Shootouts Are Similar To Wild West

Intriguing Game- Big 12 Championship

(14) Texas Longhorns at (6) Oklahoma Sooners

Texas: Coach Tom Herman worked his magic at the University of Houston and now, he’s doing the exact same thing in Austin at the University of Texas and when a program that’s struggled returns to being relevant once again, I think that’s a tremendous thing for the game of college football. After the opening season loss to the Maryland Terrapins, the Longhorns became one of the hottest teams in the country and went on a very impressive winning streak which included a win over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. The difference between this Longhorns team from previous ones is that they’ve been able to remain in close games and pull away with the victory, something they’ve struggled to do over the years and looking at the numbers, Texas is 6-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Last season, they were 1-4 in such games. Sam Ehlinger has put together a phenomenal and I said during the Summer when I previewed the Big-12 that if he’s consistent and plays well week in and week out, the Longhorns will be just fine and when I watched him actually play, I was impressed with his moxie, his confidence, his ability to spread the football around to the open receiver and when pressure is coming directly at him, he’ll scramble to extend the play. This football program is headed in the right direction and this is their best regular-season record since 2009, the year they made the national championship when they faced Alabama and Mack Brown was their head coach. A victory on Saturday would be the icing on the cake for a season that nobody saw coming this year.

Oklahoma: No Baker Mayfield this year, no problem at all and their offense never missed a single beat. If you haven’t watched Kyler Murray play, what rock have you been living under? He’s become one of my favorite players to break down in the country and he’s also one of the more exciting players to watch. He’s in the same category as must-see TV because whenever he’s on the field, something exciting is about to happen whether he’s making a play with his arm or he’s throwing it. He showed everyone just how good he was last Friday in their game against the West Virginia Mountains and pretty much sealed his invitation to New York City next month for the Heisman Trophy presentation as he threw for 364 yards passing and accounted for four touchdowns in a shootout, 59-56. Over the last month, there’s been a real argument that he’s just as valuable to his team as Tua Tagovailoa is to the Alabama Crimson Tide, but I think Kyler is more valuable to the Sooners and my reason for saying that is you can take Tua away from Saban and the Tide and they will still win football games whereas you remove Kyler from the Sooners and it’s a much different story. This offense is a video game in real life and they score with ease. Their offense averages 50 points per game and each time I see them step on the field, I just think they’ll put up six and most of the time, they do. Their defense has been the issue for so many years and with them struggling so much in recent memory, it’s put pressure on the offense to sustain such long drives. I would say they’ve improved since firing Mike Stoops, but they gave up 56 points the other night. They’ll look to win their second consecutive conference championship on Saturday.

Texas Player To Watch: Keontay Ingram– His last game against Oklahoma, the numbers weren’t eye-popping but he averaged 6 yards per carry. He’s an explosive runner with the ability to bounce outside and really push himself up the field with hard running. Running the football will help win that time of possession battle and keep that electric offense on the sideline.

Oklahoma Player To Watch: CeeDee Lamb– Showtime! He and Marquise Brown give Kyler Murray an electrifying tandem of receivers. What catches my eye about his game is he’s always moving to free himself and get open and he knows he plays with a quarterback who can extend the play so his movement to keep running will wear down a secondary. He can have a big game on Saturday night.

Final Analysis: The first Saturday of December is always a fun one, but it’s even more special when you have a well-known rivalry to decide a conference champion. Red River Rivalry part two! When these two teams played on October 6th, it was the usual shootout that two Big-12 teams are known to produce and Oklahoma appeared to have the game but Texas gave them everything they could handle and ended up winning the game, 48-45. I’m expecting another high scoring affair in this one and I see this game coming down to the fourth quarter and the team with the last possession will win this football game. Texas plays better defense than many teams do in the conference and they will need to really limit the mobility of Kyler Murray. They need to keep him in the pocket which is easier said than done or even throw off his timing on his passes. If I’m Oklahoma, you can’t be too loose on the defensive end because that’s what hurt you the last time.

Prediction: Oklahoma 50 Texas 47