Although the game has lost some of its luster as the 2009 season has progressed, the annual Red River Shootout between Texas and Oklahoma should be another interesting 60 minutes of football this coming Saturday.
Even with Oklahoma already recording two losses this season (both by one point to two ranked teams), the Sooners still have a say on the Big XII championship. Knocking off undefeated, #2 ranked Texas could salvage a somewhat disappointing season for the school north of the Red River. Also, a healthier Sam Bradford (photo, thanks IconSMI) would boost OU’s chances greatly.
Meanwhile, Texas is in the drivers seat to a Big XII championship, and, a slot in the BCS National Championship game. Led by Heisman hopeful QB Colt McCoy and a stellar defense, the Longhorns hope to duplicate the success they had last season in their 45-35 win over the Sooners.
However, as big as this game will be, I would hold off playing either QB this weekend…here is why (see below)….
PLAY THEM THIS WEEK
Tim Tebow – Florida (vs Arkansas): The Gators kept Tebow in check last week vs LSU (it sure was not the LSU defense), so look for Tebow to be more active this week, now that it is three weeks after the concussion he suffered at Kentucky. Arkansas defense is one of the worst in the SEC.
Dwight Dasher – Middle Tennessee (vs Mississippi State): Rarely does a Sun Belt QB get a “play them” vs an SEC school, but Dasher’s Blue Raiders are at home, and Miss State does not possess the best D. This game sets up as a high-scoring shootout.
Ricky Dobbs – Navy AND Bo Levi Mitchell – SMU: Navy last week put 63 on Rice in Houston, and Dobbs and his Middies return to The Lone Star State to face another CUSA school. SMU and Mitchell have played decent football in 2009, and this game sets up as a high-scorer. Note that Dobbs rushed for over 200 yards last season vs the Mustangs.
Colin Kaepernick – Nevada AND Diondre Borel – Utah State: Two QBs who run and pass effectively, and, must carry their teams in order for them to win. Kaepernick has finally stepped up as the big fantasy producer that was expected of him, and, Borel (with a little more consistency) can be just as effective.
Jerrod Johnson – Texas A&M (at Kansas State): I am sure Johnson (photo, right, thanks Aggie Sports) heard about what the backup QB at Texas Tech (Steven Sheffield) did to KSU last week, and is just drooling to get his chance at the Wildcat defense.
OTHERS TO START: Terrelle Pryor – Ohio State; Zac Lee – Nebraska; Todd Reesing – Kansas; Max Hall – BYU; Case Keenum – Houston; Aaron Opelt – Toledo; Dan LeFevour – Central Michigan
(Note: Taylor Potts – Texas Tech…may be a game-time decision when they play Nebraska this weekend….check all updates during the week)
MAYBE THINK TWICE
Matt Barkley – USC AND Jimmy Clausen – Notre Dame: A big game for USC’s slim National Championship hopes, but, expect this matchup to be low-scoring, as USC’s defense (really good) and offense (not really good) may dictate the outcome of this matchup. This will be the best defense Fighting Irish QB Clausen will see all season.
B.J. Daniels – USF AND Tony Pike – Cincinnati: Probably the only time I will have Pike in this category, as USF has a standout defense, and, they are at home at Raymond James. This is a big “statement” game for both QB’s and their programs…look for a low-scoring one.
Kellen Moore – Boise State AND G.J.Kinne – Tulsa: Both teams have top-class offenses, but, this matchup is huge for both prorams….Boise needs the win to continue their BCS hopes, while Tulsa hopes to return to the national rankings with a win. I just do not see either Moore or Kinne putting up the big numbers this week, and, other players will have to step up for either to win.
DO NOT PLAY THIS WEEK
Colt McCoy – Texas AND Sam Bradford – Oklahoma: As I mentioned in the intro…this is not a good week to play either McCoy (photo, thanks IconSMI) or Bradford. There are many reasons:
Defense: Both OU and UT have excellent defenses this season, and, this will not be the shootout of last year (Texas won 45-35). Oklahoma’s defense has been a huge improvement over last season, allowing only 42 points in 5 games. OU needs their defense to be even more productive this week to beat Texas.
Sam Bradford: I am not convinced Bradford is anywhere near 100% after his shoulder injury in Week One vs BYU. Without a truly healthy Bradford at QB, the Sooners offense is going to struggle against the Longhorns
OU Ground Game: Mainly because of the QB situation, the Sooner ground game has not been its brutal self of the past few seasons. DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown form the best backfield in the nation, but, their production is nowhere near their 2007 and 2008 numbers.
OFF THIS WEEK
Jonathan Masoli – Oregon; Greg Paulus – Syracuse; Trevor Vittatoe – UTEP; Corey Leonard – Arkansas State; Christian Ponder – Florida State