OU-Texas: What if neither is very good?
This Oklahoma-Texas week is like many others before it — full of intrigue.
Lots of storylines. Lots of drama. Lots of questions.
Here’s one of those questions for you: what if neither the Sooners nor the Longhorns is very good?
Let’s look at the evidence.
OU is 4-0 with one impressive win, a throttling of Florida State, but the rest of its victories have been narrow ones against Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati. Say what you will about Utah State’s quarterback and Air Force’s option and Cincinnati’s skill players, but none of those teams should’ve been able to stay within a touchdown of OU.
All of them did.
As for the Longhorns, Texas has a good win at Texas Tech — it’s a good one because winning in Lubbock is always tough, even if these Red Raiders aren’t as good as the Mike Leach-coached ones of recent years — but wins against Rice and Wyoming were so-so performances by Texas.
Then, of course, there was last week’s home loss to UCLA.
I have no doubt that Saturday’s game will be spirited; the Red River Rivalry always is. I have no doubt that it will be have memorable moments and highlight-reel plays and series heroes; these games always do. But really, these might just be two average teams battling it out at the Cotton Bowl.
Thing is, I’m not so sure that means either team is sunk this season.
There are four teams that are clearly better than everyone else in the nation — Alabama, Ohio State, Boise State and Oregon. After that, the pecking order is up for grabs. TCU and Stanford might eventually join that group of elite teams. Ditto for Florida, Auburn, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
Oklahoma and Texas could eventually be in that mix, too. If either team starts rolling through Big 12 play — and it’s entirely possible that both could — they will take a spot among the elite teams. Oklahoma has the skill players to do it, and Texas has the defense to do it. People around the country have respect for this league, and if one of these two runs the table in conference play, it will be in that upper echelon.
Even Texas with that bad loss to UCLA.
It starts with this weekend’s game, though. Make a statement inside the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, and that would be significant for either of these teams.
Of course, if these two teams bumble and stumble around like both have done from time to time this season, that will make a statement, too.
It’ll just be the wrong kind.
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