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De-Facto Big 12 Championship Game Preview: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

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They call it the “Bedlam Series” and it’s owned by the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma has won the last eight games in this series and after last year’s 47-41 win they now hold a 82-16-7 advantage in the series. This year looked like it was going to be different. Oklahoma fell to Texas Tech in October and then again to Baylor this month. To add injury to insult, the Sooners have lost a lot of important players for the year. It was all setting up for Mike Gundy and the Cowboys to go undefeated and get a birth in the National Championship Game. Then Iowa State happened. 

Oklahoma State had run rough-shot over the majority of their opponents and had won the tight ones. They were 10-0 going into the Iowa State game and they jumped out to a 24-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter. But it wasn’t to be as Iowa State made an improbable comeback and then won the game in the second overtime period. Oklahoma State has had two weeks to think about the loss and to prepare for Oklahoma. Has it been long enough to cure their Cyclone hangover?

We took a quick look at some statistical data comparing how these teams performed against their 9 common opponents.

Common Opp Oklahoma Okie State Advantage
Scoring Offense 43.1 50 OSU
Scoring Defense 23.3 28 OU
Scoring Margin 19.8 22 OSU
Total Offense 562.4 547.6 OU
Total Defense 404.7 470.1 OU
TO Margin -0.22 1.88 OSU
3rd Down Off 44.70% 50.30% OSU
3rd Down Def 29.6&% 42.10% OU

The stats show a split right down the middle with a couple of concerns on both sides. The biggest thing that sticks out for Oklahoma is their turnover margin. They’ve actually turned the ball over more times then their defense has turned it over for them (against common opponents, for the year OU is +1). Another concern is that this doesn’t seem to be getting better. Against Baylor, they turned it over 3 times and didn’t get one on the defensive end. They lost that game. Against Iowa State, both teams turned it over 4 times. The concern on Oklahoma State’s side is their 3rd down defense. They are giving up a whopping 42.1% opponent completion rate. For the entire year (including the two games we did not include in our data) they rank 79th in the country in this metric.

Vegas has this game in favor of the Cowboys by 3.5 points. Last years game was a close one as there was only two points separating each team with just two minutes left in the game. Will we see another barn burner this year or will one of these two teams step up and put the other down quickly? On paper, this looks like the most exciting game of the weekend. Will it live up to expectations?

Here’s our predictions:

Jay: I’m rolling with my Crimson brethren from the Great Plains on this one.  Oklahoma by 3 touchdowns, and we’ll not say another word about it.

Kevin: I’ve gone back and forth on this one the last few weeks as I’ve been doing my bowl projections. This past week I put Oklahoma State in the Fiesta and the Sooners in the Cotton. Obviously, that means I was leaning Okie State when I did those projections. My concerns with Oklahoma State is their ability to stop the run and their ability to hold the Sooners on the 3rd down. That being said, I think the Cowboys just have too many weapons right now for the Sooners defense. This is going to be a high scoring game and I think the Cowboys are the ones on top at the end. Pokes 45 Sooners 35.

Pete: Bedlam is played in Stillwater this year, and the Cowpokes have need of a win to punctuate an outstanding season. Landry Jones has lost Dominique Whaley and Ryan Broyles for the season. The Sooners will have their backs against the wall on the road, and Big-Game Bob has a reputation for allowing such games to get away. Oklahoma has pride to play for but the Weeden to Blackmon will get it done, 42-37.

Ross: Was it just a month ago that this game seemed like the other potential national title semifinal game (after the Alabama-LSU “Game of the Century” in early November)?  Yes it was.  But then Oklahoma got bushwhacked at home by a Texas Tech team that failed to win a single game the rest of the season.  And then Oklahoma State got tripped up by Iowa State in Ames in a Friday night shocker.  And then Oklahoma stubbed its toe again, this time against Baylor.  While Oklahoma State retains the tiniest of hopes that a win here could vault them into the national title game, for all intents and purposes the only thing on the line here is in-state bragging rights — and, oh yeah, a Big 12 title and a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.  Which isn’t nothing, you know?  (It’s just not as much as either team hoped to be playing for not too long ago…)  Both teams have suspect defenses and pretty high-powered offenses, so this game could come down to turnovers (which favors Oklahoma State, who’s been one of the best teams in the nation at forcing turnovers) or whoever has the ball last.  Given that the game is in Stillwater and that Oklahoma seems to lose a key player to injury almost every week, I’ll side with the Cowboys here: Brandon Weeden just looks to have more bullets in his gun than Landry Jones right now. THE PICK: Oklahoma State 42, Oklahoma 35

Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, writer for Crystal Ball Run and founder of College Football Zealots

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