TCU (3-3) @ #17 Oklahoma State (4-1)
Oklahoma State has not run the ball well the past two games. They only tallied 85 yards on 25 carries against Kansas State and finished with 111 yards on 40 carries in their loss to West Virginia.
If the Pokes couldn’t run it against K-State or WVU, it stands to reason they’ll struggle against TCU who likely has the best run defense the Cowboys will have seen this season.
If the Cowboys can’t run it, the question then becomes can J.W. Walsh win the game with his arm? You might say yes, I say no.
Even with an anemic offense, TCU finds a way to pull off a big road win that keeps their Big 12 title hopes alive even if those hopes are still on life support. TCU 24 Oklahoma State 21
#18 Oklahoma (5-1) @ Kansas (2-4)
Texas was able to exploit the Sooner run defense - minus Jordan Phillips and Corey Nelson – to the tune of 255 yards. As bad as Kansas had been the last several seasons, one thing they’ve still be able to do is run the football. That is, until this year, when KU’s run game has fallen off the map.
Even so, expect the Jayhawks to try and line up and run it right at Oklahoma just as the Longhorns did. Will they be as successful? Probably not, but they have to try something because the passing game hasn’t been much better.
Should the Sooners be worried about a hangover following last week’s disappointing performance? Maybe, but either way, Oklahoma still wins. Sooners 44 Jayhawks 10.
Iowa State (1-4) @ #12 Baylor (5-0)
If you’re an Iowa State fan, this has to be scary situation. After getting held to “only” 35 points at Kansas State last week, the Bears are back on their home field where they scored 69 points or more in all four games in Floyd-Casey this season.
As good as Baylor has been, I’d expect Paul Rhoads and Wally Burnham to devise a plan that should help keep the Bears in check. The problem is keeping Baylor in check probably means they still score at least 40 points.
Iowa State’s offense will have a better than expected performance against an improved Baylor defense. Sam Richardson will be solid and Aaron Wimberly will continue to do his thing, but it still won’t be enough. Baylor is simply too good for the Cyclones to handle this time around. Baylor 48 Iowa State 21.
To read the preview on Texas Tech's trip to West Virgina, please click on the link.
#15 Texas Tech (6-0) @ West Virginia (3-3)
Texas Tech continues to ride high under new coach Kliff Kingsbury entering Saturday's game against West Virginia with a perfect 6-0 record. The Red Raiders have done it behind the arms of two true freshmen quarterbacks and a revamped defense that is allowing only 17.3 points per game.
While there's no doubt Texas Tech is improved, they've also benefited from a soft schedule through the season's first half. The win over TCU was impressive, but after that the Red Raiders have played arguably the two weakest teams in the Big 12 and a nonconference schedule consisting of SMU, Stephen F. Austin, and Texas State.
Now we finally get to find out just how good this Texas Tech team is as the schedule gets much tougher over the second half of the season. The trip to Morgantown on Saturday precedes a trip to Norman next week. Both games should provide a much better gauge as to just how high the ceiling is for Kingsbury's first team as a head coach.
On the West Virginia side of things, the Mountaineers are coming off their first bye week of the season. The timing couldn’t have been better following the shellacking they received in Waco two weeks ago. It also gave quarterbacks Clint Trickett and Ford Childress another week to get healthy as both have been banged up during the early part of the season.
That leads us to the biggest question heading into Saturday's contest; who's going to start at quarterback for either team. Baker Mayfield returned to practice this week after missing last week's game against Iowa State. Whether or not he's healthy enough to play remains to be seen. If he can't go, the likely starter would be Davis Webb who led the Red Raiders to 42 points against Iowa State completing 35 of his 56 pass attempts for 415 yards and three touchdowns in his most extensive action of the season.
For the Mountaineers, Trickett figures to be the guy, once again, although he's been nursing a shoulder injury making his status a bit foggy at the moment. If Trickett can’t go, Paul Millard will likely get his first playing time since starting the first two games of the season assuming, of course, Thursday's report that Ford Childress is out for the season is accurate.
