and Roy Finch came in highly recruited. To add to them surprise back Dom Whaley and the experience is there. With the incoming crop of running backs, Oklahoma is setting itself up to be deep yet again with a stable of options to go to.
If the Big Uglies are able to open up the gaps like Sooner fans have come to expect, this is a group that could be highly successful taking a bit of pressure of the air attack. Expect the "Belldozer" package which includes Blake Bell, Trey Millard, and Aaron Ripkowski to be even more devastating this season. New wrinkles will have been developed as Ripkowski has added a bit of weight. It doesn't matter if you know what side Bell is going to, this is a punishing attack in the redzone and anywhere else for that matter.
On the other side of the river sit the Texas Longhorns who will rely heavily on their defense, especially the secondary, to carry this team yet again. One thing the defense cannot afford is to be on the field for the majority of the game. The offense will need to produce first downs in order to give this stout defense a breather.
There is a possibility that the Longhorns will be short on first downs as this is a team that has lacked the type of quarterback play of old. The mold was set by players like Vince Young and Colt McCoy yet none have proved worthy. From the disaster that was Garrett Gilbert, UT has still failed to produce a productive QB and 2012 looks to be no different.
The revolving door will continue spinning as Mack Brown throws Case McCoy in quickly followed by David Ash. If Texas is looking for success, a divided locker room is not the approach to take. Yes, both options present different capabilities but one will need to emerge as the leader.
Don't count out the trick plays though. With no dominant passer, Texas will look to establish the running game early and often to take the pressure off the signal callers but a trick play every now and then will keep the defense on it's heels.
So, CCM'ers what do you think...is this a game setting up to be determined by the rushing attacks of each team?