No Three to Watch this week, as Jamie has your 3:30 window primer with picks and will have some KNIGHT JAMEZ picks later on. Really just one good early game this week, so might as well focus on the Red River Rivalry Shootout. For the first time since 2008 and the second time in seven years, Texas and Oklahoma enter the game undefeated. Oklahoma has notched an impressive win at Florida State, while Texas has successfully completed the first stages of its revenge tour following a 5-7 record last season. 4-0 vs 4-0, Texas vs Oklahoma, fierce rivalry. Get up early buy your meats and cheeses and settle in for FOOTBAW!
The Texas quarterback situation is interesting. Returning starter Garrett Gilbert returned this year and had some injury issues giving way to recent legacy QB Case McCoy. Returning starter isn’t that cool of a spot to be in if you’re returning from a team that went 5-7 in a program that doesn’t really do that kind of thing. So, Gilbert has lost that starting spot to McCoy and freshman David Ash, who share the QB duties in a way I haven’t totally figured out yet. McCoy started against Iowa State, but gave way to Ash who went for 145 yards and two scores. The same discussion applies to all of these two-quarterback systems, stating that it gives you the luxury of going with the hot hand, but realizing that “if you have two, you don’t have one.” They’re young kids and having two of them gives you a better chance of finding one that isn’t rattled by the big stage. The youngsters have been great this year, but this will be by far their biggest test. Pretty sure this monster is scarier to Texas than to Oklahoma.
Texas sports some youth at other key positions. Malcolm Brown has been solid this year at the running back position, averaging around 5 yards per carry. The freshman carries the load for the Longhorns. Kind of a theme. Jaxon Shipley (yep, brother again) and Mike Davis (no relation to that Indiana coach) are the top targets at wide receiver and in those two you have a freshman and sophomore, respectively. Crazy young. Shipley caught six passes for 141 yards and a score against Iowa State last week and has upped his production every Saturday through the early part of the season. It doesn’t stop with the offense either, as Texas rolls out youth on defense, especially in the back four. One to watch in particular is Quandre Diggs, a freshman that Texas fans love and a guy sure to have a lot of responsibilities on Saturday.
While Texas has a lot of talent, Oklahoma has plenty of experienced talent. It starts with QB Landry Jones who will be playing in his third Red River Shootout and will be looking to cap it with a 2-1 record. He has plenty of help. Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills probably form part of the best wide receiver corps in the nation. Stills was fantastic in Oklahoma’s win over FSU and has the potential to break this game open with his sure hands and deadly after-the-catch potential. With the youth in the secondary, Oklahoma will likely be able to get these guys the ball in space where they will more than likely turn in a couple of big plays. The Oklahoma running game is led by walk-on Dominique Whaley. Whaley burst onto the scene with 131 yards and 4 touchdowns against Tulsa in the opener. Texas will probably be forced to bring pressure in this game to force some turnovers and that strategy will obviously leave them susceptible to the big play.
Confuse and Conquer
Brent Venables is like every defensive coordinator that has ever lived. He enjoys playing aggressive defense. This Saturday he’d be crazy to be anything other than aggressive. You have a young team that will undoubtedly be fazed by the atmosphere. Expect the blitzes to come in waves from the speedy Sooner defense. I expect a few turnovers from McCoy and Ash and I’m thinking that’s the difference in this one.
What does it all mean?
We know Jamie has a proud tradition of taking the underdog when it comes to…well, just about every game ever. Do not let him persuade you on this one. Oklahoma should win this one, and it’s likely they win it going away. The youth in Orange is just too much of a factor. Look for a close start and a steady steam-gathering by Oklahoma as the game goes on. 35-17 Oklahoma is your final score.
- Red River Shootout at High Noon (October 7, 2011)
- Three to Watch: Night Games Edition (September 30, 2011)