A state of wild uproar or confusion. The aforementioned description refers to A) OU versus OSU in Bedlam v1.0.2. B) Tulsa's reaction to Celine Dion grabbing first billing at the BOK Center. C) Mike Gundy's coaching style. D) Sooner Nation watching Joey Halzle trot onto the field last Saturday night.
If you answered A, you receive full credit. If you answered B, partial credit is deserved as its still unclear if the Center will be ready. If you answered C, you get half credit. Wild uproar? Not on the sidelines. D is the logical choice.
This Bedlam matchup loomed as perhaps the easiest prediction of all time until the 12:26 mark of the first quarter during OU's loss to Texas Tech. Even coach Stoops couldn't utter the words when asked at halftime. A c...con...c...co...concussion he finally admitted to Bonnie Bernstein as he headed to the locker room.
We're going old school. Let's break down each area of the game and give a nod to the stronger unit. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm Saturday in Norman.
OSU rushing attack vs. OU rush defense. The Cowboys rank eighth in the nation with a stout 250 yards per game on the ground. Dantrell Savage leads the way with 118 per game at 5.9 per carry. It's a collective effort but this may not be the game for QB Zac Robinson to risk injury by toting the rock.
The Sooners' "vaunted" defense only allows 82 yards on the ground per contest. Good for fifth in the nation. Are the numbers skewed? Two opponents--Tech and Tulsa--don't establish the run.
North Texas, Miami, Utah State, Texas A&M and Baylor were blown out and forced to pass early and often. Colorado controlled the second half by attempting 46 rushes for 3.5 per carry.
Will OSU have the patience to stick with the ground game if the holes are tough to find in the early going? Slight edge: Sooners.
OU rushing attack vs. OSU rush defense. The 183 gained (OU) versus 140 given up (OSU) appear obvious enough. Now, the question is whether or not Sam Bradford plays. At this time, I have no idea but would suspect OU to error on the side of caution.
Joey Halzle + OSU's suspect defensive line + home game + big, angry, physical offensive line = edge Sooners.
OSU passing attack vs. OU pass defense. The Cowboys came into the season with the Bobby Reid to Adarius Bowman threat. They enter the Bedlam contest with Robinson to Brandon Pettigrew.
However, one cannot underestimate OU's panache for giving up the big play in the passing game. Expect blitzes-o-plenty from the Sooners D. Slight edge: Cowboys.
OU passing attack vs. OSU passing defense. Again, as I type this, I have no idea about the health of Bradford. We'll just assume he's out as Bob Stoops wouldn't risk further concussive damage to the team's centerpiece for the next two or three years.
It may not matter. OSU's defense is ranked behind such perennial collegiate powerhouses as Ball State, Army, Ole Miss and Duke. Surrendering 443 yards per game with 300 coming via air strike makes any opposing quarterback look proficient.
The Sooners coaches will dial up TE and RB check downs. They'll find a way to get Juaquin Iglesias and Malcolm Kelly running free across the middle. Haley should shine with a weeks worth of 'starter' practice under his belt. Edge: Sooners.
Special Teams vs. Special Teams
In the most underrated aspect of any game, both teams will look for a spark. Anticipate a fake punt or field goal by the Sooners. Perrish Cox focuses on returns while DeMarco Murray carries a load of offensive pressure on his shoulder pads. Slight edge: Cowboys.
Bob Stoops versus Mike Gundy. "Leave Gundy alone, he's seems like a nice guy," said an OU fan as I made my millionth Gundy joke at work last week.
Yeah, he does seem like a nice guy, I guess. But doesn't the head coach of a college football bowl subdivision (D-1) team need more than kindness on his side?
Too many times this season we have seen Gundy stare at the field listlessly while his team was getting out-hustled, out-played, out-coached and out-hearted. Their collective psyche isn't strong enough to overcome a modicum adversity.
Sure, spoon feed them a bottom feeder like Baylor and watch the scoreboard light up. Put them against someone who punches back and they almost expect to lose. Examples include Georgia, Texas and Kansas.
Bob Stoops on the other hand is animated. Stoops and his staff deserve kudos for pulling Bradford even though it basically ended their run for a national title appearance.
Whether you like OU's coach is irrelevant. He is cocksure. He knows how to push the buttons of his players, his coaches, the referees and the media. He's a modern day P.T. Barnum. Step right up.
They are polar opposites. During the OSU-Kansas game, Gundy idly stood, starred with a look of mild irritation on his face. This isn't the only example, just a prime time, nationally televised one.
He reminds me of a guy who waits for a table at a restaurant. His name in on the list but the hostess keeps taking other customers to available tables. Even customers who he knows arrived after him. He just keeps staring at the hostess hoping his eyes will get him a table.
Try and find a game where Stoops isn't running up and down the sideline yelling at an official. He's always active in pursuing a victory. Edge: Sooners.
Here are three oft overlooked factors heading into the game. OU has been penalized 68 times for 569 yards. OSU? 79 for 733. Can OSU play a composed, smart, disciplined game?
OU has outscored their opponents 477 to 202 on the year. OSU holds a 384 to 302 advantage to date. Can OSU weather the early home-field, adrenaline-filled Sooners ambush? If they fall behind by two touchdowns, do they know they can come from behind?
The Sooners are plus-8 in the turnover column on the season. Smart, well-coached teams thrive in this area. The best in the nation? Kansas at plus-21. They are undefeated. Coincidence?
OSU on the other hand is minus-1. Nine interceptions and 10 fumbles. The intangibles. Edge: Sooners.
Prediction: home field advantage and coach Gundy prove to be too much for OSU to overcome. Sooners next stop? Big 12 title game where they will play the unfamiliar role of BCS title game spoiler.
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