West Virginia, Keys to Victory:
1. How about a pass rush? It's no secret that Texas Tech is going to throw the ball around. Take out the Baylor game and WVU’s secondary hasn’t been bad against the pass. They will, however, need some help from the front seven to pull off their second straight home upset. The Mountaineers have registered only nine sacks on the season and if they can add three, four, or five to that number on Saturday, it would pay big dividends.
2. Stop the run. The Red Raiders aren't the type of team that is going to line up and run it down your throat, but they will try and keep you honest with the ground game. One big reason the Mountaineers beat Oklahoma State is because they held the Cowboys to 2.8 yards per carry (40 carries, 111 yards). If they can have similar success against Tech on Saturday, defending the pass becomes that much easier.
Texas Tech, Keys to Victory:
1. Get out of the gate quick. West Virginia is coming off a disastrous performance against Baylor, but they'll be a team playing with much more confidence on their home field. Dana Holgorsen talked about how much a factor the crowd was following the OSU game and Tech can ill-afford to start out slow allowing the crowd to get revved up. The Cowboys were behind at the end of every quarter in Morgantown and could never make up the difference.
2. Charles Sims. Clint Trickett has been sporadic since taking over the QB job. Whether he or Paul Millard is taking the snaps, they won't be able to beat Tech by themselves. The more the ball is in Charles Sims' hands Saturday, the better for West Virginia. Give him 25 carries and throw him 15 passes; whatever it takes. If Sims isn't a big factor on Saturday, West Virginia has no one to blame but themselves for another loss.
Things are usually not as good, nor bad, as they seem in the present. So is the case of West Virginia football at the moment. Maryland 37 West Virginia 0? Baylor 56 West Virginia 14 – at halftime? The Mountaineers might not be great, but they’re not that bad, either. Just as they might not be as good as they were in beating Oklahoma State.
Texas Tech on the other hand, really hasn’t looked “bad” all season. Does that mean then, they’re really good? Maybe or maybe we simply don’t know yet.
This will be Texas Tech’s toughest game of the season. West Virginia is coming off a bye week following an embarrassing showing against Baylor but they're back on their home turf. Count on them playing like a team that has something to prove. They did it following the Maryland loss, and I’d expect it to happen again on Saturday.
So how will Texas Tech respond? I’m guessing not very well. West Virginia’s defense will come up with a couple turnovers and the special teams will do their part (how about a punt block) providing the difference. The Mountaineers pull off another upset making the race in the Big 12 even more interesting West Virginia 34 Texas Tech 27.
For those of you who like to do a lof of forward thinking regarding your travel plans, Wednesday was a good day for you. The Big Ten released its conference schedules for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Here's what things will look like for the Huskers five years from now.
If the usual suspects are stil the top teams in the conference, then 2018's schedule is going to be brutal. Games at Michigan, at Northwestern, at Wisconsin, and at Ohio State? Man, I think I'm reading that right. Who agreed to this? Of course by then, Tommy Armstrong will be a second year NFL vet so I guess we all have penty of time to let that road schedule sink in.
On the flip side, playing all the Big Ten heavyweights on the road means the home schedule in Lincoln is absolutely abysmal. There is still one nonconference game to be announced, but based on the rest of the season, [insert FCS opponent here] will likely be coming to town for a pay day.
Looking at that home slate, I'm sure the University will reduce the cost of season tickets in 2018 as a result (That was supposed to be funny).
Heading forward one more year, things look a little more favorable in 2019, depending on your point of view.
Michigan falls off the schedule, again, plus Ohio State and Wisconsin have to make the trip to Lincoln. The road schedule is a night and day difference in 2019. Based on how team's stand today, at Maryland might actually be the toughest road game that season. Or maybe Minnesota will be playing for national titles by then. Who knows.
After not playing Ohio State for three straight seasons ('13 '14, '15), the Buckeyes will be on the schedule for four straight seasons ('16, '17, '18, '19).
After playing Michigan this season, Nebraska will meet the Wolverines only once (2018) over the next six seasons. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. It makes the schedule a bit more manageable, but it's always fun playing the big dogs.
