There’s no question about it: October is an incredibly exciting time of the year for college football fans. With just seven days left in the regular season, fans across the country are feverishly making their picks on how their favorite team will perform in the post-season. Today is no different, as fans around the country are congregating at their favorite bookmaker’s website to make their picks on the outcome of the Big XII Championship Game between the #1-ranked Texas Longhorns and the #3-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. If you’re looking for the latest odds on this game, you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve got the latest NFL odds for you right here. So without further ado, let’s get into the statistics and figures that you really need to know for betting on today’s collegiate football game.
The History Of The Series
Although the game is still relatively young, the Oklahoma–Texas rivalry is already one of the great rivalries in American sports. The two schools first met back in 1890, with the Longhorns taking a 6-0 lead into halftime. The second half was all Oklahoma of course, as that’s generally how they play: tough, physical football. During World War II, many of the top players from both teams joined the military and never returned to the game. Since that time, the rivalry has been dormant. However, thanks to a resurgence in both programs, the 2018 season will mark the 125th anniversary of the rivalry. With the NCAA pushing for more games to be played at the end-of-season to create more excitement, it was only a matter of time before these two great footballing programs decided to get together again.
The Teams Are Meant To Clash
One of the significant differences between the Oklahoma and Texas football programs is their head coach. When Bob Bowlsby took over at OU, the program was a mess. They hadn’t finished above.500 since 1960, and they hadn’t won more than seven games in a season since 1945. When he took over the Texas program in 2015, he had completely different expectations. Just three seasons later, they are the defending conference champions and have an astonishing 17-1 record. Perhaps it’s the Power-5 conference they play in, but it’s certainly a testament to how successful he’s been at Texas.
The best news for fans of the Sooners is that not only has their football program turned it around, but they’re also among the favorites to dethrone the defending champs. The combination of a struggling Oklahoma program combined with an injury to perennial Heisman contender quarterback Baker Mayfield makes the Sooners an ideal pick for fans who want to see a clear top contender emerge from the conference.
This Year’s Version Of The Battle Royal
Fans of both teams have plenty to look forward to this year. For the first time since 1943, the teams will meet on the gridiron due to WWII. However, due to NCAA regulations, there will be no actual game until 2022 at the earliest. So until then, fans will have to make do with preseason games and bowl games that the two teams will play in during the 2020 season. In addition, the Big XII Championship Game features one of the great rivalries in American sports, and it should be an exciting game to witness. Finally, with the excitement surrounding the rivalry between the #1-ranked Sooners and the #3-ranked Texas Longhorns, it will certainly be one of the most-watched games of the year. If you’re looking for an opportunity to place a wager on this year’s football game, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into the stats and figures that you need to know before making your pick.
One of the most significant changes that this year’s game will see is the resurgence of the Oklahoma football program. Just three seasons ago, they were in the middle of a drought, winning only four games in four years. Since taking over the program in 2016, Bob Bowlsby has transformed the team, leading them to seven straight victories during the regular season and the conference title. This year will mark the 125th anniversary of the rivalry between these two great programs, and it will be interesting to see if these numbers continue.
On the other hand, the Texas football program has been steady all these years, never missing the top 15 in the country. However, since 2015, they’ve been going through a period of transition, as new head coach Larry “White Shoes” Coker has set about fixing what was ailing the program. Just last year, they were in the middle of a nine-game losing streak before finally getting their first win of the season against the previously unbeaten Iowa State Cyclones. In all, it’s been a steady but unspectacular season, and that will likely continue into the championship game. As long as Baker Mayfield stays healthy, there’s no question that Texas will pose a great threat to any team that they come face-to-face with. However, due to the nature of their conference, they may not always be tested, leaving open the possibility for an upset.
Offensive And Defensive Stability
The two teams are very similar in this way: both are led by potent offenses that are ranked among the best in the country and boast impressive defensive records as well. Oklahoma is ranked #2 in both the AP and Coaches’ polls, while Texas is ranked #3 in both surveys. The good thing for fans of both teams is that these numbers will likely not change in the slightest, as both offenses are built on similar principles: run the ball and play action passes. Both defenses are very aggressive as well, shutting down the opposing offenses’ rushing attacks and often coming up with some big plays during the course of the game. This is particularly important, as the two defenses combined are 12th in the nation in terms of total yards allowed. However, one thing that can change is the outcome of the game, as the teams are very much dependent on their quarterback’s healthy arm, along with their running backs and wide receivers for big plays. If one or more of those players get injured, then it could dramatically alter the outcome of the game.
Health And Finesse
The teams are both very good at avoiding injuries, as just five players are listed on the Oklahoma injured reserve, while none are on the list for Texas. This is a very positive sign for fans of both teams, as it shows that their coaches and trainers are doing a good job keeping their players healthy and prepared for the season. The best news is that despite all these years of inactivity, these two teams are still very much football-related. Even when they don’t play, both teams continue training every day, preparing for the day when they’ll get the chance to shine on the football field again.
However, there’s no getting around the fact that both teams have lost a number of key players to injuries. On the Oklahoma side, their star quarterback, Baker Mayfield, along with running back Joe Mixon and defensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz and safety Mark Jackson are all in the NFL. Schwartz will be making his return to the field, while Jackson and Mixon will be looking to prove their worth after serving long prison terms for their roles in the “Stromile Swift” incident. This year will be a reunion of sorts, as Jackson was released by the Colts, and Mitchell Schwartz was picked up by the Titans. Texas also lost a number of key players to the draft. Wide receiver John Jones was picked up by the Texans in the third round, defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons went in the third round to the 49ers, as did running back Darius Henderson. It’s truly a testament to the success of both Bob Bowlsby and Larry “White Shoes” Coker in ensuring that these two teams remain among the best in the country, even with the injuries that befell them. Without these players, it would be almost impossible for these teams to compete at the highest levels.
The Injury To Texas’ Top Player
The injury that will certainly have the greatest impact on the future of this year’s game is the one that befell Texas quarterback, Baker Mayfield. Just a few days before the start of the 2018 season, Baker Mayfield was named the winner of the 2017 Heisman Trophy, capping off an incredible season for the quarterback. The following week, it was announced that Baker Mayfield would miss the entire 2018 season, as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a broken bone in his knee. This is an incredibly unfortunate injury for the Longhorns, as without their star quarterback, everything becomes more difficult. He is by far their best player, and even with the addition of Tyler Buckel, who started the final three games of the regular season, they will struggle to find any success without their quarterback. This year will mark the third season in a row that they’ll miss out on the postseason due to injury concerns, as the hype around the rivalry with Oklahoma will undoubtedly be more muted this year without Baker Mayfield.