|After a slow start to the season, QB Landry Jones had a strong outing last week at Texas Tech. (US Presswire)|
Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1 Big 12) vs. Texas (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET (ABC)
Spread: Oklahoma by 3
Watchability: It's the Red River Rivalry -- a truly divided stadium rooting for one of two quality teams, each of which is fighting to remain relevant in the Big 12 title race, as the loser is all but eliminated. Yes, you should watch.
Shining stars: Oklahoma: QB Landry Jones. It was a slow start to the season, but Jones started to piece things together a bit in last week's 41-20 win at Texas Tech. He completed 25 of 40 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Individually, Jones is only 56th in the country in passing efficiency. But given the strength of OU's defense, he doesn't necessarily have to win games for his team -- just managing the game and avoiding mistakes might be enough. Texas: DE Alex Okafor and DE Jackson Jeffcoat. The two have combined for eight sacks over their last three games and forced the first and second turnovers of the season by WVU's offensive starters in last week's loss -- including Jeffcoat's fumble recovery for a touchdown that tied the game in the second quarter.
Who could steal the show: Oklahoma: QB Blake Bell. Can anyone stop the Belldozer? The 6-foot-6, 254-pound Bell was up to his old tricks last week, coming in to rush out of the shotgun in certain situations and daring teams to stop him for a loss. It's not exactly a football innovation, but it has been effective -- he added two more touchdowns to give him three scores in OU's last two games. Texas: CB Quandre Diggs. He is ninth in the nation in interceptions, with three picks to his credit thus far this season. A sophomore, Diggs figures to be matched up with Oklahoma's top receiver, Kenny Stills. Winning that one-on-one battle will be a key to the outcome.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Yes, this isn't the Big 12 game of the year, as this is only the second time since 1997 the Red River Rivalry game will be played with each team already having a conference loss. But it's still compelling, with two top-15 teams fighting to stay in the hunt. You can practically smell the fried food wafting over to the Cotton Bowl from the State Fair of Texas. You'll be entertained enough to make that case of indigestion worth it if you go.
Magic number for Oklahoma: 40. The Sooners are 72-1 under Bob Stoops when scoring 40 or more points in a game. That could happen this time around, as Texas' defense is struggling -- it has given up 31 or more in each of its last three games, including 48 last week in a loss to West Virginia.
Magic number for Texas: 1.4. The Longhorns are 18th in the country in turnover margin, at plus-1.4 per game. Texas had won 58 straight games when winning the turnover battle before last week, when WVU spoiled that streak despite giving away two turnovers and forcing only one. Oklahoma comes in only 89th nationally in turnover margin at minus-0.5 per game.
The game comes down to: Which defense sets the tone? Texas has the pass rushers in Okafor and Jeffcoat to ensure a long day for Jones and company. But Oklahoma's own defense impressed last week against Texas Tech, allowing only 89 rushing yards. West Virginia's defense showed it is possible to slow down the Texas rushing offense. The victor of those battles of strength-versus-strength has the inside track towards a Red River Rivalry win.
Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 20
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12 on Twitter. You can also follow C.J. (@cjmoore4) and Patrick (@patricksouthern).