AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has its share of critics on the home front, but the Longhorns are picking up support this week from an unlikely source: Oklahoma.
The Sooners are all in — OK, almost all in — in support of the Horns because Texas can help Oklahoma win a Big 12 championship and BCS berth by knocking off Kansas State on Saturday night.
“Let's go, Texas!” OU senior starting defensive tackle Casey Walker said Monday at the team's news conference.
Walker wouldn't flash the Hook ‘em, Horns sign, but he said, “We need them to handle business so that it puts us in a better spot.”
Landry Jones, the Big 12's career leader in passing yardage, who is coming off back-to-back 500-yard games, had a similar take.
“Texas has the ability to win in Manhattan, and I'm pulling for them, but we have no control over that,” he said. “In an ideal world, we'd all want a championship game to have another shot at K-State, but we have to play the hand we've been dealt. We lost a game. Now we've got to win a game and just see what happens.”
Oklahoma, whose defense has been torched for 97 points the past two weeks, will have its hands full at TCU, a formidable young team brimming with confidence after winning at Texas. The Sooners are just 6 1/2-point favorites. (K-State is an 11-point favorite over Texas.)
“When people looked at the last five games on our schedule, a lot of them thought we'd go 0-5. They were all ranked teams,” Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson said. “But we're 2-2 with a chance to go 3-2. We've shown we can play in this league.”
If OU and K-State both win, or both lose, they'll be recognized as co-champions, but the Wildcats would earn the automatic BCS invitation because of their 24-19 win in Norman back in September. The Sooners would be a candidate for a BCS at-large bid, much more so if they beat TCU.
It's doubtful Jones will throw for anywhere close to 500 yards this week. TCU allows just 226 yards through the air and has the No. 1 total defense (323.9 yards per game) and No. 2 scoring defense (23.0 points per game) in the league.
Yet the Sooners have been resilient. After going five years without overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit, they've now done it two weeks in a row.
Oklahoma remains the standard of excellence in the conference. The Sooners won titles in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
“I think this is 11 of the last 13 years we've been in the last game with championship implications,” coach Bob Stoops said. “That's hard to pull off with all the excellent teams in this league.”
MCT Information Services