Iowa remains the end of season opponent which should prove to be a good thing.
All in all, some good with some bad which about what you should expect. When it comes to scheduling, somebody is always going to end up with the short end of the stick. Nebraska looks to be getting hosed in 2018, but maybe that is pay back for this year's schedule. In the end, it generally seems to even out.
Thanks for taking a second to stop by, now back to enjoying your bye week.
Iowa State may be sitting on a 1-4 record including a loss to FCS member Northern Iowa, but that doesn't mean Baylor is already chalking up Saturday's contest in the win column.
If the Bears are feeling a bit overconfident (Baylor is currently a 33.5 point favorite) all they need to do is pop in a tape of last season's game in Ames. Last year the Cyclones offense put up 557 total yards against a struggling Baylor defense including 381 through the air.
"It motivates me a lot because that was one of the worst games I played last year," Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon said on Monday. "Last year, when we went up to Ames we didn't do a good job in the secondary. But we're going to show them we're not the same secondary as last year."
In that game, Baylor held a 14-7 second quarter lead before giving up 28 straight points. ISU quarterback Steele Jantz tossed five touchdown passes accounting for all of the Cyclones' points.
Doesn't that seem like eons ago? Following the loss to Iowa State, Baylor reeled off five wins in their final six games and are currently carrying a nine game winning streak into this year's game.
Iowa State has taken notice and make no mistake, this isn't last year's Baylor. The offense might be even better and the defense has started right where it finished last season.
"You sit down and watch Baylor wide receivers and it's actually scary, the speed and athletic ability those kids have got and the way the quarterback puts it out there is amazing," ISU defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said.
Iowa State can take some solace in the fact that last week Kansas State did about as good a job of slowing down Baylor as can be expected. Even as good a job as K-State did, they still allowed touchdown passes of 93, 72, and 54 yards.
But that was in Manhattan and was Baylor's first road game of the season. Saturday, Baylor will be back on their home field where they've scored 69 points or more in each of their first four games.
Even so, Art Briles knows better than to take Iowa State lightly. Paul Rhoads and company have wrecked more than a few seasons during his five years in Ames.
“Any time you get into conference play anything can happen because you have a history with each other,” Briles said. “We’re playing people we’ve played against a long time. We know a lot of their players and we know their schemes. The last two times we’ve played them we’re 1-2. They’re a good football team and a tough football team.”
This weekend Iowa State will be trying to resurrect a season already filled with heartbreaking losses. Baylor, on the other hand, will be trying to continue their march to their first ever Big 12 title and even more if they get there.
Saturday's game will be the only Big 12 game in the evening time slot kicking off at 6:00 (CDT) and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Baylor wide receiver, Corey Coleman, was suspended by the Big 12 on Monday for targeting after the fact. The play wasn't called during the game but that won't save Coleman from having to sit out the first half of next week's game.
"As a result of our review and conclusion that Targeting should have been called, Mr. Coleman will be suspended for the first half of Baylor's next game against Iowa State under Rule 9.1.4 of the NCAA Rules Book," announced commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
What do you think? I'd say it's a stretch at best. (Imaga via @Nick_Pants). The .gif doesn't show the whole play (you can see that in the video at the bottom of the page although the quality isn't the best) but it does do a great job of zooming in on the actual hit.
Here's a breakdown of the targetiing rule from Mike Pereira's blog who is a former NFL referee and rules expert for Fox Sports.
The targeting rule is as follows:
• No player shall target and initiate contact vs. opponent with the crown of his helmet.
• No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent.
He further goes onto explain while breaking down an ejection in Texas A&M's season opener:
When you target an opponent, you attack a defenseless receiver by making contact with your helmet, shoulder or forearm to his head or neck area. It's also a targeting foul if a player initiates contact with the crown of his helmet.
Applying that criteria here, he definitely doesn't initiate contact with the crown of his helmet. That much is clear.
The question then becomes, I think, does he initiate contact in the head of neck area? Too me it looks like a solid shoulder right to the chest, but I think the argument could be made that it can be considered the "neck area".
