NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma

His name is Davis Beville. You don't remember him because why should you?

Oklahoma's redshirt senior quarterback has appeared in 15 games. The Pittsburgh transfer has thrown 62 career passes; 12 of them came last year against Texas in the Red River Rivalry.

Excuse the kid for being the answer to a trivia question. Beville had to play against the Longhorns in 2022 because starter Dillon Gabriel suffered a concussion. The outcome was predictable. Using Beville and a conga line of players in the Wildcat, Oklahoma lost 49-0.

OU only lost, it was humiliated -- a far more accurate description. Texas scored the most points in the series, which goes back to 1900. It was Oklahoma's worst shutout loss -- ever -- in the midst of its first losing season since 1998.

All will be forgiven if Brent Venables, in his second season as OU's coach, beats UT in Saturday's epic renewal of a rivalry played in the middle of the Texas State Fair. His turnaround isn't quite on a par with Colorado, but it's fair to say, if Venables hadn't shown significant progress to date in Year 2, there would be repercussions.

There still might be if the Sooners don't beat the 'Horns.

From this veteran view of the Red River Rivalry, OU should win. Gabriel is playing. In some sort of cosmic symmetry, Beville is not available. This time, he's out with an injury. More importantly, Oklahoma is the only team in the country averaging at least 47 points offensively and giving up less than 11 defensively.

In a year of asking a similar question, let's provide the easy answer: The Sooners are back, too. Let the revenge motive flow like wine.

"I don't coach for cheers and lights and clicks," Venables said. "When things go bad, I'm not affected that way, either. How I'm affected is when we're not putting a good product on the field."

Welcome to the SEC Game of the Week. Well, almost. Less than a year from joining the SEC, these two programs will have their football chops on display for their new conference.

It has already been determined the two giants will produce juicy "inventory.". Besides Red River, think of these monster matchups: Texas-Texas A&M, Texas-Georgia, Texas-Florida, Oklahoma-Alabama, Oklahoma-LSU, Oklahoma-Auburn.

It should be no surprise that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey will be attendance Saturday, while Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark will not. (Yorkmark has seen both teams twice already, so don't go nuts.)

This is not to ignore No. 3 Texas. The Horns have as much talent -- or more -- than the 2005 national championship team. They are the designated darling (-5.5) in this 119th meeting with the No. 13 Sooners.

That's another way of saying Red River is a year-to-year proposition. Just when you think you've got this rivalry nailed down, here comes another deep-fried cheesy crab tater in your face. (That's an actual culinary offering at the Texas State Fair that surrounds the Cotton Bowl.)

This is Venables' 15th Red River game as an assistant or head coach. (He is 8-6 overall.) Oklahoma has won four of the last five meetings, 10 of the last 14 and 16 of the last 24. It wasn't too long ago that Bob Stoops owned Mack Brown.

A healthy Gabriel is having the best season of his career. That alone might be the difference. The UCF transfer is one of six FBS players since the 1996 to complete 75% of his passes in his first five games while also throwing for at least 15 touchdowns and two or fewer interceptions.

A healthy Venables is a factor, too. His standing after a 6-7 debut among OU fans was shaky. Modern college football demands quick turnarounds with no excuses. Oklahoma has started 5-0 while looking like a Big 12 version of Michigan. The Sooners haven't played much of anybody, but they've been consistent against the opponents they've faced. And isn't that what we want out of our contenders?

"Usually, you say the momentum [after] a year ago shouldn't have anything to do with this year," Venables said. "We have a much different team. Many of the players in the locker room weren't here."

Approximately 50 Sooners will be new to Red River.

Will revenge matter?

"Don't let the emotion hijack you," Venables said.

Week 6 deep dive

Red River overflow: The implications for Red River cannot be downplayed. The SEC -- and the world -- will be watching to see how the programs match up before entering the Strength Everywhere Conference. The defenses can certainly play (so far). Texas linebacker Jaylan Ford -- the Big 12's preseason defensive player of the year -- leads the team in tackles. Oklahoma LB Danny Stutsman leads the Big 12 in tackles (9.8 per game). OU has given up five touchdowns all season, while UT has allowed just six. Saturday's winner will keep their College Football Playoff hopes realistic. The loser will need help considering the depth of contenders from the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

Texas and Oklahoma both meet undefeated for the first time since 2011. Texas is 5-0 for the first time since it last won the Big 12 in 2009. Against Kansas last week, for only the second time, Texas had a 300-yard passer (Quinn Ewers), 200-yard rusher (Brooks) and a 100-yard receiver (Adonai Mitchell).

Meanwhile, down Highway 45: No. 11 Alabama's chances at Texas A&M might be distilled to this mismatch: The Aggies are No. 1 in sack rate (14.8% of dropbacks). Alabama is second-worst nationally at protecting the quarterback (sacks on 15.6% of dropbacks). Nick Saban seems to have found a groove developing Jalen Milroe as a runner and not putting the game on his arm. He'd better not. Alabama has given up at least four sacks in four straight games. Meanwhile, running back Jase McClellan is coming off the most productive two-game stretch of his career in SEC games (168 yards combined against Ole Miss and Mississippi State). Jimbo Fisher could become the first former Saban assistant to beat The Master twice.

Wildcatting: Don't put No. 20 Kentucky's chances against No. 1 Georgia on transfer QB Devin Leary. Last week was his first game without an interception this season. It's fair to say the NC State transfer has been a disappointment since he arrived, but Leary currently is the winningest active FBS quarterback since 2020 (22-4, min. 20 games).

As for Georgia, tight end Brock Bowers looks more and more like Travis Kelce every day. The Bulldogs are deficient at rushing the passer and running the ball, but Carson Beck finding Bowers to bail out the Dawgs against Auburn may be Georgia's signature move this season. Hey, it works for Patrick Mahomes.

Schizo LSU: Is there any more unbalanced team than No. 23 LSU? The Tigers have potential All-SEC players at QB (Jayden Daniels), WR (Malik Nabors) and LB (Harold Perkins, a 2022 freshman All-American). The Tigers lead the FBS hitting the over in nine straight games. Yet a leaky defense may kill them at No. 21 Missouri. The Tigers are 117th in total defense after giving up 55 points at Ole Miss.

All in the family: Call me crazy, but there is something interesting about Maryland at No. 4 Ohio State. The last unranked team to win at The Shoe was Virginia Tech in 2014. That loss was the only one OSU suffered in its last national championship season. Maryland has never beaten the Buckeyes, but Taulia Tagovailoa gives the Terrapins a chance. For those who still aren't convinced by Kyle McCord, Tagovailoa had six total touchdowns last week against Indiana. McCord has six all season.

Quick kicks: Michigan players are tied for the national lead in TDs rushing (Blake Corum, nine) and receiving (Roman Wilson, eight) … the last Oklahoma quarterback to beat Texas was Caleb Williams … only four undefeated teams have covered the spread in each game: Oklahoma, No. 6 Oregon, No. 8 Penn State and Liberty … No. 10 Notre Dame (at No. 25 Louisville) has won 30 straight regular-season ACC games, including covering the last 10 … ND's Sam Hartman (14) has the most touchdown passes without an interception this season … No. 13 Washington State (at UCLA) is seeking its fourth straight road win, something it hasn't done since 2002 … in the last three seasons, only two teams have gone through the first half of the season undefeated: Michigan and Georgia