IT Roundtable – Big 12 Championship

Charles Omenihu (Will Gallagher/IT)
Charles Omenihu (Will Gallagher/IT)

Texas-OU, the Rematch. Sam vs Kyler. Herman vs Riley. The IT Roundtable gives you all. 

1. Texas-OU plays twice in a season for the first time since 1906. How does UT win?
Justin Wells – By literally leaving it all on the field. Texas was more physical in October, and they must remind OU of this factor. UT matches up well in key spots, but ultimately rattle Kyler Murray and leave Lincoln Riley wondering if he’ll ever beat Texas again.

Eric Nahlin – Dictating the pace and style of game. Long drives for UT and holding OU to field goals. Protect the ball on offense, no big coverage or run-game assignment busts on defense, and try to get pressure on Murray within a contained pocket.

Ian Boyd – They need to make the focal point of the game what happens between the hash marks on defense and maybe on offense as well. If they can make the outcome center around which team is tougher and more disciplined in the middle of the field then they’ll win.

Joe Cook – By holding the ball last. I think it will be that type of game, last team with the ball wins. Cameron Dicker better be ready.

Scipio Tex – Texas is the 2nd to worst 3rd down defense in the Big 12. OU is the best 3rd down offense. Win there, win the game. Offensively, a healthy Ehlinger is more than half of the battle.

2. Offensive/Defensive notables:
Justin Wells – On offense; Sam MF’n Ehlinger. On defense, Gary MF’n Johnson.

Eric Nahlin – Ehlinger needs a return to form after his struggles in Lawrence. Hopefully UT can run the ball with the backs, and if so, it’s probably because Ehlinger is connecting with his receivers. OU is going to be good for a gimme TD or two, Ehlinger can’t afford to miss throws like he has at times to Beck and Duvernay. On defense, I don’t think Orlando wants to start out by spying Murray but I fear it may come to that. If it doesn’t that likely bodes well. Even if not tasked as a spy there will plenty of run game to clean up. Kennedy Brooks in particular is a dangerous runner against a tired defense. Lay the wood, Gary.

Ian Boyd – Oklahoma’s weakest spot right now is arguably where Texas is strongest, they have wretched at covering the slot and the middle of the field where Lil’Jordan Humphrey makes his living and their focus here often leaves them vulnerable against other tactics and personnel where Texas is strong. They can get points and yardage outside on the perimeter but there’s a chance to control this game and pound OU in the middle of the field. On defense Texas has a lot on their plate, they need to keep the ball (and Kyler Murray in particular) hemmed inside with whatever personnel plays at the OLB spots but from there they need a great day from Charles Omenihu, Malcolm Roach, and the DL.

Joe Cook – OL: Pave the way for whoever is toting the rock. It was a strength last time in Dallas, needs to be a strength in Arlington. On defense, Brandon Jones. His ability to play in the box and be a sure tackler is something needed against a defense like Oklahoma.

Scipio Tex – Offense – Ehlinger and the OL. Specifically, Anderson, Vahe, Rodriguez. Defense – If we play the Sooners how we expect, we’re going to put a lot on Kris Boyd, Malcolm Roach and (hopefully) Brandon Jones’ plates.

3. Game prediction:
Justin Wells – OU, 45, Texas 41.

Eric Nahlin – This game is almost too close to call. I think the line is a farce. I think the defense is going to make enough plays to win and the offense will be efficient. I’m going with the physical team. 41-38. The defense will play better than that score indicates; OU is just like a great scorer in basketball that ends up with a lot of points even on an off night.

Ian Boyd – Texas 48-40, something like that. I think they’ll take control in the second or third quarter and hold on.

Joe Cook – 39-38, Texas

Scipio Tex – Texas- 42, OU- 41

4. With so many storylines (Kyler no comment, Horns down, rematch, etc…which one is the most important?

Justin Wells – If Texas wins, Breckyn’s performance post-game, and watch UT kill it with the 2020 class.

Eric Nahlin – It’s Sam vs Kyler and how each embodies his respective team identity. After that I’m curious to see if either staff schemed a distinct advantage after the first meeting and having tape on the other for a full season.

Ian Boyd – Sam Ehlinger cutting off Breckyn Hager’s hair at the podium or on the field of victory would be an exceptionally iconic symbol of what was achieved by this team.

Joe Cook – The final score, though I feel if Oklahoma loses it may inspire Kyler Murray to try and find a way to play baseball for part of the year before returning to the gridiron his senior year. I don’t know how feasible it is with his contract.

Scipio Tex – The most important storyline is recruiting. OU is resurgent with a younger, more recruiting oriented staff and they’re more active in Texas after years of being a non-factor. Two wins in one year and a Big 12 title will shut down the “Come to OU for championships” pitch.

5. It looks increasingly likely Texas will play Georgia or Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Your favorite Nola memory:
Justin Wells – My first Bourbon street trip. It was….something for another forum. All I know is the next day at work was miserable. Every time I turned my head, the spins.

Eric Nahlin – *Printable NOLA memory. Immediately after the countdown for midnight on New Year’s Eve a jam packed Bourbon St. erupted in chants of USA. It had just turned to 2002 and 9/11 was still on everybody’s mind. Bonus: I also had a kill shot on some a-hole who was purposefully spilling drinks on people below him. From the street I reared back with a 3/4 full hurricane and drilled him center mass. His white button up immediately turned red. I’ll never forget the look on his face as the hurricane neared. It was slow motion (for me); he was a fighter pilot who was radar locked on and there was no rolling out of it. Dusted.

Ian Boyd – I haven’t been down there much but the last time I went my brother in law treated me to a breakfast spot that made a fried chicken breakfast sandwich with waffle as bread. It was probably the best “sweet and savory” thing that I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Joe Cook – I went to Texas vs. Tulane in the early 2000s. Since then, quality time with friends in the various local businesses.

Scipio Tex – Too many. Sticking to PG themes…

Several years ago, I was there for a corporate event. I had a fun night out with some girls I met and while strolling back to my hotel at 6:00am, I saw my boss doing her early morning jog. I knew she would see me, so to own it, I pretended that I was also out jogging…wearing a disheveled suit. I offered her a cheery good morning and tried to look sporty. She encouraged me to double up on the coffee before our meetings that day.

Another time in college, I’m chatting with a wisecracking New Orleans cop. If you know New Orleans, you know the type. Hilarious, cynical, talking endless shit to everybody. In mid-story, he horse collars a guy in a hoodie and tells him “We not pickpocketing today, Clarence! I’ve told you! Go sit on the curb while I finish this story! If you move, I’m hittin’ you with my nightstick and calling your mama!” Clarence does as he’s told. The cop jumps back into his story and then recs me a gumbo place. When he forgets the cross street, he interrogates Clarence for it, who cheerfully offers up his own opinion on where I should eat. “That was good advice, Clarence. I’ll probably let you go now.” Then he deadpans to me: “New Orleans criminals will cut your throat for a nickel, but they got a lot of civic pride.”