Key Matchups and Predictions: OSU vs. Mizzou

Going back to the summer I was telling my wife, my friends, Oklahoma State fans that inquired, and about anybody else that listened that I felt the Cowboys 2011 season had three major hurdles.

The first was Texas A&M in College Station and mission was accomplished. The second is this week's trip to Columbia, Mo. to play a talented but disappointed Missouri team. I know, I forgot to pay homage to Texas, but I really didn't think the Horns were that good. The answer in hindsight was they were better than I gave them credit for.

That said I am a little anxious about this game and I haven't been before any others this season. Part of that has to be that I truly feel that if the Cowboys handle Missouri then they will go into hurdle number three, the Dec. 3rd game with Oklahoma at Boone Pickens unbeaten at 11-0.

This one is huge! Missouri is motivated as Gary Pinkel and the coaching staff was around when the Cowboys beat a No. 3 Missouri team destined for a possible national championship run. Football coaches never forget.

OSU Defensive Line vs. Missouri Offensive Line

Here are two units that have taken some hits this season and probably haven't deserved it much. The Cowboys defensive line can't get a lot of respect as old time OSU fans feel the young tackles and the veteran defensive ends in Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones should stop the run better. It is true those tackles have been pushed around at times, but they get better every week and I think they will play their best game this Saturday. The Missouri offensive line is huge and old with three senior starters. They play more like basketball forwards and posts setting picks. Too many picks and the Cowboys could be discussing different options next week.

Advantage: Edge to OSU Defensive Line

OSU Wide Receivers Justin Blackmon and Hubert Anyiam vs. Missouri Cornerbacks Kip Edwards and E.J. Gaines

Last week Texas used cover two and match two to really stop the vertical passing game and especially the vertical passing game of Blackmon. Texas had long, athletic corners that are among the best athletes in college football. Edwards and Gaines along with their backups Trey Hobson and Robert Steeples are good athletes but not that good. Missouri has to play it more honestly and while Weeden had some below average (for him) throws, he never does that two games in a row. Anyiam is a big time weapon if teams decide they want to focus on Blackmon and there are others too. These two should have a good day.

Advantage: Solid Edge to Blackmon and Anyiam

OSU Linebackers Shaun Lewis, Caleb Lavey, and Alex Elkins vs. Missouri Running Back Henry Josey and Quarterback James Franklin

Missouri runs speed option, mid-line option, zone read option, power read option, stretch read option, and any other option short of the military variety at Navy and Georgia Tech. That means the Cowboys are looking at some assignment football. Bill Young is very good at defensing this style of offense, but Missouri has some wrinkles that could make this more difficult, not to mention the best running back in the Big 12 and a quarterback that is improving each week. In this match-up you have strength against strength in Lewis vs. Josey and youth vs. youth in Lavey and Elkins vs. Franklin. Stir it all up and this becomes a deciding factor in whether Missouri can hold onto the ball and play some keep away from Weeden and company or whether Oklahoma State OC Todd Monken gets to enjoy some more "make it, take it" offense.

Advantage: Edge is Too Close to Call


I respect Missouri and the Tigers defensively have good athletes. Honestly, I think they are better up front than Texas, about even with the Longhorns at linebacker, but they are not as athletic as Texas in the secondary and that is a match-up Oklahoma State can expose in a huge way. Also, while I see Missouri having some success, quarterback Brandon Weeden rarely, never, has two sub-par games in a row. I expect Weeden will light it up this Saturday. Many experts have the Cowboys on "upset alert" but the Cowboys are well aware of what is at stake, well aware of how talented Missouri is, and despite some thought to the contrary, Weeden and his teammates love to play early games. It's the waiting around that they can't stand. Cowboys don't oversleep, enjoy the crisp Missouri weather, and make themselves at home in Faurot Field.

Final Score:

#6 Oklahoma State 45 @ Missouri 27

Big 12 Predictions

This Week

#16 Kansas State 31 @ Kansas 20

#18 Texas A&M 38 @ Iowa State 12

@#1 Oklahoma 48, Texas Tech 24

Season Record

Straight Up: 35-10

Against the Spread: 25-12

Not all games have point spreads as games versus FCS opponents do not.

Last Week

Straight Up: 3-2

Against the Spread: 2-3

#7 Oklahoma State 42, @#21 Texas 21

#24 Baylor 34 @#23 Texas A&M 31

@Missouri 27, Iowa State 17

@RV Texas Tech 38, #18 Kansas State 28

#1 Oklahoma 66, @Kansas 13

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