There really is nothing quite like the Red River Showdown. The Cotton Bowl with the Texas State Fair as the backdrop gives this game a special aura. The 50-50 split of burnt orange and crimson right down the middle of the stands is a sight to behold. It’s an atmosphere unlike anything else in college football. And the early kickoff on Saturday is an incredible way to kick off a full slate of action.
The storied rivalry gets the hype it so rightfully deserves this year as No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 11 Texas square off in the most anticipated version of this game in over a decade. From Jalen Hurts‘ first appearance in this game to Texas playing the role of the underdog despite an improving offense that could stand toe-to-toe with OU, there’s a lot to cover.
And that’s why we are here. Let’s take a look at the 2019 Red River Showdown with storylines for the Sooners and Longhorns along with picks for the game and all the viewing information you need.
Oklahoma: There’s an interesting subplot to this game regarding Hurts. The Sporting News had a great stat about first-time quarterbacks in the Red River Showdown. Since 1990, they’re 2-14-1 against quarterbacks with at least one start in the rivalry. One could infer that’s because the aura of the stage can oftentimes be too much for an inexperienced player, but Hurts doesn’t really fit that description. This is a guy who’s already played in conference and national championship games. He’s used to these moments. He’s also been every bit as productive, if not a little more, as Kyler Murray at this point last year. Hurts is already on the short list of Heisman candidates, but if he wins this game, then he might very well move to the top of said list.
Texas: Making everything about the College Football Playoff gets tiresome with a quickness, but the Longhorns are likely out of wiggle room if they want to make the final four. Besides, based on the way these two teams are playing, this game could very well be another preview of the Big 12 Championship Game — and it’s hard to beat the same quality team twice. Can Texas get the statement win it couldn’t against LSU? This matchup comes down to two things for Texas: can it make Hurts uncomfortable in the pocket and can it match the big plays with its own offense? Guys like Ta’Quon Graham and Malcolm Roach will need to have big games in the trenches while star wide receiver Devin Duvernay needs to be the big-play threat all over the field.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 12 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Cotton Bowl — Dallas, Texas
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Game prediction, picks
Normally, a double-digit spread for two highly-ranked teams would give me pause, but Texas has a legitimate shot. The Longhorns have a physical defensive line that can get pressure on Hurts and take him off his reads, and the offense can be a grind to defend for 60 minutes. What I’m less sure of is that they’ll be able to contain all of those options to the point where it can get a lead on the Sooners. Hurts as a designed runner gives Oklahoma a plus-one advantage on offense and everything else builds around that. I’ll take the Longhorns to cover 10.5, but I can’t quite convince myself to take them straight up. Pick: Texas +10.5
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