Texas-OU both undefeated and in top 5 _ first time since 1984

Tuesday, October 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Texas coach Mack Brown says things are finally back the way they should be.

The Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners are both undefeated and in the top 5 nationally.

``The Texas-OU game is back to a game that has national prominence and means something, and that's good for college football'' Brown said Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference. ``Both schools are back where they ought to be.''

No. 3 Oklahoma (4-0) and No. 5 Texas (4-0) play Saturday, the first time since 1984 that the rivals go head-to-head undefeated and ranked so high.

After embarrassing Texas 63-14 last year, the Sooners beat No. 2 Kansas State and No. 1 Nebraska their next two games and took over the top spot. They went on to win the Big 12 title and the national championship.

Oklahoma has beaten Kansas State two more times, in the Big 12 title game last December and 38-37 last weekend; it has extended its winning streak to 17 games. But coach Bob Stoops knows what the Texas game means.

It's more than just a rivalry.

``Both teams understand and realize the importance of this game, and always have,'' Stoops said. ``This is very important, being in the Big 12 South. This is one of those games that take you a long way in having a chance to win the Big 12 South.''

Since last October's debacle against Oklahoma, the Longhorns have won all 11 of their regular season games. Their only loss was 35-30 to Oregon in the Holiday Bowl.

``Last year's game probably helped our football team more than anything has the last four years,'' Brown said. ``We've been a tougher team. We were really soft in that game and didn't do anything right. It didn't represent the institution like we wanted to or are used to. We have been a pretty good football team since that.''

While Oklahoma had a tough challenge in its Big 12 opener, the Longhorns beat Texas Tech 42-7.

Tech coach Mike Leach, who was Stoops' offensive coordinator at Oklahoma before taking over the Red Raiders after the 1999 season, wouldn't make a prediction for the game involving his former employer and last week's opponent. Then again, he wouldn't know which team to put his money on.

``It will be interesting. I'm kind of curious about it myself,'' Leach said. ``It's hard to say. It's hard for me to really gauge Texas. They are a fine football team, but not as good as we made them look.''

Kansas coach Terry Allen didn't make a prediction either, but said he believes Oklahoma has an edge.

``There is probably an awful lot of redemption involved,'' Allen said. ``But somebody that has won 17 in a row is going to have the mental edge going into battle with what transpired last year.''