The Texas State Fair is back, and you know what that means - it's Texas - OU weekend. The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners enter their annual showdown unbeaten for the fifth time since 2001. In all of the previous matchups, both teams were ranked in the top five. This year, Texas sits at No. 11 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the Coaches poll, while Oklahoma has maintained their top ranking in the Coaches but has slid to No. 3 in the AP. The Sooners had the edge in these unbeaten matchups until 2008, the last time both clubs stepped onto the Cotton Bowl field with perfect records.
Both programs have compelling performers once again. OU's Landry Jones is still in the Heisman hunt , and he's close to putting the ghosts of Sam Bradford behind him. Ryan Broyles needs just 13 catches to break the NCAA record for career receptions. Dominique Whaley walked onto the squad, and now he's the bell cow of the rushing attack. The offense they lead is fourth in the nation in yards at 555 per game (Houston is first, Oklahoma State is third, Baylor is fifth, Texas Tech is seventh, and Texas A&M is ninth). They rank 40th defensively allowing 348 yards, thanks largely to the fact that they've blown their opponents out by an average of 27 points.
Texas hasn't beaten a Florida State, but they seem to have turned the corner under new playcaller Bryan Harsin and his young co-QBs Case McCoy and David Ash. They rank 46th in yards at 421 per game, but they've found performers in freshmen Malcolm Brown, who leads the team with 314 yards rushing, and Jaxon Shipley, who leads them in receiving with 280 yards. Sophomore Mike Davis is the deep threat, averaging 29.3 yards per catch and totaling 264 yards. Even Fozzy Whittaker seems to have found his niche, backing up Brown and manning the often used "Fozzy-cat" formation. Texas' high pressure defense under Manny Diaz ranks 15th in the country at 289 yards allowed per game, aided by the focus on the run.
Saturday is forecast as a sunny, warm day, so bring your sunblock and be sure you're in burnt orange or crimson. Kickoff is at 11:00 CT, so you can grab some fried bubblegum or buffalo chicken in a flapjack after the game. ABC will have the game, with Big Game Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit will have the call. The Sooners are 3.5 points favorites at the neutral site, even with their superior preseason standing, unbeaten record and tougher schedule.
Texas-OU weekend and the 'Red River Rivalry' are back in DFW, and we couldn't be happier.