As for the defenseless part of the rule, I have no idea how Kip Dailey is defensless here. Coleman is coming straight at him. He doesn't come from behind or from the side. He's right in front of him. Does Dailey see him? It doesn't look like it, but is Coleman not supposed to block him because of that?
The rule itself has good intentions. Nobody wants a player to get hurt by getting blatantly targeted by another player. I just don't see that happening here. Coleman was simply making a football play blocking for Tevin Reese. He now has to sit out the first half of Baylor's game with Iowa State this weekend.
In some cases, the penalty fits the crime, but this isn't one of them.
What do you say, agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
UPDATE 10/16/13: Interestinig that I used Mike Pereia's interpretation of targeting as an example as to why this suspension shouldn't have been handed down. Now he's voiced his opinion on the actual play in question. Take a listen.
Following Texas' surprising victory over Oklahoma, the ripples were felt all across the Big 12. There's plenty of season left, but the Longhorns are making a strong case that they are indeed contenders for the conference title.
Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and yes, even Oklahoma will have plenty to say about that proving what we all knew prior to the season; this race is wide open.
Here's how things shake out in the conference following last weekend's games. Oklahoma plummets and the Bears rise to the top.
1. (↑1) Baylor (5-0): For the first time in the four years I've been putting together these Big 12 power polls, your Baylor Bears are at the top. Think about that, Baylor? This is a team following the 2010 season that had an 18-102 record in Big 12 games. Two and a half years later and they just may be the favorite to win the Big 12. Up next: vs. Iowa State
2. (↑1) Texas Tech (6-0): Six games into the season and the Red Raiders perfect record is intact. Hats off to Kliff Kingsbury and his staff who have done it while having to juggle starting quarterbacks. Tech can't afford to take their foot off the gas, however, with a potentially dangerous road trip ahead. Don't think it's dangerous? Just ask Oklahoma State about that. Up next: @ West Virginia.
3. (↑1) Oklahoma State (4-1): The Cowboys are coming off their second by week in four weeks as they gear up for the second half of the season. Oklahoma State hasn't been as dangerous as some thought they might be heading into the season, but the Pokes shouldn't be forgotten in the Big 12 race. The Horned Frogs defense will give the inconsistent OSU offense all they can handle this weekend. Up next: TCU.
4. (↑1) Texas (4-2): Well, look at this? Texas may have used up seven of their nine lives but after knocking off Oklahoma in impressive fashion, the Longhorns are most certainly still alive and kicking. Texas now as an extra week to savor the victory which probably comes at a good time to help avoid any sort of letdown. Texas? Letdown? It seems funny to mention those two words in the same sentence after what we saw earlier in the season. Up next: bye.
5. (↓4) Oklahoma (5-1): It wasn't the result anyone expected heading into the RRR, but don't make the mistake and write off OU just yet. There's a lot of season left and OU has yet to play Texas Tech, Oklahoma State or Baylor. Win those and get some help along the way and the Sooners are anything but out of the Big 12 race. This week OU should get to take out some of their frustrations from last weekend's performance. Up next: @ Kansas.
6. (↑1) Kansas State (2-4): If there is such a thing, Kansas State might be the best 2 win team in the country. They lost close games to Texas and Oklahoma State and made Baylor sweat until the end. Any hopes of repeating as Big 12 champs are officially over, but the Wildcats can still be a dangerous team down the stretch. Up next: bye.
7. (↓1) TCU (3-3): It wasn't a thing of beauty, but it was a win nonetheless. The Horned Frogs turned the ball over five times allowing Kansas to hang around, but the TCU defense still managed to hold KU to under 200 yards. They'll need a much cleaner performance this week if they hope to knock off the Cowboys. Up next: @ Oklahoma State.
8. (-) West Virginia (3-3): Which Mountaineer team will show up when Texas Tech comes to town, the one that beat Oklahoma State or the one that got obliterated in Waco? West Virginia had the week off to lick its wounds following the Baylor loss, not to mention some extra time to get their beat up quarterbacks some rest. Up next: Texas Tech.
