Quarterback Sam Bradford of the Oklahoma Sooners
National championship hopes are floating in Saturday's 103rd edition of the Red River Rivalry, the annual Oklahoma-Texas shoot-out at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas (airing on ABC Saturday, Oct. 11, at noon/ET). In both national polls the Sooners (5-0) are No. 1 and the Longhorns (5-0) are No. 5.
Perhaps more important than the game's BCS implications, pride is on the line. Both teams "really do feel like their season is ruined if they don't win this game," says ESPN's Ed Cunningham. The Sooners have so many offensive weapons, including quarterback Sam Bradford and running backs Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray, that "I'm not sure anybody's ever going to stop them this season," Cunningham says. "But Texas will have the best chance of figuring out a way of slowing them down some."
Adding to the tension, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has stocked his roster with players from below the state line. "There's the inside joke that Oklahoma is really the University of Texas at Norman because they've gotten so many kids out of Texas," Cunningham says, "so I think there's a little bit of anger." As if any more motivation were needed. —Karen Rosen