In the bigger-than-life atmosphere of the Red River Shootout, it's hard to win with young players - and Texas is playing 19 freshmen these days.
Typically, you need to have played in one or two of these games to appreciate just how magnified everything becomes - from sharing the tunnel to the non-stop deafening sound.
As Dom Espinosa told me Friday, "It's either going to be really good or really bad - with all those young players on the field. You hope they don't overthink things and just go out and turn it loose."
Lately, it seems like everyone is overthinking things - from ineffective game-planning by the coaches (coming out throwing instead of running vs TCU) to questions about if the best players are actually playing (Holton Hill never needs to come off the field).
I think Jerrod Heard will come out gassed up and ready to go. But emotion can only take you so far. And there will be no Daje Johnson or Kent Perkins on offense.
Defensively, Texas has to find a way to slow down Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield of Lake Travis. He's the head of the snake for OU.
Right now, the Sooners appear to have too much going in the right direction, while Texas has endured three straight games of special teams blunders followed by questions about team chemistry.
Oklahoma 35, Texas 17
Texas needs a statement win in order to help change the narrative around Longhorn football. What better way to change it than by upsetting No. 10 Oklahoma?
The Longhorns are coming off of an embarrassing loss to TCU, but they have to put the loss in the past in order to be ready to take on the Sooners. Texas needs to gain early momentum Saturday and keep the momentum in its favor as the game progresses.
I'm not sure we have seen what Oklahoma is truly made of at this point of the season. There's no denying Baker Mayfield's talent, but who the Sooners are on defense is yet to be determined, in my opinion.
The defense is coming off of a game where it forced five turnovers and sacked West Virginia QB Skyler Howard seven times, but this is the same defense that gave up 603 yards and 38 points to Tulsa, at home. If the defense that faced Tulsa shows up at the Cotton Bowl Saturday, the Longhorns will be poised to pull the upset.
At this point, there are too many questions on the Texas depth chart to give the Longhorns the benefit of the doubt.
Oklahoma 38 Texas 28
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can’t put the blame on you.
I’ve been a believer in the Longhorns for most of the season. I picked them to beat Cal and Oklahoma State. I didn’t pick them to beat TCU but I did think the game would be close.
This week I’m going with a bit of a different way of thinking. I’m not going to give UT the benefit of the doubt anymore. The Longhorns have to prove something on the field first before I can pick them to even hang around in a game like this.
Yes, I’m aware of the history of this game and that records don’t always matter in this one. But after what I saw on Monday – where players were calling each other out on Twitter, etc. – I’m just not sold that this team can get things fixed that quickly in order to beat a team as well-rounded as OU is on offense.
Add that to the likelihood of Kent Perkins and Daje Johnson both not playing, and I just don’t see a way that Texas keeps this close.
Oklahoma 42, Texas 24