Oklahoma football: How this weekend’s Big 12 games could impact OU

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 08: Oklahoma Sooners helmets
NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 08: Oklahoma Sooners helmets /

The Big 12 season doesn’t get into the full swing of things for a couple of weeks, with only a partial slate this weekend and next, which is when Oklahoma football will next be in action, taking on Texas Tech in Norman on Sept. 28.

There are two games this weekend, however, that could impact the Sooners’ despite the fact they have the weekend off.

One of the games takes place in the Big 12, one of just two Big 12 head-to-head contests scheduled on Saturday. Texas, the No. 12 team in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 hosts Oklahoma State. The Cowboys would rank 26th in the AP poll, based on the votes received from the 62 writers and broadcasters who make up the voting panel.

Oklahoma State comes to Austin with a 3-0 record, having beaten Oregon State, McNeese and Tulsa, three teams from which not much is expected this season. Texas, on the other hand, is 2-1 through three games, with the loss coming against then No. 6 LSU by seven points. The Longhorns steamrolled their other two nonconference opponents, Louisiana Tech and Rice.

Texas is 24-9 all-time versus Oklahoma State and 14-6 when the game is played in Austin. What is hidden in those numbers is the Cowboys have won seven of the last nine games between these two conference foes, including the last five played in Austin. The Pokes also won last year’s game in Stillwater, giving them a four-game winning streak against the Longhorns.

Both teams have put up big offensive numbers through three games — Texas is averaging 497 yards of total offense, most of that coming through the air; Oklahoma State has shown more balance running and throwing the ball, averaging 547 yards of offense — but they also give up plenty of yards on the defensive end.

A Texas win on Saturday — and they are 6.5-point favorites, according to Las Vegas sportsbooks — would put them on a direct collision course with Oklahoma, which are the two teams everyone expects to be playing again for the Big 12 championship. Both teams could potentially be in the top 10 for the annual Red River Showdown in Dallas, to be played Oct. 12. The winner of the OU-Texas game would then have a leg up for one of the two spots in the Big 12 Championship.

If Oklahoma State were to extend its winning streak over Texas on Saturday, however, the Red River game almost becomes a must-win situation for the Longhorns in order to keep pace with the Sooners in the conference race. A Cowboy win also would heighten the potential importance of the regular-season finale between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State still has to go to Texas Tech and Iowa State this season, but it has Kansas State, Baylor, TCU and OU at home.

The other game this weekend that could have immediate implications for Oklahoma is the Georgia-Notre Dame contest taking place in Athens, Georgia, at virtually the same time as Texas-Oklahoma State. Georgia is currently ranked third in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll, Notre Dame is seventh. Oklahoma currently sits in the No. 5 spot in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll.

Next. Takeaways from the first 3 weeks and a 3-0 record. dark

A Georgia win — and they are favored by 12.5 — would not have any affect on OU’s national ranking, other than preventing the Sooners from moving up. But OU might not move up anyway, because with a Notre Dame win, the Fighting Irish would likely jump upward and could jump over the Sooners, much like LSU did after beating then No. 5 Texas. If not, the Irish would surely move ahead of Ohio State into No. 5, which would push Oklahoma one spot ahead, to No. 4.