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Road To The BCS: The Red River Rivalry Headlines This Week

No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Texas 12:00 P.M. ET (ABC)

This year's Red River Rivalry looks like it will be a big game nationally, as the winner most likely will shoot up the polls into the Top 5 and be a favorite for the National Championship discussion. Texas looks like it is recovering from last season's 5-7 record quite nicely, as the Longhorns have looked very good this season and are undefeated up until this point. Oklahoma began the season ranked No. 1 in the nation, but was leapfrogged by LSU and then Alabama following big wins by both. Texas has a good shot to pull of the upset, but they will have to get pressure on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones as well as not give the explosive Oklahoma offense short fields off of turnovers.

What they are saying:

Texas is REALLY young.  Now in a year or two, if they're able to actually develop some of this young talent unlike in years past, you may find this on the "reasons to be worried" list but for this game, the 'confidence' list is where it belongs.  Look, if you hear any former player (on either side) talk about this game you know when they say "there is nothing else like it" that it's not just lip service.  The feeling they get when they walk through that south end zone tunnel and down that ramp is something that is felt in only one spot on this big blue planet.  So obviously for all these freshman that Texas is playing it will be their first experience in this unrivaled atmosphere.  To think that and the experience advantage OU has doesn't play in our favor would either be sheer arrogance (from Texas?!?  Surely you jest!) or flat out denial.

Now don't take that to mean that freshmen haven't stepped up in this game in the past and made a name for themselves, but to expectsomething like that to happen would surely be wishful thinking.  So will the UT youngsters be able to maintain their composure and not get rattled by the crowd/atmosphere?  We sure hope not. -- Crimson and Cream Machine

What they are saying:

1. Texas' ability to pressure/hit Landry Joneswithout selling out.

This is obvious enough, but it's hard to overstate the importance of Texas getting pressure on Oklahoma's quarterback, and laying some hits on him. The OU offense is a tempo offense, and with arguably the best receiving corps in the nation and a quarterback who will pick you apart when he's comfortable, preventing Jones from getting in a rhythm is essential to Texas' defensive game plan on Saturday. Unfortunately, that's a particularly daunting task because if you have to sell out and bring extra defenders to create pressure you're almost assured to pay with big plays. Although Manny Diaz's game plan is sure to center on preventing big plays, he also assuredly knows how important it will be to disrupt Landry Jones' and the OU offense's rhythm.

Diaz will surely bring extra pressure situationally, but what matters is whether we're able to get to Jones with five rushers. If so, Jones is susceptible to mistakes and the OU offense can sputter. But if not -- if Jones is throwing comfortably from the pocket -- we're going to have a very difficult time getting them off the field. It will help that Jones isn't at all a rushing threat, liberating our pass rushers to pursue him aggressively without fear of losing containment. -- Burnt Orange Nation

Rooting Interest: Texas. A Texas victory would most likely put Oklahoma behind Boise State, which is always good news for Mountain West fans. Granted, Texas might jump Boise State as well, but they have a tough schedule with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M still on their slate.

No. 17 Florida at No. 1 LSU 3:30 P.M. ET (CBS)

Florida is playing in their second straight game against a Top 5 team, this time on the road in Death Valley. The Gators were physicalled demolished after a fast start at home against Alabama last week and ended up on the losing end of a blowout. This may be a similar outcome unless Florida is able to make some adjustments and learn from last week's defeat. This should be an interesting game to follow, since Florida has a realistic shot at upsetting the No. 1 Tigers.

What they are saying:

And Florida's defense, so good against the Alabama passing game even in defeat, has to know that it can take risks against an LSU team that isn't as good at power running as Alabama and has two quarterbacks known to be turnover-prone. Jarrett Lee'simproved since his interception-filled early days as an LSU quarterback, but he doesn't scare a defense; Jordan Jefferson might, but he's got rust and confidence issues. Why shouldn't Muschamp and Dan Quinn dial up blitzes and see if sacks and turnovers result?

If Florida is going to win against LSU on Saturday, it's likely going to take the sorts of gambles that make big plays and turnovers happen: flea-flickers, reverses, deep passes, unexpected uses of the option, scrambles, blitzes, freak fumbles, and the like. But those gambles could be the bread and butter of a Florida team with nothing to lose. -- Alligator Army

What they are saying:

Muschamp favors an aggressive 4-3 subtlety influenced by previous bosses Nick Saban and Tommy Tubberville. Coverages will be well-disguised and mixed up, and the front will attack from odd angles, with a lot of zone-blitzing mixed in. Powell (the No. 1 player in a ridiculous 2010 Gator recruiting class) will occasionally line up in a two-point stance as an "Elephant" defensive end/linebacker, a position that led to big results for players likeBrian Orakpo, Sergio Kindle and Quentin Groves in Muschamp's previous stints at Texas and Auburn.

This is the best defense LSU will see until November, and there's enough talent here alone to give the Gators a fighting chance. Of course, there's still the matter of Driskell facing LSU's unit, first and second in the SEC in tackles for loss and sacks. -- And The Valley Shook

Rooting Interest: Florida. LSU most likely would not drop below Boise State with a loss here, but it certainly wouldn't hurt the Broncos' cause. Florida wouldn't move up far enough to jump BSU either, so with a Florida win Boise State gets closer to jumping in the polls.

No. 15 Auburn at No. 10 Arkansas 7:00 P.M. ET (ESPN)

Auburn is riding high again following their road win against South Carolina last week and could make another significant jump in the polls this week. The same goes for Arkansas, who came back from 18 down in the second half to defeat Texas A&M and jump up eight spots in the rankings. The winner of these teams most likely will be in National Title consideration, with a few games still left on the schedule where both teams could make an impression on the voters. The question is if Auburn will be able to stop Arkansas' potent passing attack and get their offense going after only scoring 16 points against South Carolina.

What they are saying:

 War Eagle, everybody! It's Razorback week once again. This week somehow seems to create worry for the Auburn defense, year in and year out. Whether Arkansas is cruising towards a division title, or headed for the cellar, history has taught us to worry about how many points Auburn will give up to them. Auburn has a winning record against the Razorbacks since they joined the SEC (10-8-1), but the points battle between the two is nearly even at 465-460. It's interesting to note that while Auburn has a winning record against every SEC West opponent since the division split in 1992, some of those point totals favor the opposition. -- Track Em' Tigers

What they are saying:

That's a lot of not bouncing back when it comes to playing conference opponents. The streak actually goes back to the SWC days. We followed losses in 1991 and in 1990 with another loss during our two last years in the SWC. I have no doubt that the Hogs have plenty of motivation to beat Auburn. But if somebody knows how to get this on their bulletin board there in the Broyles Center, I think it would be a good idea to post it. The time has come for this to end. I at one time thought this was just a Nutt thing, but my research and recent years show that it is an SEC thing with the Hogs. Outside of possibly Vanderbilt, I doubt any other team has this type of monkey on their back. Time to get it off by beating what is an Auburn team that you certainly don't want anywhere near you on the scoreboard come the 4th quarter. Combine their ability to win close games with this bad mojo that the Hogs are carrying around, and I think a victory would really be pushing against the current. -- Arkansas Expats

Rooting Interest: When it comes to this game, it doesn't matter too much. Both teams could realistically jump ahead of Boise State with a win here. This should be a great game to watch - last season's game was a shootout with Auburn pulling away late in the fourth quarter.


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