Happy Red River Rivalry Weekend, Sooner friends! The best time of the fall is upon us, and this year instead of the usual trip to Dallas, I will be attending an old OU buddy’s bachelor party in the great city of…AUSTIN. Yes, for the first time during this weekend since the fall of 2000, I will be in the land of burnt orange and burning arrogance when the ‘horns clash with the Crimson and Cream in that shiny, pretentious sports town three hours north of the Texas capital.
The last time I was in Austin during the Red River game, something glorious happened that Saturday morning. An early kickoff was no issue for championship-driven Oklahoma, as the entitled ‘horns were no match that day for the 2000 Sooners squad. I was a bit younger lad back then, and this will be a much more expensive Red River weekend than the one I enjoyed in 2000. But here’s to hoping I awaken to a similar result.
Let’s be honest though, the primary objective is to survive the weekend in enemy territory — the bachelor party crew rolls 16 deep with mostly OU grads, including former track athletes — without any tiffs, scuffles or altercations...or jail time. Yet, away from the action and chaos of Dallas, the boys have still gotta represent. Goals!
On to the game…
- As Graham broke down earlier this week, the teams’ offenses are quite similar. While Texas is missing running back Chris Warren III, the Sooners will once again be without highly valuable — and oft-injured — defensive lineman Charles Walker. Both teams prefer to lean on the run and open up the field using the pass, but the “18-Wheeler” formations with Tyrone Swoopes behind center could mean trouble for OU in short-yardage situations.
- Though the Texas wide receivers aren’t as skilled (or monstrous) as Houston’s, Ohio State’s or TCU’s, offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert is familiar with OU’s scheme, repeatedly shredding the
secondaryP.J. Mbanasor with Keyarris Garrett and the ‘Hurricane pass catchers the week Jordan Thomas was out last season. Texas will easily exploit the Sooners secondary if the OU pass rush doesn’t get going early.
- Offensively, if the line protects Baker better than the last meeting against Texas and powers the offense in the way it did last week in Fort Worth, then the Sooners move the ball all day. But, this is also provided the offense shows up crisp and sharp, the opposite of last season’s arrival to the Cotton Bowl. Baker, if he takes the play the defense gives him and Lincoln Riley uses last week’s playbook (read: RUN THE BALL), enables the Sooners to outscore the ‘horns in a shootout for a much-needed Red River Rivalry win — OU 41, Texas 35.
The other games I’m keeping a (likely dehydrated, desperately seeking sleep) eye on this weekend:
- I hope the Florida State-Miami game is still on for Saturday, as LSU-Florida is postponed. The FSU-UM rivalry game, especially when the two teams mattered, always made for an exciting matchup when I was growing up. As time has worn on and changes have taken place, Miami will announce to the nation on Saturday that with the Mark Richt era, The U is back — Miami 38, FSU 31.
- I sure miss Colorado being in Oklahoma’s conference, through the Big 12 and all the way back to the good ol’ Big 8 days. I grew up hating/secretly liking the Buffs, and will admit it’s fun to see them back on the national stage. USC is favored, but the Buffs beat the Trojans in southern Cal this weekend, 35-30.
- GameDay is in College Station this week. As long as Katy Perry isn’t in attendance (nor utters Trevor Knight’s name at any point during pregame), the Aggies continue to roll and win a close one, 31-29, over Rocky Top.
- Lamar Jackson is on a bye this week, thus so is my excitement level for life. The bachelor party and the Red River Rivalry must do — a big task, indeed.
Carry on with the saxeT hating, folks. And wish me luck in the land of the enemy. I will represent us loudly with flying (and hopefully winning) colors.
BOOMER SOONER. TEXAS SUCKS. Here comes the Red River Rivalry!
2000 Red River Game First Half Highlights: