Everyone seemingly is picking Texas to win. ESPN is fawning all over the Longhorns, but remember they have a financial stake with the LHN. All of The Oklahoman writers picked Texas, except John Helsley, who also happened to be the only Oklahoman writer that picked Kansas State the week before.
My question is, what has changed so much in the last year that makes anyone believe that 38-26 and 33-16 wins in Austin the last two years can't be repeated at home in Boone Pickens Stadium?
I'll answer that one for Mack Brown. The Texas head coach will tell you his quarterback is a year older and more confident, his stable of running backs are really good, and he has two bookends and two bookcorners that make the Longhorns defense really strong in forcing bad plays and preventing good ones for the opposing offense.
All that is good but I would say at 3-0 with wins over Wyoming, New Mexico, and a down Ole Miss team that Texas has not been tested, even hit in the mouth. Arizona did that for the Cowboys and any entitlement over a Big 12 Championship is gone after that desert slap in the face.
Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon are gone. But Wes Lunt is pretty good and all J.W. Walsh did when Lunt was out against Louisiana was help set a total offense record of 742 yards and OSU has been playing football for 110 years, so that's not a bad accomplishment for J.W.
Can the Cowboys win and make it three in a row over Texas? You betcha!
1. Oklahoma State corners Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert
vs. Texas wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and Mike Davis
That match-up will be just as important because both Oklahoma State and Texas are proud of their corners, and in Saturday night's game both the Cowboys and Longhorns need to trust their corners to cover in man so they can devote as much defense as possible to stop the run.
The match-up I want to see would be Brown on the taller Davis as Brown loves to muscle up to a bigger receiver. Go ask Jeff Fuller, formerly of A&M, or current K-State receiver Chris Harper how well Brown does when he is at a size disadvantage. Brown on Davis makes sense too because we all want to see the speed on speed of Gilbert covering the Olympian (long jumper) Goodwin.
The Texas receivers are good, but Brown and Gilbert are better. One is an All-American and the other is a potential first-round NFL Draft pick.
vs. UT guard Mason Walters, center Dominic Espinosa and guard Trey Hopkins
This scenario is different as the experience is all with the Texas trio, although they have not seen anybody quite like Barnett yet. The best advise here is strike first, strike fast, and strike with plenty of force. Barnett and Castleman need to make Texas feel that the night is long and not the other way around. Push in the middle will go a long way toward curtailing the Longhorns coveted run game.
vs. Texas Defensive Front Seven
Truth be told, he is not the only one in the game with that issue. A huge factor here is whether Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks can go or not. If not, the experience situation gets much more even. Texas gets the nod here, but not by much. Walsh's mind and his mobility go a long way toward either evening this up or putting himself in an advantageous role.
Week 5 Predictions
No. 7 West Virginia 38, No. 24 Baylor 34
Iowa State 27, Texas Tech 14
No. 14 TCU 31, SMU 20
Baylor 31, La-Monroe 23
Actual Score: Baylor 47-42
No. 17 TCU 47, Virginia 16
Actual Score: TCU 27-7
No. 8 West Virginia 59, Maryland 20
Actual Score: West Virginia 31-21
Northern Illinois 26, Kansas 21
Actual Score: Northern Illinois 30-23
No. 15 Kansas State 34, No. 6 Oklahoma 28
Actual Score: Kansas State 24-19
Record: SU 29-1/ATS 16-5 (Games involving FCS teams don't have point spreads.)