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Tramel: College football predictions & OSU's dominance of Texas

Oklahoma State hosts Texas on Saturday, and my how the narrative in this series has changed. Remember when the Cowboys couldn’t hold a big lead on the Longhorns?

In 2004, OSU led 35-7 in Austin -- then lost 56-35. In 2005, OSU led 28-9 in Stillwater -- then lost 47-28. In 2007, OSU led 35-14 -- then lost 38-35.

But those days of Longhorn dominance seem long ago and far away. In the last decade, OSU is 7-3 vs. Texas, and that includes a 36-30 Longhorn victory last season.

In fact, Texas ranks in the middle of OSU opponents in terms of success. Since the end of the 2009 season, the Cowboys are 11-0 vs. Kansas, 9-2 vs. Iowa State, 8-2 vs. Texas Tech, 7-2 vs. West Virginia and 7-3 vs. Texas. That means UT ranks fifth among the Cowboys’ nine conference foes. OSU is 2-8 vs. OU, 4-6 vs. Baylor, 5-3 vs. TCU and 6-4 vs. Kansas State.

Of course, it’s not just that Texas has a thing with OSU. Since the ‘10s arrived, the Longhorns have a winning record against only four Big 12 schools -- 8-1 vs. Kansas, 9-2 vs. Texas Tech, 7-3 vs. Iowa State and 6-5 vs. Baylor. The ‘Horns are 3-9 vs. OU, 2-7 vs. TCU, 3-7 vs. OSU, 5-5 vs. Kansas State and 4-4 vs. West Virginia.

It’s a stunning fall for Texas football. In Mack Brown’s first 12 seasons as the Longhorn coach, 1998-2009, UT lost just 10 Big 12 games to a team other than Oklahoma.

Let’s get to the predictions:

Texas at Oklahoma State: Cowboys 26-17. UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger has gone 1-4 vs. OU in his career and now could fall to 1-3 vs. OSU. That’s a lot of losses to teams from our state.

Oklahoma at Texas Tech: Sooners 48-21. OU hasn’t lost in Lubbock since 2009, Landry Jones’ freshman season, but the recent games have been wild -- 51-46, 66-59, 42-30.

TCU at Baylor: Horned Frogs 31-17. It wasn’t long ago that these programs cost each other a berth in the College Football Playoff. Now both are scrambling to stay out of the second division.

Kansas State at West Virginia: Wildcats 23-20. The Sooners desperately need someone to start beating K-State, but the Wildcats are scrappy.

Iowa State at Kansas: Cyclones 49-10. Iowa State looked solid even in defeat in Stillwater.

Mississippi State at Alabama: Crimson Tide 51-14. Mike Leach makes his Tuscaloosa debut. Kentucky didn’t play at Alabama the two years Leach was offensive coordinator in the Bluegrass.

Georgia at Kentucky: Bulldogs 29-3. The UK offense just isn’t enough to make this a game.

Arkansas at Texas A&M: Aggies 34-14. I wonder if the old Southwest Conference rivalry has any juice in the SEC? My impression is no.

Missouri at Florida: Gators 41-17. Give credit to new Mizzou coach Eli Drinkwitz. His Tigers are playing tough.

LSU at Auburn: War Eagle 28-23. The two programs in America that typically have the hottest seat for a coach, though Ed Orgeron’s national championship gives him a little immunity. An Auburn coach gets about a six-month free pass for a special season. 

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt: Rebels 35-7. Mississippi is fun to watch under Lane Kiffin, but the Rebs still are 1-4.

Northwestern at Iowa: Wildcats 23-10. Has any program had a worse 2020 than the Hawkeyes? Racial allegations within the program during the offseason, then a season-opening loss to Purdue.

Ohio State at Penn State: Buckeyes 42-20. The Nittany Lions’ loss to Indiana was one of the most unlikely and entertaining upsets I’ve seen in years. It’s quite an indictment when you let an underdog win, coming from behind.

Minnesota at Maryland: Gophers 42-13. The Terrapins don’t seem to have much going this season.

Michigan State at Michigan: Wolverines 51-16. Wow. How did the Spartans fall so far so fast to get beat bad by Rutgers?

Purdue at Illinois: Boilermakers 28-17. Purdue can go to 2-0 in the Big Ten.

