Game: Texas vs. Oklahoma
When: 12:00 p.m. in Dallas
Why it matters: Texas has looked solid, but not spectacular this season; it will need to play its best game on Saturday. Colt McCoy has also played very well, but his numbers simply are not as good as they were in 2008. He is still completing 70 percent of his passes, however.
Fozzy Whitaker, one of the top running backs on the Longhorns’ roster, has been injured and may miss the game. His void would be a great one in the Texas backfield.
Oklahoma has struggled through two early-season losses, but neither of them came against Big 12 opponents. The Sooners can still salvage their season with a conference championship, and they only way they can manage that is by upsetting their interstate rivals this weekend.
Player to watch: Sam Bradford returned at quarterback for Oklahoma last week to throw for 380 yards against Baylor. Should he have similar numbers this week, his team will be victorious once again. He will be facing a vaunted pass rush from Texas that includes future first-round NFL draft pick Sergio Kindle.
Coming into the season, the biggest question in Norman was: can the inexperienced offensive line protect its Heisman Trophy quarterback? Well, after failing to silence the doubters against BYU, when Bradford sprained his shoulder, the big boys up front have made great strides toward being a great line.
Their improvement will be put to the test this week more than ever before, and if they can protect Bradford, Oklahoma has a great shot at knocking off the Longhorns.
Who has the edge?
Common sense would say Texas is the clear favorite, and will breeze through the Sooners en route to an unbeaten season. However, do not underestimate what Sam Bradford brings to this offense. Remember, Landry Jones was putting up pretty gaudy numbers while Bradford was absent from the lineup. There is plenty of talent around Bradford to help lead the Sooners to a win.
DeMarco Murray will have to help Bradford out in a variety of ways, whether it is at receiver or running back. He is the main target for the Sooners, and this is the perfect opportunity for a breakout game for the junior standout.
Oklahoma hardly ever has to embrace the role of underdog, yet all it has been hearing this week is how much better the Longhorns are. That will be the fuel to the Sooners fire; so do not be surprised if Texas’ dream season comes burning down.