No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) at No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1 SU, 8-3 ATS), Saturday December 3rd, 2011. 8:00PM EST, College Football Week 14
Boone Pickens Stadium Stillwater, Okl
By Jay Horne, NCAA Football Handicapper of Predictem.com
Point Spread: OU +3/OSU -3
Over/Under Total: OFF
Rivalry week may be over but there is still one huge rivalry left on the plate for this Saturday when the no. 13 Oklahoma Sooners travel to Stillwater to battle the no. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys. While many other major conferences will be hosting Championship Games this Saturday, the Big 12 Championship will be decided in the “Battle of Bedlam” between the Sooners and Cowboys. For Oklahoma State, they still have the opportunity to slide into the National Championship Game if all the right elements come together. Of course the Cowboys would need a sound win over the Sooners this Saturday and would still need some help from the computers for that scenario to play out.
For Oklahoma, there would be no greater thrill than to ruin those hopes for Oklahoma State this weekend. After all the Sooners have owned the Cowboys in this rivalry as they lead the “Bedlam Series” 82-16-7. Anyone care to guess the last time Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma? Try 2002 when Coach Les Miles was making a name for himself down in Stillwater. This Saturday the Cowboys will attempt to capture another monumental milestone victory over the Sooners and take down their first Big 12 Championship in the process.
Of course there will be plenty of fireworks expected this Saturday night as two of the most dynamic passing offenses in all of college football collide. Oklahoma State sports the 2nd best passing attack in college football averaging 401 yards per game through the air. Oklahoma is next in line with the number 3 passing attack in college football that averages 375 yards per game through the air. The big question is which offense will outshine the other this Saturday?
In terms of explosive playmakers, I think you have to give the very slight edge to Oklahoma State on offense. QB Brandon Weeden has posted Heisman Trophy type numbers this year completing 73% passing for 4,111 yards with 34 touchdowns and 12 picks. WR Justin Blackmon won the Biletnikoff Award last year given to the best receiver in the nation. Blackmon has posted stellar numbers again this season with 103 catches for 1,241 yards and 15 scores. Blackmon is definitely the homerun threat for the offense, but Weeden does an excellent job of spreading the ball around to all of the Oklahoma State receivers as they will find holes in the opposing secondary.
That combination has led Oklahoma St. to scoring the 2nd most points in the nation this season as they average just less than 50 points per game. Furthermore, Oklahoma State has just the high powered passing offense that has really troubled the Oklahoma defense this season. In the only other two games that Oklahoma faced a top 10 passing offense this year, they lost both of those games to Texas Tech and Baylor. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Sooners defense has an answer this Saturday night.
Still even if the defense has troubles slowing down the Cowboys, the Sooners offense has the firepower to go toe to toe with Oklahoma State. QB Landry Jones has put up stellar numbers this year completing 64% passing for 4,052 yards with 28 scores and 12 picks. Over a 1,000 of those receiving yards have been thrown to star receiver Ryan Broyles who was lost for the year with a knee injury over two weeks ago. However, the Sooners have two solid wide outs in Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds who have filled in nicely in Broyles absence.
Both Stills and Reynolds have carried the receiving core in recent weeks. However, Reynolds was held out of last week’s 26-6 win over Iowa State with a shoulder injury. If Reynolds is unable to go again this week, it will be another blow to a Sooners offense who is already crippled with injuries. One thing Oklahoma can do fairly well to offset the injuries in the passing game, is to run the football.
Backup running back Roy Finch has excelled in place of Dominique Whaley who was also lost to injury earlier this year. In the last 5 games, Finch has averaged just less than 90 yards per game on the ground. It would not surprise me if Oklahoma looks to establish the run early and disrupt the pace of the game. If that happens, Finch could become a surprising difference maker in the Bedham Series this Saturday night.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Oklahoma State has been waiting a long time to get a victory over the Sooners and this will be the first time in many years where they actually have more talent on the field. I like the Cowboys at home to cover. Take Ok. St -3
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