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Staff Predictions: 'Horns & Sooners


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The 2020 season has been an unconventional one for both Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman. After blanking Missouri State 48-0 in the team’s season opener, the Sooners have dropped two straight Big 12 games and find themselves in a 3-way tie for last place in the conference standings.  The Longhorns had high expectations for this season, led by senior playcaller Sam Ehlinger, but after a loss to TCU at home last weekend Texas finds themselves instead searching for answers.

A loss for Riley would all but end hopes of a Big 12 title, and a loss for Herman likely means Texas will go another season without a College Football Playoff appearance or Big 12 Championship.  The stakes are high on Saturday in Fair Park, and the Longhorns need a win to save the season and the faith of the team’s fanbase.

The HornSports Staff give their predictions on the outcome of the 116th meeting between these two teams.

Tristan Larsen

Imagine telling someone the Red River Rivalry in 2020 will be a contest between one ranked team and one unranked team, and that the unranked team is Oklahoma. Nonetheless here is where we find ourselves. The 2-1 Longhorns are taking on the 1-2 Sooners inside the Cotton Bowl with only 25% of fans available and no state fair. Oklahoma shockingly is coming off of back to back Big-12 losses despite Spencer Rattler playing pretty well. Fun note, Rattler and myself are Pinnacle High School alums. Texas on the other hands is reeling from their seventh loss to TCU in the last nine years and are arguably a QB power run play away from being 3-0. Oklahoma comes in as a -2.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 72. With these electric offenses and sub-par defenses it’s hard seeing the under hitting. This game is a must-win for both programs this year. It’s almost unfathomable to imagine Oklahoma dropping three straight. Despite Ehlinger’s outstanding post thus far to start the season, I’m taking the Sooners straight up and against the spread.

Score Prediction: Oklahoma 41, Texas 38

Devon Messinger

It’s here, the game that we all look forward to every single year. However, this year’s Red River Showdown is not quite what we imagined it would be. Despite this, there is a lot at stake for both the Longhorns and the Sooners.

The deciding factor of this game will be the quarterback battle. Of course, Sam Ehlinger has the Red River Rivalry experience, and has a solid receiving core. In addition, some pressure will be taken off of the Longhorns wide receivers if Jordan Whittington is cleared to play. However, Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler is a talented prodigy that has his own plethora of offensive weapons as well. As a result, the defense that wins the turnover and field position battles will put their team in a great position to win this game.

Score Prediction: Texas 41, Oklahoma 38

TFloss32

After last week’s disappointing performance against TCU, and OU losing consecutive games for the first time since 1998, there are only two things I’m sure of this weekend. One of those is this game being undoubtedly a must-win situation for Texas. 2020 has been touted as THE year for a while, and the significance of dropping this game is massive on many levels for the Herman/Ehlinger era. The second thing is it’s difficult to envision Oklahoma losing three in a row, especially since they have dominated this series throughout the decade and it bodes well that their young QB won’t have to play in the normally ferocious Cotton Bowl atmosphere. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Texas has a 2015-like surprise performance when the fanbase’s morale is low and they ultimately prevail, but I can’t give them the benefit of the doubt after poor play in the last two conference games.

Score Prediction:  Oklahoma 42, Texas 38

Jameson McCausland

There is no doubt in my mind this is the biggest game in Tom Herman’s tenure at Texas. The Longhorns have to win this game to keep the season on track. A loss could send things into a downward spiral and tough decisions might have to be made at the end of the year. The good news is Oklahoma has never been this vulnerable since Lincoln Riley took over. The Sooners defense has come back down to earth in the second year under Alex Grinch, specifically along the defensive line and in the secondary. Despite the struggles both teams are facing, it’s hard to see Oklahoma moving to 0-3 in conference play. Riley will be able to scheme up enough points offensively to allow OU to leave the Cotton Bowl with a win.

Score Prediction:  Oklahoma 35, Texas 31

Aaron Carrara

The Sooners have won 7 of the last 10 and four of the last five against the Longhorns, including two-straight.  It’s a down year for Lincoln Riley & Oklahoma, and Texas must take advantage of the opportunity at-hand or things could really spiral downhill for Tom Herman.  Texas must establish a running game – something they haven’t consistently done in years, and win the turnover battle.  Herman’s record the week after a loss is favorable, and I like the Longhorns to bounce back after the close loss to TCU.  However if Texas comes out flat and unmotivated, it will be a long season moving forward.

Score Prediction: Texas 38, Oklahoma 34

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