Indiana at Rutgers: Hoosiers 38-20. The Upstart Bowl. Give Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano credit. The guy can get Rutgers to play some football.

Virginia Tech at Louisville: Hokies 28-21. Seriously, is any ACC team outside of Clemson and Notre Dame anything above mediocre?

North Carolina at Virginia: Tar Heels 45-10. Carolina’s lethargic performance at Florida State remains a mystery.

Wake Forest at Syracuse: Demon Deacons 33-20. The Orange seemingly has made no progress under Art Briles disciple Dino Babers, and this is Year 5.

Notre Dame at Georgia Tech: Fighting Irish 43-17. Finally, next week, we get Notre Dame-Clemson.

Boston College at Clemson: Tigers 56-7. Clemson rarely goes through the motions, but you couldn’t blame Dabo Swinney’s team if it did.

Charlotte at Duke: Blue Devils 26-21. I’ll take Duke, but this could be a prime upset spot.

East Carolina at Tulsa: Golden Hurricane 45-15. TU quietly is having an excellent season. The Hurricane is 3-1 and gets Navy next week. So Tulsa, which has lost only to OSU in a 16-7 nail-biter, could lead the American Conference for quite a while. 

Memphis at Cincinnati: Bearcats 27-24. Cincinnati is a legitimate contender for a College Football Playoff berth. 

Central Florida at Houston: Cougars 31-30. Two really good teams that have had disappointing starts to the season.

Navy at SMU: Mustangs 33-14. SMU was surprisingly whacked around by Cincinnati last week.

Temple at Tulane: Owls 27-25. The American is deep this season. Neither team is a contender, but both are solid.

Alabama-Birmingham at Louisiana Tech: Blazers 30-20. UAB coach Bill Clark has done a fabulous job since the Blazers revived the program in 2017 after a two-year hiatus. Clark was 6-6 with the Blazers in 2014, kept the job through the shutdown, then is 32-15 since.

North Texas at Texas-El Paso: Eagles 36-20. It’s 637 miles from Denton to El Paso. I assume the Mean Green is flying.

Texas-San Antonio at Florida Atlantic: Roadrunners 34-23. Excellent win by UTSA over Louisiana Tech last week.

Rice at Southern Mississippi: Golden Eagles 37-12. Southern Miss is on its third head coach of the season. The Eagles fired Jay Hopson after a season-opening loss, and interim coach Scotty Walden just left for the Austin Peay job. The Governors played three games this autumn but are playing a spring season. Southern Miss’ new interim coach is defensive coordinator Tim Billings, who in 1982 was an assistant coach at Norman High School.

Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas State: Ragin’ Cajuns 36-26. Jake Spavital’s Bobcats have been competitive but still are 1-6.

Troy at Arkansas State: Red Wolves 38-19. Arkansas State is a funny team. The Red Wolves are 3-3 -- with a victory at Kansas State.

Coastal Carolina at Georgia State: Chanticleers 40-17. Coastal keeps rolling along, with a 5-0 record.

South Alabama at Georgia Southern: Jaguars 24-23. South Alabama remains unbeaten in the Sun Belt’s West Division. Surely that will change.

Appalachian State at Louisiana-Monroe: Mountaineers 47-0. The only teams who have played more than three games and remain winless are Kansas and the 0-6 Warhawks.

Colorado State at Fresno State: Rams 24-20. Colorado State makes its season debut, after its opener at New Mexico was canceled. Fresno State was not impressive last week, losing to Hawaii.

Hawaii at Wyoming: Rainbow Warriors 37-27. Hawaii can go 2-0 in the Mountain West.

Boise State at Air Force: Broncos 26-10. Boise State again looks to be the cream of the Mountain West crop.

New Mexico at San Jose State: Spartans 35-20. This game was moved to California so it could be played. Albuquerque’s COVID restrictions wouldn’t let the game be played in New Mexico.

Nevada at Nevada-Las Vegas: Wolf Pack 32-21. Jay Norvell’s Nevada squad can get to 2-0.

Western Kentucky at Brigham Young: Cougars 52-10. The Hilltoppers got a gift victory last week, when a kickoff return for a touchdown in the final 75 seconds was wiped out by a dubious fair-catch call.

Last week: 34-12. Season: 146-55.

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Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›