TEXAS LONGHORNS

Oklahoma has most at stake, but Texas has more to prove in first nationally relevant showdown since 2012

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The Red River Showdown has pretty much always been a big deal, a great rivalry with a State Fair backdrop and a split-down-the-middle Cotton Bowl. 

"Everybody knows what this game means," Texas defensive end Charles Omenihu said.

Now it's back to being relevant on the national stage, something that had been lacking this decade. No. 7 Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) and No. 19 Texas (4-1, 2-0) are each ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first meeting since 2012. Yes, Oklahoma fans immediately reacted to that stat on Twitter by noting that the Sooners have been regulars in the national rankings since then, that it was Texas not doing its part.

While true, having both teams ranked always ramps things up. In the Mack Brown/Bob Stoops golden age, Texas and Oklahoma were each ranked in every meeting from 2000 to 2012 outside of 2005, when Oklahoma wasn't in the Top 25.
Big 12 championships were decided in the Cotton Bowl, and bad blood fueled. The result: great theater.

TV folks haven't forgotten.

ESPN's College GameDay announced Sunday that it would broadcast from the State Fair of Texas.

Fox, which is broadcasting the game beginning at 11 a.m., will do its two-hour pregame show from the State Fair as well and has added former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and former Texas quarterback Vince Young to its pregame coverage team.

While Oklahoma has the most at stake with legitimate College Football Playoff hopes after making the CFP two of the past three seasons, Texas has the most to prove.

The Longhorns have their longest win streak (four) since 2013 and have beaten two teams that were ranked at the time (USC) and (TCU). Again, Texas clinched a victory with a long drive and a knee on the field.

"It definitely boosts us," receiver Collin Johnson said, "but at the same time that's what we expect to do and that's the standard around here."

Wins like the 19-14 slog at Kansas State, as satisfying as it was, haven't exactly provided a ringing endorsement.

Texas won and still fell one notch in the AP poll.

Even with the quick start, Texas is still 27-28 since the start of the 2014 season. Recent struggles die hard. So do doubts about the offense (ranked seventh in the Big 12) and its ability to take advantage of an Oklahoma defense that seems vulnerable — again.

At the same time, a win over OU would vault Texas in the rankings and remove a lot of doubts.

Outside of the narrow and weird escape against Army's triple option, Oklahoma is piling huge amounts of points, style and real. Of its 10 scoring drives in a 66-33 win over Baylor, none lasted longer than 2:57.

Quarterback Kyler Murray set an Oklahoma single-game record for passing efficiency and had more touchdown passes (six) than incompletions (four) while throwing for 432 yards. He's averaging 19.1 yard per completion.

"He just makes it look easy," Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said.

"That's why it's so fascinating to watch him. There's such a calmness to his game, and he's just always under control. That's just how he is.

"Baker [Mayfield] did it that way, and he does it a different way."

Three takeaways from the Big 12:

—The Texas Tech win streak is gone and so is coach Kliff Kingsbury's beard. With Saturday's home loss to West Virginia, Kingsbury was clean shaven as he met with the media Sunday.

—TCU continued one streak in its 17-14 win over Iowa State. By allowing just 198 yards to the Cyclones, TCU is now 44-0 when yielding 200 yards or less under coach Gary Patterson.

—How goes the Jalen Hurd receiver move at Baylor? With nine catches against Oklahoma, the former Tennessee running back has 31 catches for 415 yards and three touchdowns through five games.

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