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Texas: The Biggest Red River Shootout in a Generation

October 11, 2008, is the last time the Longhorns (#5) and the Sooners (#1) both have been rated THIS high coming into a Red River Shootout (Yes, I called it by its real name.) Texas beat Oklahoma that day 45-35. The 2008 season was the Colt McCoy's excellent junior year where he finished second in the Heisman voting to Oklahoma's Sam Bradford. It ended with the #3 Longhorns beating Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl while the Sooners lost the BCS championship to Florida.

October 7, 2023, the #3 Longhorns will take on the #12 Sooners in a matchup with potential equal ramifications to the 2008 season. By ESPN's FPI Oklahoma has a 54.4% chance of winning the RRS. Vegas (per Vegas Insider) has Texas as a 6 to 6.5-point favorite. The game has some interesting similarities to the 2008 game including:

  1. The winner has the inside track to make the CFP. The table to the right shows the ESPN odds for both team's games for the rest of the season. The winner of the game has about a 50/50 shot at the playoff based on the rest of their schedule.

  2. The loser of this game probably has no chance of getting in the CFP. Fair or not, neither team probably has a schedule that would be considered worthy of putting a 11-1 team in the CFP. IF the loser of the RRS meets the winner and avenges the loss in the Big 12 Championship Game, they MIGHT get in the CFP. Don't bank on that. Win on Saturday.

  3. This can be a statement game for the two starting QBs in the game. Ewers in third or fourth in Heisman odds now. Garbiel is sixth or seventh in Heisman odds now. a big day by either probably gets them an invite to New York.

  4. In 2008, Texas had a very good offense and defense (18th in PPG allowed, 5th in College Football Reference's DSRS) and CFR had them rated 3rd overall for the season, and Oklahoma had an elite offense (best in the nation) and was rated 2nd for the season. In 2023, College Football Reference rates the two teams like this:

These are two really good teams coming into this game. I am not saying that the 2008 game has ANY influence on what happens here. I am saying I think it is an interesting framework to consider what MAY happen this weekend.

One may argue that OU's schedule may not have prepared them for the test on Saturday. We will see. Overall, I expect a good game with better defense than some may expect. I really do not see the two teams going over the 60.5 to 61 total line (per Vegas Insider).

This year's Red River Shootout may be the biggest for both Texas and Oklahoma in nearly a generation since 2008. I say that Texas wins 27-17. Hook 'Em.

Oh, and OU Sucks.

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