Game of the Week: No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State
Bedlam. Rivalry week. Big 12 Championship. The only three things you will hear in the state of Oklahoma this week. The Bedlam series between No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 11 Oklahoma State will once again have huge implications in not only the Big 12 championship, but also the college football playoffs. Each team will be out of contention for the conference championship with a loss. The extra incentive to win is the last thing these two teams needed however – these schools hate each other.
Oklahoma State is coming off its first loss of the season to the Baylor Bears knocking them out of any playoff contention. One would think this would have a sizeable impact on the mental preparation needed to play the third-ranked team – nope. These young men are dialed in for the Bedlam game Saturday.
Stopping an offense like Oklahoma’s is out of the question, the challenge will be outscoring it. Mason Rudolph has been successful leading the Cowboys as quarterback this season with 21 passing touchdowns thus far. But his 430 yards last week wasn’t enough to stay undefeated. The Cowboys could barely move the ball on the ground at all last week. It will be up to junior running back Chris Carson and a small supporting cast to put the Sooners on their heels before they can let the deep ball fly from the pocket.
On the other side of the ball is a fine tuned machine coming off its biggest win this year against TCU, hurdling it into the postseason final four rankings. The Sooners might not need the extra incentive to win, but it’s definitely there. With a victory over the Cowboys, Oklahoma is almost guaranteed a spot in the CFP. Baker Mayfield and Sterling Sheppard have already hooked up for 10 touchdowns this season. The two top draft prospects will look to put their talents on display Saturday in front of a national audience. Their 237-pound running back Samaje Perine is a stallion that will be ready to run. This kid already has 13 touchdowns piled up and, against a shaky Oklahoma State defense, look for him to add to that number.
Baker Mayfield is front and center in the Heisman conversation right now and he will be under a microscope by professional scouts for every team. After taking a hard hit last week the Sooners were outscored 16-0 in the fourth without him and won only after batting down the go-ahead two point conversion. Bob Stoops will have to manage the play calls accordingly to keep the star out of these collisions he’s endured week after week. Stoops says he expects Baker to play and that although he has instructed Mayfield to avoid contact where he can, he can be pretty stubborn when it comes to winning.
With two top-ranked teams from the same state duking it out, it’s no surprise that ESPN College Gameday will be on campus to add to the media jungle in Stillwater. The game’s hype locked it into a primetime 8 o’clock kickoff Saturday on ABC. Once the game gets underway, however, what we will be left with is two high-powered teams ready for an old fashioned Oklahoma shootout.
Prediction: Oklahoma 41 Oklahoma State 24
Kevin Hudash is a junior marketing major, to contact him you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org