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A lot of college football fans used to wait in anticipation for the Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas.
This year, a lot of those fans may not even know it still exists. Actually, they know it exists, but they may not be nearly as fired up for it as they have been in previous years.
But here we are: the Sooners and the Longhorns in a clash that’s been hosted by the State Fair of Texas since 1929.
Of course, this is 2021, and COVID-19 restrictions have taken some of the air out of it.
Oklahoma enters with a record of 5-0, including 2-0 in the Big 12. Texas is 4-1 overall and also 2-0 in conference play. So the game itself is a biggie. But again, the buildup and fanfare has left something to be desired in comparison to most years.
For starters, everyone still must be masked, both at the State Fair and the game. This is in accordance with the Dallas County mandate.
As for the game itself, the Sooners are ranked sixth and the Longhorns are 21st in the latest poll. So OU, at least, still has a shot at the College Football Playoff. Texas would have to win out and hope for the best.
On the bright side, the Showdown is generally close. The outcome has been decided by single digits every year but one since 2014. But this marks the first time that Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and Texas coach Steve Sarkisian have faced off against the other.
“One thing I can guarantee: It’ll be close,” said 247 Sports’ Chris Hummer. “Each of these rivalry games played in Dallas since 2014 have been decided by a possession. As for the result? I lean ever so slightly to Oklahoma.
“The Sooners’ weakness is along the O-line, but Texas has a non-impact pass rush (101st nationally in PFF’s pass rush grade) and has been bad against the run (4.67 yards allowed per play). Oklahoma wins unless Bijan Robinson has his Heisman moment and the defense takes a step.”