AUSTIN, Texas — It's the rematch: Texas... Oklahoma.
After a fireworks shootout, Texas and Oklahoma meet in a rematch of the Red River Rivalry. This will be the first time the two have ever met in the Big 12 Championship, however. When there used to be a Big 12 Championship during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Texas and Oklahoma were in the same division, so the two could never meet in the title game. The Big 12 got rid of its championship game in 2010, but brought it back in 2017. Now, there are no divisions and the top two teams in the Big 12 meet in the conference title game.
ESPN gives Texas a 27.1 percent chance to defeat the Oklahoma Sooners, according to its football power index. When UT and Oklahoma played each other in October, Texas only had a 26.6 percent chance of winning, according to the ESPN power index. The Longhorns won that game, 48-45.
UT PICK 'EM STANDINGS
So, after UT defeated Kansas 24-17 in Lawrence, let's take a look at the KVUE UT pick 'em standings:
Mike Barnes -- 9-1
Bryan Mays -- 8-2
Shawn Clynch -- 8-2
Paul Livengood -- 7-3
Tim Ryan -- 7-3
Jay Wallis -- 6-4
Hank Cavagnaro -- 6-4
Andrew McKibbin -- 5-4 ***(McKibbin was on vacation for the first pick)***
KVUE STAFF PICKS ITS BIG 12 CHAMPION
Now, the KVUE staff members made their picks for the Texas-OU rematch. This is what they predicted:
Mike Barnes, KVUE Sports Director:
Texas 45, Oklahoma 41.
I told everyone in October that this game comes down to mistakes by the quarterback. Sam Ehlinger was virtually mistake free, while Kyler Murray had a couple of costly turnovers.
It’s going to happen again. Texas wins 45-41.
Shawn Clynch, KVUE Sports Reporter:
Texas 33, Oklahoma 37.
It really doesn’t get much better than this: Texas and OU playing for a championship.
It never happened for so many years because of the two divisions in the old Big 12, both teams were in the south division.
This is what the Big 12 wanted. This is what the fans wanted.
The Longorns are as cool as a cucumber and are in a good place. Texas will be physically and mentally prepared to bring the physical and trash talk to the Sooners.
I honestly see Texas taking a big lead as they did back in October. But, I see an offensive turnover by the Longhorns -- which Kyler Murray will flip into points -- and I also see a special teams touchdown for OU.
My prediction will be unpopular. But, I forsee a lower score than the previous matchup. I also see UT out-rushing the Sooners and exposing OU’s secondary. But, Kyler Murray will overcome the mental advantage Texas has on him.
Horns lose, 37-33. But, I do think OU makes the four team playoff and Texas heads to NOLA for the Sugar Bowl.
Paul Livengood, KVUE Digital Sports Producer/Digital Desk Editor:
Texas 51, Oklahoma 48.
It's another shootout on the gridiron. Oklahoma has averaged more than 50 points per game since losing to UT in the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl. One would think that revenge and a chance at the college football playoff would be an advantage for the Sooners, I think Texas will come out and get pressure on Kyler Murray again like they did in the first game. There is no stopping the Heisman candidate, but I think the Longhorns defense will make enough plays (i.e. forced turnovers) to give Sam Ehlinger the ball back enough times to outscore the Sooners.
Bryan Mays, KVUE Daybreak Anchor:
Texas 51, Oklahoma 41.
This should be a shootout much like the first meeting. OU will provide a huge test for the Texas offense and will score plenty of points. Sadly for the Sooners, their defense is actually worse than when they lost to Texas in October. OU should have lost to Oklahoma State and if not for two costly turnovers, West Virginia would have beaten them too. The Big 12 will not have a team in the playoffs this year because the Longhorns will win the Big 12 and go to the Sugar Bowl. 51-41 Texas!
Hank Cavagnaro, KVUE News Reporter:
Texas 45, Oklahoma 52.
Ahhhh the Big 12 Championship! Now, I might not be an OU fan or a UT fan, but these two teams have been some of the most exciting all season! Of course, if we could have a four-team playoff and add the next two exciting teams with West Virginia and Kansa... -- you know, let’s just stick to these two teams playing. OU has been a powerhouse all season. Their offense is electric behind Murray but their defense leaves a little to be desired. Oklahoma's only loss on the season is the very Longhorn team they’re taking on this week. I think because UT got the best of them last time, the Sooners are going to come out firing on all cylinders. I think the Sooners see the possibility of the College Football Playoffs and win 52-45 in a track meet and one of the most exciting games of the season.
Jay Wallis, KVUE News Reporter:
Texas 34, Oklahoma 42.
This rematch has a lot to live up to after the first game last month had plenty of fireworks and big plays down the stretch. This time, though, there's a lot more at stake. With the Big 12 Championship on the line, I expect defense for both teams to be a little bit more impactful. Just a little bit. Before you look at what is going to be happening on the field, I think you have to give OU the slight mental edge. This is a team trying to get into the four-team playoffs and avenge its only loss of the season...against its biggest rival. As much as UT wants this win -- just like any sports team wants to win game in and game out -- there's not as much on the line for the Longhorns other than going to a better bowl game with a win. In their October matchup, the Longhorns took care of the ball (zero turnovers) and forced the Sooners to do the opposite (two fumbles lost, one interception). Texas also got a huge boost in the run game from Sam Ehlinger -- 18 carries, 84 rushing yards -- which the Longhorns will need him to do again so they can open up the field for his dynamic receiving duo in Collin Johnson and Lil' Jordan Humphrey. If UT's front seven can't apply pressure to Kyler Murray like they did through three quarters of the first matchup, OU's biggest playmaker will undoubtedly attack his opponent's weak secondary. Other than having a new defensive coordinator, the Sooners have one big difference this time around in how they will be able to attack on the ground. Redshirt freshman running back Kennedy Brooks looks like a different player and his offensive line is giving him support he didn't have early on. I don't think Texas' offense will be able to reach the heights it did during the first matchup to keep up with the most potent offense in all of college football. (OU also punted or turned the ball over five times the first time around. I don't expect that to happen again Saturday.) Kyler Murray is going to put it all together -- indoors at AT&T Stadium -- and OU will be making its final argument for the four seed in the playoffs.
Tim Ryan, KVUE News Director:
Texas 31, Oklahoma 24.
The first UT-OU game this season was a crazy game, won in the end by Dicker the Kicker. This time, OU will jump ahead in the first half 21-0. Longhorn fans will be in serious emotional turmoil. But Texas’ defense makes adjustments, OU’s offense falters, and Sam Ehlinger will shake off a slow start to march the Longhorns back into the game. With the score tied at 24-24 late in the fourth quarter, UT appears poised to get into field goal range, but instead break a play to score the last touchdown of the game. The defense holds for the last minute, and UT wins 31-24. You heard it here first.
Andrew McKibbin, KVUE Dayside Executive Producer:
Texas 38, Oklahoma 48.
Lightning won’t strike twice. UT took it to the Sooners the first time around, dominating the turnover battle – but still barely pulled out a win in the end. I’m afraid the Longhorns are in for a different outcome in the Big 12 Championship. I know, I know… the Sooners can’t play defense -- and it’s true -- I agree. But, Kyler Murray and his offense are firing on all cylinders and hungry to keep their shot at the College Football Playoff alive. Too much OU this time around.
We also asked you: Austinites, the fans and general public. This is what you decided:
Kick off for the Big 12 Championship featuring Texas and Oklahoma is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on Saturday Dec. 1.