The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off a high, having defeated Kansas State on the road on Nov. 23 at a point in time when few pundits expected them to do well. Now, Oklahoma faces a much bigger challenge: going on the road to face Oklahoma State, a member of the top 10 of the national rankings. The Cowboys can wrap up their second Big 12 championship in three seasons, sending them to the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. This game, known as “Bedlam,” could be just that on a late Saturday morning in Stillwater, Okla.
Oklahoma Sooners @ Oklahoma State Cowboys
Saturday, December 7th
NCAA Football Odds: Oklahoma State -9.5
Why Oklahoma Can Cover The Spread:
Their offense has found the right mixture of players, with the right quarterback under center. Trevor Knight needed two and a half months to develop to the point that the Oklahoma coaching staff felt comfortable trusting him with the Sooners’ offense, in place of veteran quarterback Blake Bell. Yet, Knight – when given his big chance to shine against Kansas State – was excellent. He’s a much faster runner than Bell, and he was able to make plays with his legs, scrambling for first downs on third and five to move the chains while also keeping Kansas State’s linebackers worried about defending him. Because Kansas State’s linebackers were concerned with Knight, Oklahoma was able to mix in power runs between the tackles and an assortment of intermediate passes. Knight found a comfort zone and remained in it for the balance of the game. He overcame a rough first quarter to lead one of Oklahoma’s better offensive performances of the whole season. If this version of the Oklahoma offense can show up for 60 minutes, or even 45, against Oklahoma State, the Sooners’ defense will only have to make a few handfuls of plays – not dozens – in order to win. Oklahoma’s best offensive performance could create a game in which the Sooners’ defense would just have to play well in the red zone, limiting Oklahoma State to a number of field goals. Oklahoma could win this game with a score of 35-30 or something in that range and cover the spread.
Why Oklahoma State Can Cover The Spread:
They are the much better team. Oklahoma State stumbled against West Virginia earlier this season, in one of the most confusing and aberrational events from the past three months. Yet, after that setback, the Cowboys have fixed themselves. They have addressed their problems on offense. Quarterback Clint Chelf has been legitimately brilliant in the month of November, as both a passer and a runner. Knight might be an improving quarterback for Oklahoma, but Chelf is the hottest quarterback in the Big 12 right now. Playing at home, Chelf is in a position to do well, much as he did against Baylor two weeks ago. It would be really hard to expect Oklahoma to overcome Oklahoma State at the moment.
This game could easily be close. Rivalry games have a way of being close. Yet, Oklahoma State has been a more explosive and consistent team this season. Bet the Cowboys as they deserve to be seen as a heavy favorite.
Pick: Oklahoma State -9.5