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HCS Op-Ed: Why Oklahoma can Run the Table

As rapper Drake so eloquently put it: “Started from the bottom, now we’re here.” Well, for the Oklahoma Sooners, it’s been the opposite. OU started from the top … but now, we’re here. “Here” being 6-2 overall, 3-2 in Conference play, good for 4th place in the Big 12. From a strong start that included National Championship aspirations, to a bit of a rocky downhill tumble, all that’s left to redeem ourselves is four conference games. Although there is strong talent on the team, there have been many moments where the players were not able to execute what they are capable of.

From Baylor this week, to Lubbock the next, to Kansas and finishing with tradition against Oklahoma State: Oklahoma still can make it their 13th 10-win season under Coach Bob Stoops. The real challenge is having all 11 players on both sides of the ball clicking simultaneously.

The Big 12 parity has once again shown the inability to predict the outcome of a season. The teams that start off strong do not always finish strong, and vice versa. College football begins and ends with surprises around the heartland of the country.

Exhibit A: Oklahoma State was six points away from defeating the defending national champions the first week of the season, but have failed to put together such a complete game since. Kansas State was only able to take beat Iowa State by four points, while Oklahoma smoked the Cyclones by forty-five. Go figure.

So where does that leave us for the rest of the season? It leaves us hoping to win-out and have a change at a major bowl game this winter.

Baylor:

Saturday’s Baylor game is a coin toss. The Bears are joining us in Norman Saturday morning for an 11 a.m. kick off. Baylor has a great offensive with quarterback Bryce Petty leading the team to impressive victories, most notably a come-from-behind win against TCU.

Baylor is the best scoring offense, averaging 50 points per game. Oklahoma is currently has the best rushing defense in the Conference, and hopes to slow down and solid rushing attack led by Shock Linwood. As for OU, we are counting on Samaje Perine, Alex Ross and Keith Ford to have a strong rushing game to alleviate some of the pressure off of QB Trevor Knight.

With two teams so close on paper, these games often come down to who has a better day. There are no statistics that can predict this. All we have for right now is Oklahoma being listed as a 3-point favorite.

Texas Tech:

Kliff Kingsbury is certainly having a different season than in 2013 when he started off 7-0. The Red Raiders have only been able to scrap together a 3-6 record so far this season.

Texas Tech has struggled on both offense and defense. Although Oklahoma has had an unpredictable season, the Sooners stand out against Tech in many ways. Quarterback Trevor Knight, combined with wide receiver Sterling Shepard, is an explosive pair when the two are in sync. This bodes well for against a Tech defense that is near the bottom of the Big 12.

Texas Tech has struggled with the quarterback position. Starter Davis Webb has been injured, and Kingsbury has been forced to use three different quarterbacks on the season, most recently, walk-on Vincent Testaverde Jr.

Another layer to this game stems from last year, when then Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield, decided that Lubbock was no longer going to be his home. He decided to transfer to Oklahoma. Mayfield had a great spring game in Norman and completed all his passes. Although Mayfield is not eligible to play for the Sooners this year, he may have changed the Raiders season had he stayed in Lubbock.

The only saving grace for Tech is that the game is being played in Lubbock.

Kansas:

Oklahoma has a 14 game winning streak against Kansas. Coach Stoops has held the Kansas offense to an average of less than 20 points per game during his OU tenure.

The Jayhawks are joining the Sooners in Norman this year, for what hopefully will be a standout performance by Oklahoma.

Kansas is 2-6 and continues to struggle mightily in Conference play. While losing every conference matchup that they have encountered so far this season, Kansas has not been able to deliver hope to their fans.

While the Sooners have not been able to keep their fan base continually happy, their disappointment is not close to that being felt by KU fans. Oklahoma has only lost by an average of two points for the two losses against TCU and Kansas State.

Every Sooner coach, player, and fan are planning to make it 15 straight wins over the Jayhawks.

Oklahoma State:

The tradition stands, as the in-state rivalry of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State rounds out the regular season again this year.

Oklahoma State began the season with a really impressive performance against the defending National Champs. Florida State and the Cowboys met during the first weekend of the season and resulted in a Seminoles hard fought six point win. Despite the loss, it gave many Cowboys fans optimism for 2014.

As the first few weeks passed by, the Cowboys were able to launch themselves into the top-15 of the AP Poll. But, they have since lost three straight, all by double digits.

If the team that showed up to the Florida State game comes to Norman, anything is possible in a rivalry matchup. But if the team that allowed Kansas and Iowa State to put 20 points on them arrives in Norman, and has since lost three straight by an average of 30 points per game, it could be a great regular season ending game for the Sooners. That is, of course, if Oklahoma can keep their momentum through the rest of the season.

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