American-Statesman columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden weigh in on 10 hot-button Texas, Big 12 and national topics:
1. What has to happen for Texas to pull the upset?
Bohls: The apocalypse? Texas should gamble like never before. Try an onside kick on the first opportunity, run fake punts, pull off flea-flickers, run Statues of Liberty and every other monument. Basically, dare Oklahoma to have an answer for everything. This is no time to be cautious. That said, it won’t happen because Mack Brown hates turnovers and will play closer to the vest — and lose, 48-21.
Golden: The Horns would have to force three or four turnovers, Case McCoy would need to throw three touchdowns with zero turnovers, and Texas would need to rush for 250 yards. And here you were thinking a win over the Sooners wouldn’t be possible. The Horns haven’t made a lot of game-changing positive plays in games when they’ve fallen behind, and this will be more of the same. The Sooners cruise, 34-17.
2. Name two advantages Texas has over Oklahoma.
Bohls: OU overconfidence, and Daje Johnson. The Sooners can’t help but suffer from complacency and constant reminders that they’re a two-touchdown favorite. That’s not good for a mental edge, especially in a rivalry series. And Johnson should be closer to 100 percent this week and will be used as a punt returner. Now Texas just has to force OU to punt.
Golden: Anthony Fera is one of the best punters in the Big 12, with a league-leading 14 punts placed inside the 20-yard line. But it’s never good when the punter’s your best player. The second advantage? It’s hard to fine one, but Texas opponents have drawn the second-most penalty yards in the league, at 70 yards per game. I bet that comes as no surprise to Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads.
3. Will the first road game be dangerous for Baylor?
Bohls: Very unlikely. Kansas State did press Oklahoma State last week, but quarterback Daniel Sams is not a polished passer and Tyler Lockett is the Wildcats’ only real dangerous weapon. That said, the Wildcats play better at home and could keep the score more respectable and most of Baylor’s victims. Look for the Bears to roll.
Golden: Kansas State won’t lie down at home, especially with a chance to avenge last year’s upset loss in Waco, which killed the Wildcats’ national championship hopes. But Baylor’s such an offensive juggernaut that the Wildcats will have a tough time keeping up offensively. I’m taking Baylor.
4. How shocking is TCU’s 2-3 start?
Bohls: Very much so. But the losses of quarterback Casey Pachall (broken arm) and Big 12 defensive rookie of the year Devonte Fields (season-ending foot injury) have been devastating. TCU’s three losses have come to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and LSU — which are a combined 15-1. TCU is the best three-loss team in college football.
Golden: Not as shocking without Pachall. That injury, coupled with the refs helping kill their chance against Texas Tech makes TCU’s 2-3 predicament no real shock.
5. Is Texas A&M vulnerable at Ole Miss?
Bohls: Not really. The Aggies are coming off a bye week and won’t sleepwalk into Oxford, where they trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter last year. They’ll take the Rebels seriously. I figure Ole Miss will put up plenty of points, but I’m not betting against Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans.
Golden: They are, because the Aggies have a horrible defense. But as long as No. 2 is playing, it wouldn’t be smart to pick against them. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace will make plays, but the Rebels won’t be able to keep up with Manziel’s frenetic pace. This won’t be a dull game.
6. Pick a national upset.
Bohls: I’ve got two. I think Arkansas, coming off three straight losses, will stun South Carolina. And I’m taking unbeaten Missouri over a beat-up Georgia team that may be without star running back Todd Gurley.
Golden: Will Muschamp’s No. 17-ranked Florida Gators are plenty capable of going into Baton Rouge and handing it to LSU. The Gators aren’t an offensive buzzsaw, but they will stick around long enough for a chance to steal this one late.
7. Will Jadeveon Clowney’s troubles hurt his draft stock?
Bohls: Not a chance, unless he slips from No. 1 maybe to No. 2 next May. Talent is talent. Even though Steve Spurrier called him out a week ago for not playing hurt with bruised ribs, he rallied to his defense this week. Clowney’s still the premier defensive talent in college football.
Golden: If he comes back from those sore ribs and wrecks shop, then the little controversy about not playing will be a thing of the past. You can’t coach size and speed, and Clowney has plenty of both. He’s still a top-three pick because he’s a beast.
8. If Mack Brown doesn’t return, would Texas consider Art Briles?
Bohls: I don’t know why it wouldn’t, unless it thinks hiring a coach from Baylor is beneath it. What Briles has done in Waco has been nothing short of miraculous. I would think he’d be in demand by Texas or Texas A&M if either has an opening.
Golden: The guy is a quarterback guru and Texas could certainly use his stewardship in recruiting the most important player on the team. But I’m not sure the folks on the Forty view Briles as the button-down CEO type they want for this job once Mack bolts. But I’d hire him faster than it takes Baylor to score 70.
9. Which Top 20 team is the most over-rated?
Bohls: South Carolina. I just don’t trust the Gamecocks.
Golden: Clemson. The Tigers are too high at No. 3.
10. Which deep-fried State Fair dish do you most want to try?
Bohls: I’m tempted to try the deep-fried bubble gum or the deep-fried spaghetti and meatballs. I mean, you only live once.
Golden: I’m not a huge fan of the deep-fried stuff, but I did enjoy the Twinkies a couple of years ago. And the defibrillator treatment that came later.
How Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden are picking Texas-OU. So far, Bohls is 3-1 and Golden is 2-2:
Bohls: Oklahoma, 48-21
Golden: Oklahoma, 34-17