Our staff takes on Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma matchup:
BRIAN DAVIS: Expecting a great game, but an OU win
Given the topsy-turvy way this game normally goes, I want to pick Texas. Everything is stacked against the Longhorns. The players are supposedly fighting, the coach is being criticized and even Bevo himself can’t make it to the game. Under normal Texas-OU circumstances, that seems like a great opportunity to go with the underdog. But without a full-strength Kent Perkins, this offensive line struggles. Without Daje Johnson, I’m not convinced UT has a game-breaking receiver. I do expect a barroom brawl. No way a Charlie Strong-coached squad gets bulldozed two straight weeks. Right? At least you’d think so. Expecting a great game, but an OU win.
KIRK BOHLS: Can the season and coach take a second straight blowout loss?
Is this the Longhorns’ last stand? Charlie Strong may not be able to withstand another blowout loss in consecutive weeks, especially to an arch-rival. It is imperative for Strong’s long-term future that his Longhorns be competitive in the Cotton Bowl. After all, on Monday he promised they would be. The key to staying in the game might well be getting a score out of the defense and special teams.
CEDRIC GOLDEN: Horns’ chances begin and end with Jerrod Heard
He’s a redshirt freshman, but it’s no secret that Texas’ fortunes begin and end with Jerrod Heard. He says he feeds off the emotion directed at him from opposing fans, so his stomach will be full by kickoff. If ever there was a time for him to rediscover the electric playmaking ability he displayed against Cal, it’s now. And if that happens, the Horns will earn some respect on the field. Will that respect come with a much needed win? That’s another matter altogether.
RYAN AUTULLO: Remembering a bold promise (that’s about to be broken)
On Nov. 17, 2014, Charlie Strong proclaimed that Texas would never again lose five games in a season under his watch. It was a rare moment of bravado out of Strong, whose team had just won its third straight game to get bowl-eligible at 6-5. A sixth loss followed. Then a seventh. On Saturday, Oklahoma can make a fool out of Strong and dish Texas its fifth loss with six games to go. What was Strong thinking when he made that prediction? Now it’s looking like he may never win five games again.