Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Cowboys and Sooners.
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State Game Preview
When: Saturday, December 3 – 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
The Big 12 has officially agreed to add a conference championship game to the schedule beginning in 2017. Unofficially, the league will host a winner-take-all title tilt this Saturday in Norman.
For the second straight year, Bedlam will decide the Big 12 champ, though this did not appear to be a likely scenario way back at the end of the opening month. On Sept. 24, Oklahoma was 1-2, reeling from a Week 3 trucking at the hands of Ohio State. Oklahoma State had suffered two losses as well, a controversial one to Central Michigan and an 11-point loss at Baylor. However, neither team lost in October or November, riding prolific offenses to offset suspect defenses. And if there’s, well, bedlam at the top of the rankings, Saturday’s victor might have a longshot chance to sneak through the back door and into a No. 4 playoff seed.
What To Know About Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy is showing once again why he’s among the most underrated coaches in America. Instead of tanking after being robbed by officials in the Chippewa game, the Cowboys have successfully hoisted themselves up by the bootstraps. The defense, led by defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and free safety Jordan Sterns, is finally making progress, and the special teams unit is an asset. But Oklahoma State goes as far as the passing game will take it. Without much hype, Mason Rudolph is having a breakout year, throwing 25 touchdown passes and only four picks. It has helped to be surrounded by a terrific supporting cast, namely receivers James Washington and Jalen McCleskey and backs Justice Hill and Chris Carson. The Pokes are coming off arguably their best game of 2016, outclassing TCU in Fort Worth, 31-6.
What to Know About Oklahoma
Talent was not the problem for the Sooners. It rarely is under Bob Stoops. Execution was the issue in the Houston and Ohio State losses, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The D was slow to regroup from the departures of some of last year’s key parts. Like the Cowboys, though, the unit is improving, holding the Baylor and West Virginia quarterbacks to below a 50% completion rate the last two weeks. Still, the driving force of the eight-game winning streak has been a diverse and explosive offense averaging more than 45 points per game. Baker Mayfield has been on a Heisman-esque tear for two months, teaming up with Dede Westbrook to form college football’s most lethal pitch-and-catch combo. But it’s the balance, courtesy of dynamite backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, that has made it borderline impossible to stop the OU attack during this run.
Offense: Oklahoma. While the passing games are similar in their productivity and potential, the Sooners are deeper out of the backfield and a small notch above the Cowboys at the point of attack.
Defense: Push. Both teams improved against the pass in October and November, which is particularly important in this matchup. However, West Virginia gashed the Sooners for more than 10 yards a carry last week, so the Cowboys might want to increase the workload for Hill and Carson.
Special Teams: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys enjoy a hidden advantage on most opponents, thanks to the capable legs of punter Zach Sinor and placekicker Ben Grogan.
Coaching: Oklahoma. Stoops by a razor-thin margin over Gundy, plus Sooner offensive whiz Lincoln Riley is the best of the game’s four coordinators.
Intangibles: Oklahoma. The Sooners hold two key intangible edges—they’re home and they remember how easily they handled the Cowboys last year in Stillwater, 58-23.
Matchups To Watch
Westbrook vs. Oklahoma State CBs Ashton Lampkin and Ramon Richards
Without any warning, Westbrook has erupted into one of the game’s two best receivers along with Western Michigan’s Corey Davis. He has polished ball skills to go along with the ability to take the top off the secondary, opening up the field for the backs and underneath receivers, like Mark Andrews. It’s been an up-and-down year for Lampkin and Richards, who can alter the identity of the Sooner offense by keeping Westbrook in check.
Washington vs. Oklahoma CBs Jordan Thomas and Jordan Parker
Thomas and Parker, a true freshman, are facing the same situation as Lampkin and Richards, trying to solve one of the nation’s top pass-catching weapons. Washington is norming almost 20 yards a reception for his career. Plus, he has more help in the passing game from McCleskey, who’s caught 67 balls. While Parker has a bright future ahead, this is a tough assignment for such a young player, and Rudolph will try to exploit it all afternoon.
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State Betting Odds
Spread: Oklahoma -14.5
Over/Under: No line as of post
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State Prediction
It’s been a great run for the Cowboys, which have the earned the right to play in another New Year’s Six bowl game. But they’ll fall short in their bid to win in Norman against a Sooner team that’s playing so well as the regular season concludes. Mayfield will get the W, even as Rudolph winds up with better overall numbers. The difference will be Perine and Mixon, whose ability to wear down defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and the Oklahoma State front seven will really become evident in the final quarter. A late Cowboy rally will fall short, as Stoops nets his ninth outright league title at OU.
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State Score Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Oklahoma State 33