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Red River Shootout

Lots of good games this weekend and the Red River Shootout kicks things off. Stoops versus Brown. McCoy versus Bradford. The Longhorn defense versus the Oklahoma offense. Hot co-eds from Oklahoma versus hot co-eds from Austin, Texas. Could you ask for anything more from a football game? There will be so much talent on the field in Dallas tomorrow, people might confuse it for an SEC game.

Jokes aside, both teams have a lot more than bragging rights on the line. Even though Texas and Oklahoma still have tough schedules after tomorrow, the winner will be the middle-of-the-season favorite to make it to the BCS Championship Game. What are some of the keys for tomorrow? For Texas:

Spread the field. As much as possible. Make Oklahoma defend sideline to sideline, with as many defenders occupied in man coverage as possible. Among other things, that gives Colt the best opportunity to be a playmaker. And he’s It, right now.

The second thing I’d do which I cannot understand why we haven’t/don’t is use screens better. Everyone hates the bubble screen, but as a concept, we probably need to use screens of all types against Oklahoma–using their aggressiveness against them…

For Oklahoma:

Now you might be thinking “Oklahoma hasn’t played a pass defense like Texas’s”, well you would be right, they have actually played against better pass defenses. Texas ranks 96th in the nation for pass yards given up per game at 244 ypg. Cincinnati ranks 95th and Bradford threw for 395 yards against them. If Bradford is allowed to sit back in the pocket, he will pick apart the porus Texas pass defense.

Crimson and Cream also has a photographic retrospective displaying their love for everything Longhorns.

Prediction
Tough one here. Oklahoma is a 6.5 point favorite, which pretty much sounds like a toss-up. Strictly a hunch here, but I think Mack Brown will get his first non-Vince Young win over Oklahoma.

Texas 31, Oklahoma 27.

LSU at Florida
Will Tebow get knocked out by LSU’s defense? Will Les Miles get consistent quarterback play from the Lee/Hatch duo? Considering how they struggled to score against Miami — until the fourth quarter anyway — will the Gators be able to do much offensively against LSU? The Swamp is not the easiest place for visiting teams to win, but then again, not every team that comes to town is as talented as LSU.

Since 2002, LSU is 4-2 against Florida with two of those wins coming in Gainesville. Will the Gators close this gap and protect their house?

Prediction
Florida 23, LSU 20

Penn State at Wisconsin
The Joe Pa feel-good story continues with an undefeated swing but the roads in Wisconsin can be treacherous. Since entering the Big 10 schedule, the Badgers have lost two heartbreakers to Michigan and Ohio State. Can they stop the skid against perhaps the best team in the Big 10? Considering their failure against the Buckeyes, it’s hard to see the Badgers losing back-to-back home games. That is, until you consider Penn State being the best offensive team in the Big 10. It comes down to this — Wisconsin has a respectable defense but do they have enough to stop the Nittany Lions’ spread attack?

Prediction
Three-in-a-row for the Badgers. Penn State 31, Wisconsin 17.

Other Games of Note

Kentucky and South Carolina

South Carolina at Kentucky – Kentucky is trying to end two streaks: zero wins in their last eight tries against the Gamecocks and 0-15 against Steve Spurrier.

Colorado at Kansas – No cussing, KU fans. For Colorado, this game could be a season saver.

Notre Dame at North Carolina – Butch Davis has a good thing going on in Chapel Hill. A win over the Irish would only make things better.

Michigan State at Northwestern – Are these Wildcats for real? Saturday will go a long way in answering that question.

Oklahoma State at Missouri – First test for the Tigers since Illinois. If they don’t play better defense, the Cowboys could play the part of big time spoiler.