Our third match-up was one we called even and we missed as the Cowboys had little problem at guard controlling the Arizona defensive tackles in Washington and Tuihalamala. It was a pretty complete Oklahoma State win except maybe special teams where the Cowboys had a so-so night.
As for this week, the overall landscape as we see it is that the ever improving OSU defense has a challenge with G.J. Kinne and Tulsa's offense. The mismatch is that Cowboy offense against Tulsa's defense. We will see.
Holmes and Romine aren't bad, but they certainly haven't moved too many defensive ends around. Both TU tackles are seniors and Romine is a Union grad that bounced to Oklahoma from Notre Dame. In the game against Oklahoma the Sooners defensive ends, which are talented, did a lot of the playmaking on defense. This group of Oklahoma State defensive ends are motivated. Blatnick and Jones are seniors that have talked about wanting to leave their mark on the defense. The one native Oklahoman at end is Cooper Bassett, who has turned into a bona fide leader and wants to make plays. The Cowboys might want to tread lightly as Kinne is very athletic and mobile and they won't be left with a sitting target. They'll need to play contain, but they should be able to get free to make plays.
Advantage: Huge to Jones/Blatnick/Bassett
OSU Star Linebacker Shaun Lewis vs. Tulsa Quarterback G.J. Kinne
Lewis has been somewhat quiet so far this season with five tackles, but Saturday night is his kind of night facing a quarterback in Kinne that is a legitimate big time offensive threat that he will have a primary responsibility of keeping tabs on. Kinne got off to a slow start in the game last season in Stillwater and will be determined to change that for his team this time. That could cause the senior quarterback to press and if it does then Lewis and the Cowboys need to be ready to take advantage. Another aspect to watch for is that Kinne seems to play better when he gets involved in the run game early. Look for Kinne to take off a few times in the first quarter.
Advantage: Too Close to Call
OSU Special Teams vs. Tulsa Special Teams
Quinn Sharp has been excellent except for the missed field goal at the end of the first half against Arizona. His kickoffs have been touchbacks. His punts have been averaging over 52.0-yards a kick. Tulsa has been solid in those areas too, For Oklahoma State there have been too many penalties on return opportunities, while the coverage units have been good other than one punt and one kickoff in the opener against ULL. Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship said his team played even with OU in special teams, but against overwhelming favorites he knows his special teams need to win with some big plays. We just don't see the opportunity for that to happen against the Cowboys.
Advantage: Solid to OSU Special Teams
We pick the match-ups above for various reasons. One is that we feel the match-up will play a key role in the game. Second, we pick match-ups that are close and will be interesting to watch. Third, we pick match-ups that are overwhelming, so overwhelming that the dominance will be obvious. We only pick three and there are so many on the field. The match-up last week with Justin Blackmon and the Arizona corners was overwhelming and interesting all rolled up into one. That match-up this week with Tulsa playing with back-up corners could be very ugly. I don't see Tulsa's secondary or pass rush going up against a veteran Cowboy offensive line and the savvy of quarterback Brandon Weeden. Last year the Cowboys had 722-yards of total offense. You may look at the score and think, "hey, the Cowboys scored 65 last season." Why, yes they did and they may do it again, but I see this finishing a little more conservative. We will see. Remember too, last year you had the side bar of Dana Holgorsen vs. Todd Graham and neither liked the other.
#7 Oklahoma State 41, @ Tulsa 20
Big 12 Predictions
Friday, Sept. 16
@Connecticut 23, Iowa State 21
Saturday, Sept. 17
@Georgia Tech 52, Kansas 17
#21 Texas 20, @UCLA 14
Texas Tech 49, @New Mexico 20
@#24 Baylor 56, S.F.A. 9
@Kansas State 38, Kent State 7
@Missouri 37, Western Illinois 6
@#9 Texas A&M 31, Idaho 13
#1 Oklahoma 34, @#5 Florida State 21
Straight Up: 11-4
Against the Spread: 6-4
Straight Up: 2-3
Against the Spread: 2-2
Friday, Sept. 9
@#23 Arizona State 27, #19 Missouri 16
Saturday, Sept. 10
Iowa 34 @Iowa State 14
Northern Illinois 24, @Kansas 20
BYU 17, @#21-Texas 14