Texas wins if…it sticks to its newfound identity. Football has never been a very complicated game. Run the ball, stop the run, and win the turnover battle. Since the Longhorns demolished Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl with that formula, all systems appear to be a go. The Jayhawks come to Austin without having won a Big 12 game since 2010, and outside of a few first-half scares, haven’t come close yet in 2013. They are trickier at home in Lawrence as the Longhorns can attest, pulling out a narrow 21-17 victory in the last seconds just a year ago. At home, the Longhorns have beaten the Jayhawks by an average of 39 points per game since 1999, and if they stick with what has gotten them through the month of October, should get to that margin of victory again. A moral victory would be to extend the lead early enough to allow true freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes significant reps in the second half. After having his redshirt burned in Fort Worth during garbage time, the backup quarterback could use some more meaningful snaps on Saturday. If the Longhorns take care of business and Swoopes sees significant time, it could lead to a win in the future, even if the contest Saturday is never in doubt.
Texas loses if…it falls asleep at the wheel. With a program that has been known to throw some random clunkers out at times, like its last contest against the Jayhawks, it’s not out of the question. If the Longhorns can’t get their resurgent running game going against the No. 99-ranked rushing defense in the country, they can’t hit the deep shots they have the last couple weeks and they turn the ball over, Kansas could stick around. Starting Jayhawks running back James Sims is a formidable threat on the ground, averaging 4.6 yards per carry while racking up 589 yards. While Greg Robinson appears to have at least temporarily plugged the holes in the once porous Texas run defense, a revert back could be problematic. It would take a perfect storm for the Longhorns to provide the Jayhawks with their first conference win of the Charlie Weis era, but this program has done nothing in the last four years to earn the benefit of the doubt. Texas loses if disaster breaks loose on Saturday.