Can Texas Finally Dethrone Oklahoma?

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Oklahoma has been the leader of the Big 12 for the last few seasons. Multiple playoff berths and back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners are incredible for any program. They have had a strangle hold on the top spot of the Big 12 for the last four seasons. Meanwhile Texas hasn’t won the Big 12 Title since 2009. Texas has been fighting to get “back” since the Charlie Strong days and could be well on their way. But with the rebuild Tom Herman has been working so hard for, is it enough to knock Oklahoma from the top?

Texas On Their Way Back

Texas has been on the come up recently but hasn’t been able to execute. Tom Herman has all the money and resources at his disposal when it comes to the football program. Top notch facilities and TV network and the history of Texas football is quite a pitch to sell to recruits. This has all been paying off as Texas has been bringing in top five classes the last few years.

Herman has been in Texas long enough now that his recruits are well established in his system. QB Sam Ehlinger is now a Junior and has made big strides in the last two seasons. He brings the leadership and stability to the QB room and the team that they have lacked.

Ehlinger is the key to a run at a Big 12 title in 2019

SO they have the QB, they have the recruits and they finally have the coach, so what is holding them back? Consistency. Texas had wins over Oklahoma and upset Georgia in a bowl game last season. But they also lost to Maryland and West Virginia. While both teams are not laughing stocks, it is teams Texas shouldn’t lose to at this point.

Now with Tom Herman headed into year three, 2019 could be the year it all comes together. Herman has a proven track record of being a top flight offensive coordinator. Sticking with the key word, consistency, the offense taking the next step will avoid those upsets by letting bad teams hang around. 19, 48, 23, 35. That was the points in a four game stretch for the Longhorns last season. 19 and 23 points were scored against Kansas State and Baylor respectively. 48 and 35 points were scored against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State respectively. This is a sample to show that Texas plays up and down to competition.

Texas is fully capable of winning their first Big 12 title in a decade but they need to step it up. Slipping by Kansas and losing to West Virginia won’t get it done. Consistency will be key because Texas has the talent to compete with Oklahoma and will only get better during the Tom Herman tenure.

Oklahoma’s Answer

It’s easy to see the Sooners have been Texas’ biggest threat in the big 12 but will that hold true in the 2019 Season?

With the addition of QB Jalen Hurts and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, the Sooners are no joke. The former Alabama QB brings experience and outstanding athletic potential. This means Lincoln Riley has what he needs to mold Hurts into his third straight Heisman QB. On the other side of the ball, Alex Grinch will bring some much needed help to the Sooner’s defense. Grinch, a three-time nominee and 2017 semifinalist for the Broyles Award (given to the nation’s top assistant coach), served the 2015-17 seasons as Washington State’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach. During this time he took their defense from 99th to 16th overall in national total defense.

This is all great in theory but we have yet to see it on game day. There is the potential that Hurts doesn’t have time to adjust to Riley’s system and that OU’s defense can’t adjust to Grinch’s system. Not to mention 4 out of 5 of OU’s starting offensive lineman are being replaced. There is a lot of potential with this team, but a lot of uncertainty as well

OU’s Jalen Hurts passes the ball during drills during a University of Oklahoma spring football practice in Norman, Okla., Thursday, March 7, 2019. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Texas – Oklahoma Wrap-Up

Personally, I think everything is going to pan out for Oklahoma. Grinch is going to strengthen the Sooners’ only real weakness and Hurts will fit right in with their high powered offense. This is going to cause trouble for Texas, but the longhorns have serious potential and should not be taken lightly.

Even with the growth and potential for 2019, Texas will still be the underdog. Texas could be the reigning Big 12 champs come seasons end but it will take some serious development. Texas is headed in the right direction but still hasn’t hit the peak of the mountain. Unless Hurts is less than we are expecting, Texas is likely going to be playing little brother again in 2019.

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