9. (-) Iowa State (1-4): The stats say that the Cyclones were dominated by Texas Tech, but somehow, someway, Iowa State found a way to hang around and only lost on the road to an undefeated Texas Tech team by seven. The Iowa State offense was inconsistent all day - that's being kind - and they'll need to play much, much better this week or it could get ugly down in Waco. Up next: @ Baylor.
10. (-) Kansas (2-3): Well, at least Kansas was competitive. The Jayhawks defense keep them in it but the KU offense continued to struggle. I'll say this, if your offense fails to score points (91 points through five games; worst in the Big 12) it's going to a struggle in this league as Kansas knows all too well. Give TCU credit, they have a solid defense, but after what we've seen the past two seasons in Lawrence, you have to wonder exactly where the offense is going to come from over the second half of the season. Up next: Oklahoma.
Tennessee asked Nebraska to move their games scheduled for 2016-17 so that they could play Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Huskers obliged and then re-upped with what looks like an even better matchup.
Nebraska announced on Monday that the Huskers will play Oregon in Lincoln on September 17, 2016 and will play in Eugene the following season on September 9th.
“This is a win-win scenario,” Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst said. “The University of Tennessee asked for scheduling relief, and we were able to add the University of Oregon, a perennial top-25 program, to our non-conference schedule as we roll into the College Football Playoff era. This should be a great series, not only for our football programs, but for the tremendous fans of both schools."
What is there not to like about that? Not much.
Former Nebraska quarterback, Scott Frost, happens to be in his first season as Oregon's offensive coordinator. Who knows whether he'll still be there three years from now, but that certainly adds a bit of intrigue to the game, not that it really needed any.
Also, Nebraska's young freshmen that currently dot the two deep depth chart will be seniors for the first game in 2016. Tommy Armstrong will be a fifth year senior. Terrell Newby, Josh Banderas, Nathan Gerry and the rest will all be seasoned veterans three years from now.
Of course, who knows what the roster will look like by then but games against teams like Oregon certainly allow the mind to wonder a bit.
In order to make room for Oregon, Nebraska moved its previously scheduled game with Wyoming up one week to September 10th.
As for the Tennessee series, the Huskers won't play the Volunteers until 2026-27. Just to give you an idea just how far out that is, the freshmen playing in that game are currently in pre-school or maybe kindergarten. The seniors are likely third graders right now.
The 2016 schedule is now complete with home nonconference games with Fresno State, Wyoming, and Oregon. That is also the first season the Big Ten will play nine conference games.
There is still one slot to fill on the 2017 schedule with two games currently scheduled: home against Northern Illinois and the road game in Eugene.
Baylor got what it should of expected from Kansas State on Saturday. The Wildcats used their ground game to control the clock and a strong defensive effort limited the Bears to just 109 yards rushing on 37 carries.
And it still wasn't enough.
For as good as K-State's defense played against arguably the best offense in the country, a few key breakdowns allowed Baylor to do what they do; score from way out. Bryce Petty hit touchdown throws of 93, 72, and 54 yards giving Baylor just enough offense to win their first road game of the season.
Hey, they weren't all going to be easy.
"Our football team knew how the season has gone. Everything has been fairly simple, and everything has been in our favor playing at home and catching everybody at a good time. We knew that it would a very tough environment today," Art Briles said during his postgame press conference.
It may seem reasonable to lower your expectations on Baylor based on Saturday's performance. Kansas State proved the Bears can indeed be slowed down. The Wildcats laid out a blue print both offensively and defensively for making it happen. Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas - all of whom Baylor has yet to play - have teams that have the potential to do the same.
But you know what? Saturday's game may be the best thing that could have happened to Baylor. They got challenged but still won a game against Kansas State in Manhattan which is something not many teams can say over the past several seasons.
It's tough to get better when everything is going right and if you've watched any of Baylor's first four games, you know everything has gone as well as could be expected and then some. What Baylor can do now is take what went wrong in Saturday's game and get better.
Kansas State did a terrific job of keeping Baylor out of rhythm offensively by taking away the run. As good as Baylor is at throwing the ball, everything is set up by the run. It's keeps teams honest against the pass and sets up their fast paced tempo which causes teams all kinds of problems. Without it, you get what you saw on Saturday.
