Staff predictions: Texas vs. Okla. State

Texas 37, Oklahoma State 31

As hard as it is to play at Boone Pickens Stadium, this game still will come down to the players. Texas' two-deep is better than the two-deep of Oklahoma State. This is the game where the Texas defense stands up, and while I do not think they will have the dominating stats in sacks and interceptions, they will disrupt the flow of the Cowboys offense, and that will be more important.

This is the game where David Ash throws his first pick but will show strong resolve. Texas fans will walk out of this game feeling better about the Longhorns as a whole and about Ash in particular. The Texas running game will be the star of the show again, along with the UT defensive line that will be working against a retooled Cowboys offensive line.

- Sean Adams

Texas 45, Oklahoma State 35

That’s a lot of points on the scoreboard, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if either team scored even more. This just feels like that kind of a shootout. Both teams are talented and diverse on offense but have a soft spot for giving up long drives and big plays.

J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt are both quality quarterbacks, but you can’t ignore the fact this is Walsh’s first career college start, and it comes against the conference’s best defense. I don’t think Lunt will play. If he does, that wouldn’t change my prediction much.

The difference in the end, I think, will be the tag team of Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron wearing down this Cowboy defense. But make no mistake: The Longhorns will have to play from behind at some point in this game. We’ll find out just how clutch the new David Ash is on Saturday night.

- Max Olson

Texas 34, Oklahoma State 27

Texas cannot take its typical MO of getting down early to the Cowboys and then trying to rally back for the win. Instead, the Longhorns should use their ground game to control the pace and not force David Ash to make the impossible throws. Do that and they should be able to just hold off Oklahoma State.

- Carter Strickland

Texas 31, Oklahoma State 27

Time of possession, depending on what two teams are playing, can be one of the most useless statistics in football. This one, not so much. I believe it will be very telling of who wins this game. If Texas can sustain long drives as it has done plenty of this season -- the Longhorns have five TD drives of 10 plays or more, which is most in the Big 12 and tied for 8th most in the FBS -- and ends those drives with touchdowns (not field goals) it will win.

On the contrary, the Longhorns are going to have to find a way to slow down OSU, which scores a lot and does so faster than just about anyone. The Cowboys have scored 61 touchdowns in less than two minutes since the start of the 2011 season, which is tied for first in the country with Oregon. To prevent that, communication between the linebackers and secondary is going to be crucial. And with the health of Jordan Hicks unknown, that responsibility in the middle is going to fall on Steve Edmond. Will he be able to handle the pressure in a hostile environment? This is also the perfect time for Carrington Byndom to shut up some naysayers. I think he does that with what will be, by far, his best game of 2012.

- William Wilkerson