Red River Showdown

OU's Pat Fields sacks Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger during the Red River Showdown, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. (Kyle Phillips / The Transcript)

The Red River Showdown is bound to look different in 2020. How much it looks different has yet to be determined.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of this year's State Fair of Texas on Tuesday. Although, it might not matter to Oklahoma's game with Texas, played each season during the fair.

Both schools’ athletics directors — OU’s Joe Castiglione and Texas’ Chris Del Conte — said their expectation is to play the game in Dallas with three months to make a final decision. Corny dogs and coupons merely would be out of the equation.

No fairgoers circling the stadium would be an odd sight; although, there might not be many fans inside either.

Farewell to the crimson and burnt orange divide at the 50-yard line. At least, for this year.

• When: Week 6 | Oct. 10 (Time and TV, TBA)

• Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas (Capacity: 92,100)

• All-time series: Texas leads 62-47-5

A look at the Longhorns

• Overview: The 2020 Red River Showdown figures to be important to the national landscape. OU is trying to make it back to the College Football Playoff, while Texas is hoping to finally get there.

And perhaps, Texas turns its luck this season.

The Longhorns' biggest hurdle, aside from a nonconference game with LSU, will be Oct. 10 against the Sooners. UT coach Tom Herman is 1-3 against OU’s Lincoln Riley. His only win against the Sooners came in 2018, which led to Texas’ first 10-win season since 2009.

The Longhorns seemed primed for an even better 2019 but ultimately went 8-5.

The Longhorns might turn themselves around this year with consistent blue chip-level recruiting and an experienced signal-caller in Sam Ehlinger.

Texas' biggest struggles came away from home last season. Along with the neutral site contest with OU, the Longhorns' 2020 trips include games at LSU, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Kansas and Oklahoma State.

Texas’ road battle with the defending national champions will be key to monitor ahead of its meeting with OU. But as the Longhorns have learned, marquee September wins don't always equate to future success.

• Key returner: Sam Ehlinger. The senior is as polarizing as returning quarterbacks go. But his experience and the arrival of first-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich could add up to Ehlinger’s best year yet.

He threw for 3,663 yards last season to go with 32 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 663 yards and seven touchdowns.

• Key departure: Brandon Jones. For what firepower Texas has lacked recently on offense, the Longhorns have made up with consistently solid defense. Jones played a big part in that as one of the conference’s better defensive backs the past four years.

Last year, the safety posted career-best numbers with single-season highs of 86 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defended and a forced fumble.

Joe Buettner


Follow me @ByJoeBuettner

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