"A lot of our games are predicated by tempo and how we move it in our run game," Briles said. We were just not able to get into a good rhythm today because they kept us out of it. They played good defense and did a good job. They have played well all year defensively."
What do you think Baylor is going to be working on in practice this week? Run blocking would be my number one guess and you can bet they'll be better for it with a renewed focus. I'd expect them to come out next Saturday and try and smack Iowa State straight in the jaw with their ground game as they try and reestablish what they lost on Saturday.
Offensively, the Wildcats proved that the Baylor defense is still the weakest link in the team even if it remains a unit that is vastly improved over last season. Baylor had trouble slowing Daniel Sams all day who finished with 199 yards rushing with three touchdowns. Even Jake Waters picked up 56 yards and running back John Hubert added another 100 yards on 15 carries.
Kansas State only punted three times in the game and doubled Baylor's time of possession. Granted, that was partly due to a few of Baylor's quick strike scores, but KSU did what they had to do; move the chains and do it consistently.
But before you go getting down on Baylor, keep this is mind. Even in a game when they didn't play particularly well, they still picked up a 10 point road win and racked up 451 yards of offense. It wasn't the 780 they were averaging coming in, but nobody thought that would keep up that pace. Of the other seven Big 12 teams in action on Saturday, only Texas Tech accumulated more yards than did Baylor.
Kansas State may have laid out a blueprint, but that doesn't mean beating Baylor is going to be any easier than it was coming into Saturday.
Does that mean Baylor is going to win them all? Not necessarily, but you can bet by the time they hit the meat of their schedule starting with Oklahoma on November 7th, they'll be a better team than the one we saw on Saturday.
And they'll have Kansas State to thank for it.
It's cold. Your favorite team is ready to take the field. You, on the other hand, are gearing up for the pregame tailgate. Or are you?
According to the latest Discover Fan Loyalty Poll, only 21% of fans polled would never cancel their tailgate based on the temperature outside. Kudos to those diehard fans. After all, this is football we're talking about, not some party on the beach.
So what about everyone else? Apparently the those polled aren't exactly big fans of cold weather. Thirty-one percent of the respondents indicated they would cancel their tailgate if the temperature hovered between zero and 32 degrees. Another 23% indicated they would bypass the pregame fun if the temperature fell between 33 and 40 degrees. Hmmm, 40 degrees? Isn't that just sweatshirt weather?
And for those eight percent of respondents that indicated they'd cancel the party if the temp was between 41 and 50, well, no comment.
Digging a little deeper into the numbers, surprisingly the Pac-12 had the highest number or responses, 28%, indicating they would never cancel their tailgate based on the temperature. Hey Big Ten fans, what is up with that?
And hats off to the women tailgaters out there. They outpaced the men by a tally of 23% to 20% who would never cancel a tailgate no matter the conditions.
So what we've found out, at least when it comes to tailgate parties, is that warm weather is better than cold weather.
But what about who does what at your favorite tailgate?
And here was a staggering response when it comes to the freeloading bunch. Of those that bring nothing but consume everything, 22 percent indicated the bring home more than $200k a year, the highest response rate of any income bracket. Man, what a bunch of cheapskates. How about at least leaving a small monetary donation to the cause? Of course, that would involve actually having to reach into your pocket which may cause some kind of undue stress, I guess.
Each week during the poll, college fans are also asked who they feel is the best team in the country. No surprise here, the fans agree with the college football polls that Alabama is the top team in the country receiving 42% of the vote. Oregon and Ohio State were next in line followed by Florida State and Stanford.
The Discover Fan Loyalty Poll is conducted twice a month by Rasmussen Reports, a nationally recognized leader in polling, who gathers sentiment by phone from 1500 college football fans who follow games at least once per week on television, radio, in person or online.
The Poll leads up to the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. Discover’s commitment to college football includes relationships with ESPN and Notre Dame Football on NBC.
