The Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys have college football games this weekend that are about as opposite as two games could be.
The Sooners embark on a long flight to Oregon to play the nationally ranked Ducks in Eugene while the Cowboys stay in Stillwater to host former OU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s impotent Florida Atlantic University from the football Mecca of Boca Raton, Florida. (I see rich people.)
The Ducks are favored by 4 the last time I checked and some pundits feel that Oregon has the ability to blow out OU by double digits. Many scribes are inclined to speculate that OU’s defense is tremendously overrated and that if a defense can stop Adrian Peterson that Paul Thompson cannot lead a one dimensional Sooner offense to a tough road victory. Oregon is looking at this game as a “retribution” game or, as we say in the ‘rasslin biz, “a grudge match”. The Sooners seems to be approaching this contest in a business-like fashion knowing that they have to improve in several areas to leave Autzen Stadium Saturday on ABC with a “surprising win” according to the national media.
I look for the Sooners to open up their offense and do all they can to encourage Oregon to not stack the box with 8-9 players hovering around the line of scrimmage. Oregon has to man up in the secondary which one would think would create some opportunities for QB Paul Thompson and a slew of excellent wide receivers including Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias, and the returning Manuel Johnson. Getting AD running down hill is another key to victory. Big # 28 gets better as the game wears on which can be disheartening to the opposition. Both these potential, positive offensive matters start with one common denominator, the offensive line. If OU has an overabundance of false starts, etc Saturday the Sooners are in big trouble. Plus the young O-Line must play physical and be willing to hit the right Duck in the mouth more often than not. The Sooners running some misdirection this week away from an AD face might prove invaluable at the right time.
Defensively the Sooners must, I repeat must, tackle well. The defense, if you eliminate the first play of the game against Washington and the long pass on 3rd and 11 that set up a field goal played pretty damn good last week. Much better than against UAB. But tackling is the key against Oregon who returns its entire O-Line virtually in tact. Duck QB Dennis Dixon is an elusive running signal caller who loves to run the option while 240 pound tailback Jonathan Stewart is Oregon’s best young tailback in years and a national 5 star high school recruit. The Sooners front seven will definitely get their manhood tested Saturday in Duckland.
Being an OU loyalist, I am going with the Sooners by a field goal or less. Coach Bob Stoops has not played all his cards yet but Saturday might be the time to go “All In” with a couple of new wrinkles.
OSU gets another dressed up scrimmage against Florida Atlantic and can make spending another two days in the State of Oklahoma miserable for 72 year old coaching legend Howard Schnellenberger. Coach Mike Gundy’s young Cowpokes are 2-0 and favored by 4 touchdowns and should cover that easily.
I like QB Bobby Reid who is still young and improving but ever so talented and is surrounded with some outstanding young players including perhaps the best freshman in the Big 12 in Perrish Cox. OSU started sluggishly last week in Little Rock against Arkansas State but I don’t see that happening this Saturday in T. Boone Pickens (Mr. ATM) Stadium. I hope the Cowboy faithful sell out the place and begin to support the program with the passion many display on talk radio. There is no reason the stadium in Stillwater should not be packed this Saturday. Perhaps some one should check Schnelly’s flask.
North Texas visits Tulsa and the Mean Green are still shell-shocked from their opening day loss to Texas. Tulsa is well coached and has some excellent Oklahoma high school talent representing the Golden Hurricane so I am going with TU to cover the spread of 19 after last week’s disappointing loss to BYU.
If Miami loses this week to Louisville, the classy, Oklahoma native Larry Coker and Hurricane head man may be as good as gone in the eyes of the “U” faithful. That’s too damn bad because Coker is an excellent coach but he did sign a 5 year extension a year ago so he can come back to Oklahoma and live the good life he deserves if he so chooses.
ESPN commentator and former Ohio State QB Kirk Herbstreit thinks AD can’t win the Heisman. That’s “brilliant” Herby especially in the second week of the season. Why don’t you just spend a little more time spiking your highlighted, blonde hair and let the season play out? Of course Herbstreit would love for one of his homeboys from Ohio State to win the Heisman Trophy but the national media, especially back East, has virtually anointed Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn as this year’s winner. There is obvious a bias against AD that he will have to overcome just like his freshman year when Peterson was the best player in the nation and did not win the Heisman simply because he was an 18 year old freshman.
Who would have thought a few years ago how big this Saturday’s Texas Tech-TCU game would be? These two teams have to rank as 2-3 in the state of Texas behind the Horns. TCU better have the edge big time in ball control because the mad professor, Mike Leach’s offense is going to put points on the board. TCU has a 12 game winning streak, holy Bob Lilly, which includes beating OU in Norman last year on the opening weekend.
OK, I am a little bitter but I find myself having a hard time pulling for Nebraska this week versus USC in Southern California but I will, reluctantly. I love the Husker tradition, Tom Osborne, the Husker fans, the legend of Bob Devaney but I can’t stomach Nebraska head honcho Bill Callahan. Nonetheless, I will support the Big 12 and root for the Huskers to pull off a HUGE upset in La-La Land. But it won’t happen. If Nebraska can keep it under 14 the boys from Lincoln and their arrogant coach should consider it a moral victory if indeed Callahan has any.
Bottom line this is a helluva weekend to be a college football fan! Enjoy it.