No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) at Kansas Jayhawks (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS), Saturday October 15th, 2011. 9:15PM EST, College Football Week 7
Memorial Stadium Lawrence, KS
By Jay Horne, NCAA Football Handicapper of Predictem.com
Point Spread: OKL -35/KU +35
Over/Under Total: OFF
The no. 3 Oklahoma Sooners proved they are legitimate National Championship contenders last week by destroying the Texas Longhorns 55-17 in one of the most lopsided Red River Rivalry games in history. Oklahoma now looks to keep the momentum alive as they travel on the road this Saturday night to battle the Kansas Jayhawks in a Big 12 showdown. Kansas is a team that has struggled significantly through the opening weeks of the season and was completely destroyed by Oklahoma State last week 70-28. This week Kansas will be huge 35 point underdogs when they welcome the Sooners to Lawrence, Kansas.
For the Jayhawks, they will be attempting to slay “Goliath” or pull off an Appalachian State type upset this Saturday. Unfortunately, the Jayhawks have not shown any type of sign they could pull off such a feat with their play this season. The Kansas defense has just been horrific ranking dead last in scoring giving up nearly 50 points per game and also ranking dead last overall allowing 556 total yards per game. In last week’s loss, the Jayhawks defense gave up nearly 500 yards passing to Oklahoma State in one of their worst performances of the season. That does not bode well for a team going against an offense that could possibly be even better this Saturday.
On the offensive side of the football, Kansas has been successful at times. The Jayhawks have averaged 34 points per game and found some stability with a solid running game. Sophomore running back James Simms leads the offense with 380 yards on the ground along with 5 touchdowns. The Jayhawks offense has also had decent quarterback play from Jordan Webb. Webb has completed 67% passing on the season for 1,130 yards with 11 touchdowns and 5 picks. Unfortunately Webb has thrown all 5 picks in the last two games and that is something simply has to stop. Let’s face it. The Jayhawks defense is not going to dominate anyone this season so the offense will have to make the most of their chances.
On the other side of the field, the Oklahoma offense has the potential to put up a really big number this Saturday night against that Kansas defense. The Sooners have averaged 45 points per contest on the season and 534 yards of total offense. QB Landry Jones has posted video game type numbers completing 70% passing for 1,814 yards with 13 touchdowns and 5 picks through just 5 games on the year. Outside of the Sooners match-up with Florida State, Jones has not been held to less than 375 yards passing in any other game which is simply incredible.
Of course as well all know the offense is simply loaded with playmakers on the outside. WR Ryan Broyles is one of the best wide outs in America. Broyles has caught 47 passes for 598 yards and 7 touchdowns so far this season. Also, WR Jaz Reynolds is quickly emerging as a big play machine as well. Despite missing the first two games, Reynolds is averaging over 100 yards receiving per game and has two touchdown catches through 3 games. If Reynolds continues to play well the Oklahoma offense will be even more dangerous, if that’s even possible, as it will take some of the attention off Broyles from opposing defenses.
Another guy you may want to keep an eye on this week is running back Dominique Whaley. Despite the well-known dynamic passing attack that is the Oklahoma offense, the Sooners can move the ball well on the ground with Whaley as well. So far this season, Whaley has racked up 464 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. Kansas has struggled tremendously against the run against some rather average rushing teams. For that reason, I believe Whaley will have to opportunity to run wild this Saturday night.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: There is little doubt that there will be a lot of points scored in this game. However, 35 points is a lot to cover. If not for 4 turnovers last week, the Jayhawks would have hung much closer with Oklahoma State. Then you have Oklahoma coming off a blowout rivalry game in possibly a letdown situation. With those factors coinciding, I like the Jayhawks to cover. Take Kansas +35.
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