No. 21 Texas Longhorns (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners
(4-0 SU, 1-3 ATS), Week 5 NCAA Football, 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday,
October 2, 2010, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas, TV: ABC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Tex +3.5/OKL -3.5
Over/Under Total: 46.5
The UCLA Bruins surprising upset in Austin last week took away a little bit of the spice of this years Red River Rivalry in the
Cotton Bowl, but the 21st-ranked Texas Longhorns can still rebound by spoiling their heated Big 12 rival and 8th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners
perfect season in the Sooners conference opener Saturday on ABC.
With four first-half turnovers the Longhorns were stunned last week
by the Bruins, and the 34-12 lashing they took caused Texas to drop
from a No. 7-ranking down to 21st this week with what coach Mack
Brown called an embarrassing loss in front of the home crowd.
So now Texas will try and prove they are still a top-10 team by going
for their third win in a row in the Red River Rivalry, a string that
Oklahoma and coach Bob Stoops will try and stop and keep the Sooners
on course in their Big 12 and BCS pursuit.
Oklahoma survived and won on the road last week in Cincinnati,
holding off the Bearcats late rally to win 31-29, but theyre
certainly not winning a lot of brownie points in the eyes of poll
voters with another close game. The Sooners have struggled since
their breakout 30-point win over Florida State in early August, so a
big win in the Red River game could be just the type of win those
poll voters need to see.
Oddsmakers opened the game with Oklahoma as 2.5-point favorites and
pretty quickly the number shot up to where it is currently, Oklahoma
minus 3.5-points. There are even a few 4s on the board at some of the
offshore sportsbooks, so most of the early action at the window has
been focused on the Sooners after Texas pooped the bed last week.
The over/under total is still off the board in Las Vegas and at a
majority of the offshore books on the Web, but there are a few with a
total posted and all of them are either at 46 or up the hook to 46.5.
With most of the offensive focus likely to be centered on stopping the quarterbacks in this matchup, this game will come down to more
than just a Garrett Gilbert vs. Landry Jones showdown.
Gilbert was rattled and rocked last week and no doubt has to play
better against the Sooners, but the Longhorns need their offensive
line and running backs Tre Newton and Foswhitt Whittaker to step up
and help take some of the pressure off of the sophomore. The
Longhorns running game has been AWOL again this season (135.5 ypg
76th) and Gilbert isnt as polished as Colt McCoy was in the passing
game, so I expect Texas to almost over-run the football this week in
light of the problem.
Jones has the luxury of having played in this rivalry game last year,
and even though he struggled (24-of-43, 250 yards, TD, 2 INT) in the
game the experience could prove to be the deciding factor for the
Sooners on Saturday.
I can also guarantee that the Longhorn will see a steady dose of running back DeMarco Murray this week, because you know the Sooners O-lineman are watching the tape of UCLA gouging the Horns for 264 yards
on the ground last week and are hoping to get a crack at them. Plus,
the last time the Sooners won in the rivalry game against Texas
(2007) they had 170 yards rushing, so the running game will be big
this week for Oklahoma.
If you always bet the Red River then Im sure you already know that
Texas has owned the rivalry since 2005, covering in four straight
games against the spread before last years game ended in a push as 3-
Last year was the only year since that 05 season that the Horns were the favorite though, as the underdog is 3-0-1 in the last four
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im leaning toward an Oklahoma play, but something in
my gut tells me they are in a bad spot here and are ripe for a Texas-
sized grudge match. So Im putting my play on the over of 46 in what
Im thinking will be more like a 60-point ball game. Take the over.