Preview: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

    Oklahoma State (5-6) at Oklahoma (8-3) Dec. 6, 3:30, FOX Sports 1 Here’s The Deal: There are plenty of big things happening in the Big 12 that matter both

    December 4, 2014

    Oklahoma State (5-6) at Oklahoma (8-3) Dec. 6, 3:30, FOX Sports 1 

    Here’s The Deal: There are plenty of big things happening in the Big 12 that matter both for the conference championship and the College Football Playoff picture, and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have nothing to do with either one. It seems strange considering how much the two have factored into fun year after year, but this time around it’s simple a big rivalry game. 

    This will matter for Oklahoma State, needing the win to get bowling, while a loss for Oklahoma would be absolutely disastrous. 

    The Sooners were expected to hover around the playoff picture all season long, but tight losses to TCU and Kansas State all but ended that, and the emphatic 48-14 win by Baylor relegated the season to also-ran status. The Sooners haven’t have problems with anyone else but Texas – with seven of its eight wins by double digits – but it’s been an uneven season with the passing game never really finding a groove and the defense a massive disappointment against the pass. Even so, with a win this week and a bowl victory, it’ll be the program’s fifth straight ten-win season and eighth in the last nine. 

    A loss for Oklahoma State would make this the worst season by far since going 4-7 in 2005, but it’s a program in transition after a terrific 2013. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but a loss would finish off a horrible second half of the season and a big-time collapse. At 5-1 with only a loss to Florida State, the Cowboys were looking like they were building to something, but it was a mirage with the wins coming against the weak and the sad on the slate. They haven’t been close since, getting blown out by TCU, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Baylor, but none of it will matter if they can get a Bedlam win. 

    Why Oklahoma State Might Win: Will Oklahoma bring the passing game? Sterling Shepard is fighting through a groin injury, tight end Blake Bell is playing with a knee problem, and quarterback Trevor Knight is out with a neck/head injury, but he could be okay for the bowl game. The Oklahoma State pass rush hasn’t been anything special, and the defense hasn’t come up with enough key stops, but it can turn it loose on an OU passing game that came up with just 39 yards against Kansas. Of course, there was no need to throw the ball much with Samaje Perine taking off for 427 yards and five scores, but 3-of-13 passing for 39 yards is a problem. The Cowboy run defense hasn’t been too much of a problem, and now it’s going to load up against Mr. Perine. 

    Why Oklahoma Might Win: The Cowboy running game isn’t going to go anywhere. It’s been mediocre all season long – only hitting the 200-yard mark against SW Missouri State – and has just three rushing touchdowns in the five-game losing streak. OSU should be able to throw the ball a bit against the shaky Sooner secondary, but there will be mistakes. Miserable in turnover margin, OSU is -8 on the year and hasn’t been on the positive side in the last seven games, and while it was even against Baylor two weeks ago, it was -10 over the previous six games. The Cowboys have to be +2 – at least – to win this. 

    Who To Watch Out For: Samaje Perine ran five times for 21 yards against Baylor in the 48-14 blowout loss. He followed it up with a tremendous day against Texas Tech, running 25 times for 213 yards and three scores in the win, showing the promise and potential to become the next great OU back as part of a strong freshman season. And then came the Kansas game and record book immortality with his 427 yards and five touchdowns, meaning he has rushed for 640 yards and eight scores in the last two games – 61 more than Oklahoma State’s leading rusher, Desmond Roland. 

    What’s Going To Happen: Oklahoma State is far more desperate, needing to win to extend its season, but Oklahoma has had a few weeks to give Cody Thomas more of a chance to get first team reps and be a bit more prepared. More importantly, Perine has had some cold tub time and should be fresh and fine to carry the attack. 

    Prediction: Oklahoma 38 … Oklahoma State 20 
    Line: Oklahoma -20 o/u: 60 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: The Interview – 1: CMA Country Christmas … 3

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