Whether beating Oklahoma State today in Stillwater is a must-win for Texas coach Tom Herman won’t be known until down the road.
But one thing is for sure: Herman’s margin of error the rest of the year is slim.
A win over the Cowboys takes pressure off Herman for another week, but a loss makes his seat uncomfortably hot as it will be the Longhorns’ third Big 12 defeat of the season.
With games against Iowa State and Kansas State still looming, Texas likely is going to have to win out to reach the Big 12 championship game.
But the Longhorns would rather have the pressure of having to run the table delayed thanks to a win today.
“Oklahoma State is a well-coached team that’s playing as good as anyone in the conference right now,” Herman said during his weekly meeting with the media. “We’ve got to continue to get better.”
While those aren’t breaking-news statements about the Cowboys or his own squad, Herman's assessment is accurate.
Oklahoma State was regarded by some as the best team in the Big 12 prior to the season, and it hasn’t disappointed to date. The Cowboys (4-0 overall, 3-0 against Big 12 opponents) are undefeated, with their most impressive win coming in last week’s 24-21 home victory over Iowa State. That win was actually not as close as the score indicates, with the Cyclones punching in a late score with less than 50 seconds to play.
The Cowboys also own wins over West Virginia, Kansas and Tulsa, which isn’t wildly impressive, but they can only beat the teams on the schedule.
We’ll know a lot more about Oklahoma State after its three-game stretch that starts with the Longhorns and then sees them visit Kansas State and Oklahoma.
What is known about the Cowboys now is that they have played phenomenal defense in all four of their victories. OSU is allowing barely more than 300 yards and only 12 points per game, ranking 19th overall as a unit in the country.
On offense, running back Chuba Hubbard ... (continued on page 2)