Byline: Barker Davis, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
No. 2 TEXAS (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) vs. OKLAHOMA (2-2, 1-0 Big 12)
SITE: Cotton Bowl (68,252), 1 p.m. SURFACE: Grass
SERIES: Texas leads 55-39-5 LAST MEETING: Oklahoma 12, Texas 0 (2004)
SIDELINES: Texas - Mack Brown (8th season), 74-19; Oklahoma - Bob Stoops (7th season), 69-14
SPREAD: Texas by 14 points
STORY LINE: The 100th edition of the Red River Rivalry looks like a complete mismatch. The No. 2 Longhorns are rolling behind Heisman Trophy candidate Vince Young and the nation's top rushing attack, while the Sooners this season have floundered for the first time in the Bob Stoops era, losing to a pair of then-unranked opponents in TCU (17-10) and UCLA (41-24) thanks to a dire situation at quarterback.
Sooners sophomore Rhett Bomar enters the game ranked 94th among Division I-A quarterbacks in passing efficiency after throwing more interceptions (2) than touchdowns (1) this season. Making matters worse for the OU offense is a right ankle injury to star tailback Adrian Peterson, who hobbled off the field in the second quarter of last week's win over Kansas State and is certain to be less than 100 percent for today's game.
In fact, nobody would consider this game mildly compelling if not for the recent history of the series, which Stoops and Co. have dominated by winning five straight by double-digit margins against the 'Horns and dubious game coach Mack Brown. Will Brown and his boys finally overcome their psychological hurdle against the Sooners, or will today's installment of the Red River Shootout provide yet another tick on Brown's choke-littered resume?
STARS: Texas - QB Vince Young, RB Jamaal Charles, RB Henry Melton, OT Jonathan Scott, OT Justin Blalock, OG Will Allen, DT Rodrique Wright, DE Brian Robison, LB Aaron Harris, SS Michael Huff, CB Aaron Ross; Oklahoma - RB Adrian Peterson, WR Travis Wilson, OG Davin Joseph, DT Dusty Dvoracek, LB Zach Latimer, LB Rufus Alexander.
SIDELINED STARTERS: Texas - Doubtful: WR Jordan Shipley (hamstring). Oklahoma - Probable: RB Adrian Peterson (ankle). Doubtful: C Chris Chester (knee). Out: DL Larry Birdine (biceps)
SMACK: The Longhorns wisely have provided the ailing Sooners with no bulletin-board material this week. Some of that's natural when you've been on the receiving end of five straight double-digit beatings from Stoops and Co., but Texas players and coaches clearly have made a point of avoiding any trash talk. In fact, the week's most notable quotes have come from maligned Texas coach Mack Brown, who candidly admitted his failings in the series:
"I am not happy that we haven't done better in the series. I feel like I've let our team down and the school down in this game."
STACKING 'EM UP
Rating the units. Each unit is ranked on a scale of 1-10 relative to all of college football.
Quarterback 10 2
The biggest mismatch since Jess Willard stepped into the ring with Jack Dempsey
Running backs 9 8
Dinged "AD" vs. the hydra of Young, Jamaal Charles, Henry Melton and Selvin Young
WRs/TEs 7 7
Neither roster boasts a Roy Williams or a Mark Clayton - pedestrian personnel abounds
Offensive Line 10 8
'Horns front beginning to live up to its billing as nation's best
Defensive Line 9 8
Wright and Robison lead fearsome front four topped only by Tennessee and N.C. State
Linebackers 7 9
OU's only position edge - Latimer has monster motor like predecessors Calmus/Lehman
Secondary 10 7
Loaded 'Horns should feast on combo of raw Bomar and uninspiring Sooner WRs
Special Teams 9 9
Texas beat Ohio State courtesy of K David Pino. …