Though it may not feel like it to some, itâ€™s finally the week of the college football season that Texas Longhorn and Oklahoma Sooner fans look most forward toâ€”the one weekend of the year when the Burnt Orange and White square off against the Crimson and Cream under the backdrop of the State Fair of Texas. Over the last decade, the stakes of this game (usually featuring two of the nationâ€™s top teams) have been huge.
This season, however, with the Horns in the midst of a rebuilding year and the Sooners coming off their first loss of the season, the game may have lost a bit of its luster to the general college football fan. Nevertheless, make no mistake; when the Sooners and Longhorns step on the field, all that matters to both programs in that moment is securing bragging rights over their most-hated rivals for an entire year.
Coming off a loss to the Baylor Bears, the Texas fan-base continues to be divided in their faith in the team. There are those who choose to take positives from last weekâ€™s lossâ€”predominately an incredible performance by the Texas defense that proved they could slow down the nationâ€™s highest scoring team; for others, the inability to put points on the board on the offensive side of the ball overshadows any hope they may have in this team.
Regardless, anyone who has followed this rivalry throughout its storied history will tell you that records and stats mean nothing when the two teams, simultaneously cheered and booed by the sea of orange and crimson, run out of the tunnel and onto the field at the Cotton Bowl.
For the fans who believe that beating the Sooners is an impossible task this season, look no further than last October. The Texas Longhorns had no business defeating the Sooners that weekend, but the â€œgood guysâ€ dominated the game from beginning to end, hoisting the Golden Hat as the final canon shot sounded.
Will the same thing happen this year?
Itâ€™s certainly not impossible. For that to happen, however, the offense has to find a way to generate points. To be fair, as difficult as it was for the offense to score against the Bears, they didnâ€™t seem to have much trouble moving the ball. What kept the Horns off the scoreboard against Baylor wasnâ€™t a lack of talent or poor playcalling as much as a lack of execution. There were several small mistakes, such as the exchange between Swoopes and Raulerson that resulted in a fumble on the goal line, and Swoopesâ€™ timing being a bit off, but if these things improve and the Texas defense continues to impress, the Longhorns could steal another from the Sooners this weekend.
Charlie Strong may have indeed had his work cut out for him this week, including rumors of tension brewing between Joe Wickline and Shawn Watson, senior leaders calling out their younger teammates, and a possible division between offensive and defensive players, but if anyone can pull them together and help them focus, itâ€™s Strong.
The Longhorn Nation is desperate for Strong and his staff to begin a new winning tradition, and a victory over the dreaded Sooners this weekend would certainly help erase some of the uglier parts of this season and begin a new era of Texas football.