Way-too-early RRR predictions

October 13 is right around the corner. It’s so close you can smell the Corny Dogs. We’ve spent the week looking ahead to the 2012 Red River Rivalry game, and with three months of agonizing wait ahead of us, here are the HornsNation staff’s predictions.

Sean Adams: Oklahoma and its stability at quarterback is the kicker even though Texas has the better defense. Texas will be intent on running the ball and Oklahoma will be intent on stopping Texas from running.

That will decide the game. David Ash will be required to make 3 – 5 big time throws in order for Texas to win, and until we see more from Ash, it is hard to feel good about him. Both teams have a good defense so I will go with the better quarterback. Texas’ defense will put on a valiant effort but the Longhorns, in no way, shape or form can afford to be one-dimensional. Until the offense shows more, it would be hard to call the game for Texas. Ask me again on October 12th.

Score: Oklahoma 21, Texas 17

Max Olson: It won’t be easy, but both teams come into this one undefeated. Expect a low-scoring battle not too unlike the one played in 2009. Texas’ defense is too loaded to give up 55 points again, and its pass rush and secondary won’t make life easy for Landry Jones. But let’s be honest: This game will swing on mistakes made by Texas’ offense. Five turnovers and eight sacks doomed the Horns last year. They’ll cut those numbers down, but it only takes a few brainfarts to lose this game.

Score: Oklahoma 21, Texas 17

Carter Strickland: Oklahoma is going to get a couple of big plays from its wide receivers and Landry Jones which should make the difference. David Ash will be better, but Texas will be unable to move the ball through the air against a very good OU secondary. That means Texas will have to grind it out. Oklahoma is ready for that attack and stacks the box successfully. Texas will score its first touchdown in the second quarter on a misdirection of some sort to Daje Johnson, D.J. Monroe or Johnathan Gray.

After only being down four at halftime, Texas allows a long pass play and OU goes up by seven in the third.

Texas goes for two and converts it on a touchdown late in the fourth quarter but cannot get the ball back to attempt a game-tying field goal.

Score: Oklahoma 21, Texas 18

William Wilkerson: The Longhorns will be battle-tested with games at Oklahoma State and home against West Virginia in the two weeks prior to facing the Sooners, and I think that goes a long way in this one.

Texas’ offensive line was destroyed by Oklahoma’s defensive front in 2011, but that changes with the addition of Donald Hawkins at left tackle and Josh Cochran being a year older. Also, they won’t have to deal with Frank Alexander.

The field possession battle, dominated by OU last year, will even out and allow for one of Texas’ three Thorpe Award candidates to make a game-changing play.

Score: Texas 27, Oklahoma 23

Jeremy Willis: Outside of Fozzy Whittaker’s kickoff return, just about everything fell apart for Texas against OU in 2011. Play-calling, turnovers, busted assignments. They all happened and turned the game into a rout.

That won’t happen in 2012.

This won’t be Bryan Harsin’s first OU-Texas game, or David Ash’s. If UT can truly go power football against OU, then this game grinds down and that works in the Longhorns’ favor, and it will help the defense deal with the Sooners’ attack. If the defensive line is fresh, it can harass Landry Jones and let UT’s talented secondary make some plays.

Will that be enough for a Texas win? Probably not.

Jones is savvy and has so much experience and knowledge of the offense. He’ll be the difference, but it won’t be easy.

Score: Oklahoma 27, Texas 20