The Red River Rivalry delivered on so many levels this past weekend. First and foremost, Texas and Oklahoma put on a show for 60 minutes. The game featured memorable plays throughout the game…unfortunately for Longhorns’ fans the two biggest belonged to Oklahoma: a defensive stand of four consecutive plays with the Longhorns at Goal to Go from the one-yard line and of course Dillon Gabriel’s heroic drive to win the game.
Texas fans had designs on a win Saturday to put an exclamation point on the return of the Longhorns to national prominence and to the Heisman candidacy of their quarterback Quinn Ewers. Those plans were slowed at the very least. The story instead now focuses on Brent Venables and the resurgent Sooners buoyed by their own Heisman candidate, Dillon Gabriel.
As noted, the win put the Oklahoma Sooners back in the national title conversation. Their path to the playoff is clear. It may feature a rematch against Texas in the Big 12 Title Game, but that looks to be their only hurdle. The win over Texas dropped Oklahoma’s odds of winning the national championship from +2500 to +1400 (not surprisingly, the Longhorns’ odds rose from +750 to +1800).
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Every Heisman contender enjoys a signature moment. Dillon Gabriel announced his very real candidacy with that 75-yard drive in the Red River Rivalry’s final 77 seconds. As fast as the drive propelled the Longhorns in the polls, it just as quickly dropped the odds of the left-handed Hawaiian to claim college football’s highest individual honor at BetMGM from +2000 to +1200. Conversely, Quinn Ewer’s candidacy took a hit from +900 to +2500. It wasn’t that the Texas signal-caller was bad. He just wasn’t special like Gabriel.
The favorites for the Heisman – Michael Penix, Jr. of Washington (+200), Caleb Williams of USC (+220), and Oregon’s Bo Nix (+600) will face each other as their seasons continue in the Pac 12. Williams enjoyed many a special moment down the stretch last season enroute to claiming the award, but all three have yet to enjoy such a moment this season.
Does that lack of a moment for the three favorites make Gabriel a smart play in the betting market?
Plenty of football left to be played on Saturdays this Fall. Opportunities to shine remain, but the buzz surrounding the humble but confident Oklahoma Sooner signal-caller is real.
*all odds courtesy of BetMGM.