Texas (3-2) vs. Oklahoma (5-0)
Texas has no chance. How bad will Texas lose? Will the game even be close by halftime? Questions like that is all you've heard about the 2013 version of the Red River Rivalry this week.
That's what happens when you lose twice in a row to your biggest rival by scores of 55-17 and 63-21 the last two seasons. Not to mention getting taken behind the woodshed by a good - not great - BYU team earlier this season in a game your defense allowed 550 yards rushing. And then to follow that up with a 21 point loss to Mississippi on your home field and well, you see the current pessimism surrounding the Longhorns.
Can we expect more of the same this weekend? Crazier things have happened, but all signs are pointing towards an emphatic yes, despite Texas winning its first two Big 12 games of the season.
Texas enters Saturday game without their starting quarterback, once again. David Ash will miss his second straight game as he deals with lingering issues from an earlier concussion. Case McCoy will make his second straight start after going the whole way against Iowa State completing 24 of his 45 pass attempts without an interception.
Taking on the Sooner defense will be entirely different ballgame, not only for McCoy, but the entire Texas offense. The OU defense is leading the Big 12 in scoring allowing just 13 points per game. The Sooners are second in run defense (113.2 yards/game) and lead the conference in pass defense (168.4 yards/ game). This season, OU's defense "looks" like an Oklahoma defense we became accustomed to seeing during Mike Stoops first tour as defensive coordinator. They're fast and strong, front to back.
Oklahoma will have big shoes to fill, however, in replacing linebacker Corey Nelson was lost for the season after tearing his pectoral muscle against TCU. Nelson had become the leader of the revamped Sooner defense and OU will miss not only his production, but his leadership, as well. Freshman Dominique Alexander and junior Aaron Franklin are the two most likely to take the majority of the snaps in Nelson's place.
Even with Nelson out, Texas will have big challenge on their hands in an attempt to get their running game going. Only Notre Dame has had much success thus far against OU's run defense gaining 220 yards against the Sooners. It's worth noting, however, that 80 of those yards came on one play; George Atkinson's 80 yard touchdown gallop. Take away that one run and their total drops to a respectable 140 yards.
The last time out, OU completely stymied TCU's run game allowing just 44 yards on 27 carries. If Texas suffers a similar fate, expect it to be another long day in the Cotton Bowl for Texas and its fans.
Johnathan Gray has become the workhorse for the Longhorns logging 19, 28, and 16 carries in each of the past three games while averaging just over five yards per carry. The Texas offensive line, mysteriously, still remains a bit of a question mark especially against top flight competition. Can they handle Oklahoma's front seven?
How Texas' offense is able to move the ball remains a big question, but an even bigger one is how is Texas going to defend OU's ground attack. If you've seen Texas play this season, then you know what I'm talking about.
All shouldn't be lost, however, as Texas has made significant improvements since Greg Robinson took over. They had a good, if not solid, showing in defeating Kansas State. The Wildcats picked up just 115 yards against Texas who held them to an impressive three yards per carry.
Against Iowa State the following week, they did allow the Cyclones to rush for 201 yards but by and large, they eliminated the big runs which have been a break breaker so many times in the recent past. Any progress is good progress for Texas considering how they started the season.
If Case McCoy can have some success through the air, that will take some of the pressure off the running game but it would be a big mistake for Texas to expect to McCoy to win the game by himself. How Texas' running games goes, Texas goes. Period. End of story.
So what's going to give on Saturday? Texas will play well, but Oklahoma will be simply too much to handle on both sides of the ball
Whether it be Damien Williams, Brennan Clay, or quarterback Blake Bell, expect Oklahoma to approach 250 yards on the ground and maybe more if they're able to get a first half lead. The Sooners will also pop a couple big plays in the passing game with Texas having to dedicate so much focus into stopping the run.
Case McCoy will make a couple big plays, as well, but expect him to also toss a couple balls to the guys in the wrong colored jerseys giving OU momentum and a short field to work with.
It won't be a route like the past two seasons, but the Sooners will leave no question who the better team is when they trot off the field with the Golden Hat in tow, once again. Oklahoma 42 Texas 20.