I kept thinking the longer I wait, maybe this feeling would go away.
All week, I've had this feeling Texas was going to beat Oklahoma. And it hasn't gone away.
I said before the season I thought OU would come into the Red River Shootout at 1-3. And if TCU had WR/return man KaVontae Turpin (injured), the Frogs absolutely would've beaten OU.
Instead, OU held on for a 52-46 win in Fort Worth in a game in which DE Charles Walker and ILB Tay Evans both ended up in the concussion protocol and are out for Saturday's Red River Shootout.
OU was already without a bunch of coaches on the field from last year's defense: OLB Eric Striker (heart and soul), ILB Dominique Alexander (leading tackler last two years), DE Charles Tapper (now a Dallas Cowboy) and CB Zach Sanchez (7 INTs in 2015).
Now Walker and Tay Evans, too.
On offense, Texas is averaging 41.2 points per game while OU is averaging 39.5 ppg, and the Sooners are coming off their best offensive game of the season in the win over TCU.
Against the Frogs, RBs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine both went over 100 yards rushing. WR Dede Westbrook had 100 yards receiving, and Baker Mayfield was 23 of 30 passing with 2 TDs and zero INTs.
Defensively, both teams are looking for a playmaker who can turn the momentum.
On special teams, OU gets the edge for Joe Mixon on kick returns alone. He's averaging 30.3 yards per return and has taken one back for a TD.
But it seems like Strong is very comfortable going up against Stoops, dating back to the 2008 national title game when Strong was the DC at Florida in a win over OU.
Texas beat a better OU team last year. If D'Onta Foreman can go four quarters and Holton Hill and Kent Perkins are back, I think the Longhorns, a double-digit underdog for a fourth straight year, do the unthinkable ... again.
TEXAS 49 ... OU 47
I have no idea what to think about this game.
A part of me thinks Texas is going to pull out the W for the second consecutive year. Then another part - let's call it the logical part - thinks back to the last two games when I gave the Longhorns the benefit of the doubt and was duped.
(One thing I do know is I never thought I would be covering a Texas-OU game where both head coaches are on the hot seat and both could be coaching for their jobs. My what a few years can do.)
Momentum is so big in this game, and getting that early advantage can really help a young QB in Shane Buechele.
But at the end of the day, this game is going to come down to defense, turnovers and special teams - and that sentence probably makes Texas fans shutter.
Charlie Strong has to show that his unit is not simply full of talent that cannot figure out how to do little things ... like tackle. The defense needs to come out with fire in its eyes and get some early momentum to help the true freshman QB and not put the offense is a poor situation.
I don't know why, but I kind of want to give Texas the benefit of the doubt - again! There's no logical reason to support it, but I'm going to say Strong will have this defense ready and Texas walks away with the gold hat and year-long bragging rights.
Texas 45 Oklahoma 41
HD Contributor ALLEN PERKINS
I don’t know why, but I still believe in this defense and Charlie Strong. Texas needs to tackle better, as it was in position last week. The coverage was better.I don’t know why, but I still believe in this defense and Charlie.
Texas needs to finish plays with an edge, which will lead to tackling better. They were in position to make plays last week and just didn't finish.
Strong's biggest priority this week had to be getting with Vance Bedford, a man he just demoted, to repair a secondary that has looked lost. Getting CB Holton Hill back could make a huge difference.
Jason Hall and Kevin Vaccaro are listed as the starters at safety. Both are excellent blitzers and each have two sacks. That leads me to Texas needing to play an attacking style defense.
Last year, Texas pressured Mayfield at all costs, and the Longhorns need to do it again Saturday.
They have to create turnovers and cause frustration. If Baker Mayfield gets comfortable, the way Davis Webb and Mason Rudolph have the past two games, it will not end well.
UT’s offense can put pressure on OU’s offense to keep up.
Do not use the 18 Wheeler unless it’s short yardage. Malik Jefferson needs to be on the perimeter, and blitzing, not in coverage at MLB. Malcolm Roach and Breckyn Hager need to be on the field - always.
Sterlin Gilbert needs to attack all parts of the field. D’Onta Foreman needs to be the beast that he is. Shane Buechele needs to run a little, just to add a weapon. OU has had trouble with mobile QBs.
Kent Perkins being back on the O-line for extra points should solve some problems. But if one is blocked, Texas needs five different two-point conversion plays ready.
Prepare for the worst and punch back, last team standing.
OKLAHOMA 45 ... TEXAS 31