They're playing for the trophy of the Red River Rivalry, the Golden Hat. Both Texas and Oklahoma will have gold accents on their uniforms, a nod to the importance of the game. For numerous reasons, the Longhorns want access to the shiny head gear.
After losing back-to-back nonconference games to BYU and Ole Miss, Texas fell from the rankings. All that was left to salvage the season was a chance to win the Big 12 title. With victories over Kansas State and Iowa State, UT is tied with No. 10 Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) at the top of the standings.
This is the 108th meeting in the series and the Sooners have won the last three meetings. Leaving the Forty Acres without ever having beaten OU is not the kind of memory seniors cherish.
"That's something that you're known for when you graduate from here," said Texas senior quarterback Case McCoy, who is slated to start in place of the injured David Ash. "People ask you questions and one of those questions is always, 'What was your record against OU?' That becomes a pride issue for a lot of people. For us seniors, it's something we haven't done. We came here to play in this game. And this is a game that we need to go win."
The last Texas senior class to be swept by Oklahoma played its last game in the series in 2004. The last group of Sooner seniors to not beat Texas in four tries walked up the Cotton Bowl ramp in 1992.
Texas is last in the Big 12 in rushing defense, allowing 248 yards per game while the Sooners are second in the Big 12 in rushing offense, averaging 246 yards a game. If both averages are hit, then the chances are good that the Sooners will retain possession of the Golden Hat.
Oklahoma's last two victories in the series have been decided by halftime. The Sooners won 55-17 in 2011 and 63-21 last season. Each of the last two years, OU's second quarter points (28 in 2011 and 23 last season) would have been enough to win the game.
Page One of the Coaching Manual says to forget last week's result. So referencing history and the last two Red River Rivalry Games as an indicator will fall on deaf ears.
"I don't look at it that way at all," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "One year to the next, to me they're totally different teams. They are and we are. That's a long time ago now."
And the Longhorns aren't history majors this week either.
"I don't want to talk about last year," Texas junior defensive back Quandre Diggs said. "This isn't the 2012 Texas Longhorns."
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Iowa State at Texas Tech
Need to know: 11 a.m., Jones AT&T Stadium, FS1
Records: Iowa State 1-3, 0-1; Texas Tech 5-0, 2-0.
Scouting Iowa State: The Cyclones' three losses have come by a total of 15 points. Quarterback Sam B. Richardson and running back Aaron Wimberly have helped give Iowa State's offense a boost. The Cyclones have posted at least 400 yards in three of their first four contests for the first time since 2002.
Scouting Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are unsure of freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield will be able to play. He injured a knee last Saturday but there was no structural damage. Freshman Davis Webb could get the start if Mayfield can't play. Texas Tech has scored 33 or more points in four of its five victories.
This and that: Kliff Kingsbury can become the first coach in school history to win his first six games if the Red Raiders defeat Iowa State. … Texas Tech is third in the nation in red zone defense. … Under coach Paul Rhoads, Iowa State has won a road game against a ranked Big 12 opponent each of the last three seasons.
Kansas at TCU
Need to know: 11 a.m., Amon Carter Stadium, FSN
Records: Kansas 2-2, 0-1; TCU 2-3, 0-2.
Scouting Kansas: The hopes that the Jayhawks' offense would be revitalized this season have yet to be realized. Kansas couldn't sustain drives in last week's 54-16 loss to Texas Tech and that allowed the Red Raiders to run 100 plays. KU could be without its best play maker; receiver Tony Pierson suffered a concussion in last Saturday's game.
Scouting TCU: The Horned Frogs, like their opponent are seeking offensive consistency. TCU failed to gain a first down in the first half at Oklahoma last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Trevone Boykin has yet to make the passing game function efficiently. The defense, however, has been a bright spot. The Frogs are tied for the Big 12 lead with nine interceptions.
This and that: TCU announced that sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields, selected as the Big 12's Preseason Defensive Player Of The Year, will miss the rest of the season with a broken foot. … Kansas shuffled its offensive line this week and there will be four new starters for the Horned Frogs. …The Jayhawks have lost 22 consecutive Big 12 games.
Oklahoma vs. Texas
Need to know: 11 a.m., Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, ABC
Records: Oklahoma 5-0, 2-0; Texas 3-2, 2-0.
Scouting Oklahoma: The Sooners haven't turned it over in the last three games as junior quarterback Black Bell has shown poise in the passing game and running the offense. The defense has been stingy; the Sooners lead the Big 12 in scoring, total and passing defense. Freshman Dominique Alexander will start at linebacker for senior Corey Nelson, who was injured in last week's game.
Scouting Texas: Senior Case McCoy will start at quarterback in place of David Ash. McCoy attempted a career high 45 passes in the Longhorns' victory at Iowa State but that has not been a winning formula for Texas. Since 2010, Texas is 3-10 when it passes more than it runs but is 18-2 when it has 10 more rushing attempts than passes.
This and that: Opposing quarterbacks have averaged nearly 105 yards rushing per game against Texas this season. … Oklahoma has scored 42 points off turnovers this season. During the three-game winning streak over the Longhorns, the Sooners are plus-8 in turnover margin. … Including last season, OU's Blake Bell has attempted 120 consecutive passes without an interception.
Baylor at Kansas State
Need to know: 2:30 p.m., Bill Snyder Family Stadium, FOX
Records: Baylor 4-0, 1-0; Kansas State 2-3, 0-2.
Scouting Baylor: The No. 15 Bears will play their first road game and hope to build on the buzz being created by an offense that averages 70 points and 779 yards per game. Baylor's aggressive defense has forced at least two turnovers in nine of the last 11 games and over the last five games has 20 sacks.
Scouting Kansas State: The Wildcats' quarterback situation continues to be an issue. Daniel Sams started at Oklahoma State and rushed for over 100 yards but threw three crucial interceptions. Jake Waters is a better passer but not as dangerous running the ball. The health of top receivers Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett also is a concern.
This and that: Baylor averages 49.8 points in the first half of its games. That's more than just two teams average per game; Oregon (59.2 per game) and Florida State (53.6). … The Bears haven't won a Big 12 road game in regulation since Oct. 30, 2010. … When Kansas State won the Big 12 championship in 2003, it started 0-2 in Conference play.