Bedlam: Key Matchups and Predictions

I just came from Oklahoma State's Thursday practice, which is more of a run through than a walk through. The primary work is done or as they like to say on the farm, "the hay is in the barn." It's time to wait for kick-off for Saturday and Bedlam at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Bill Young said the bye week last week was great work that put the Cowboys ahead of the game for Saturday. I agree, the bye week practices were really good and that continued this week. This team put in the preparation and they have been good at that the entire season with just a few exceptions. Expectations should be good for the Bedlam showdown.

OSU Defense vs. OU Blake Bell Short Yardage and Goal Line Unit

Oklahoma spawned the new short yardage and goal line unit after playing Kansas State and seeing the success of Collin Klein and realizing that they had a similar type of quarterback in Bell, ironically a Kansas native from Wichita. It has been a good fit and worked well with 21 of Bell's 33 carries resulting in either a first down or a touchdown (10 touchdowns). OU runs power, counter, lead option, and passes out of the scheme with one or two receiver personnel groups. You really have to almost anticipate what they are going to do in order to stop it. You have to anticipate and load the point of attack. Of course, the best way to stop it is to not allow Oklahoma to get in advantageous positions where they can use it. If you guess well you can get stops and even loss yardage plays.

Advantage: Slight to the OSU Defense

OSU Offensive Tackles/Blocking Tight End Levy Adcock, Parker Graham, Michael Bowie, and Daniel Koenig vs. OU Defensive End Frank Alexander

Alexander re-injured a shoulder in the win over Iowa State, but after treatment all week it is anticipated that he will play in the game. Oklahoma needs him badly with his gaudy stats of 18 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks with a total of 51 tackles overall. He also has credit for six deflections and seven quarterback hurries. That is massive production and he is likely going to be named the defensive player of the year in the Big 12. He would have my vote. Adcock would be the best guy to have on him, but Graham, Bowie, and Koenig are capable as well. Koenig could get in on this fight more than likely at the blocking tight end where he wears a jersey No. 85 instead of No. 58 he wears playing tackle. A double team would be prudent in certain situations. Oklahoma has to put a premium on getting pressure on Brandon Weeden and this is the guy most capable of getting that done.

Advantage: Too Close to Call

OSU Cornerbacks Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert vs. OU Wide Receiver Kenny Stills

The Oklahoma offense has not been as good since the departure of Ryan Broyles and neither has quarterback Landry Jones. It is more than understandable as just imagine Brandon Weeden without Justin Blackmon or even, Josh Cooper, which we saw and it impacted Weeden. Stills is the best playmaker left in the receiver corps. he has good numbers with 52 receptions for 755 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Since Broyles went down against Texas A&M, Stills has had 13 receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown. That is an average of 4.3 catches for 63-yards a game comparing to Stills' season averages of 4.8 receptions and 83.9-yards a game. Proof that a really good receiver on the opposite side always helps production. Brown is a physical corner for a 5-8 player and Gilbert has all kinds of physical skills. Stills is 6-1, 190 and it should be a great battle between Stills and whoever lines up against him.

Advantage: Too Close to Call

Prediction:

Want to know why I picked Oklahoma State to score 44 points? It's simple, because 41 points last season was not enough. Another field goal ought to be easy to get and while the Cowboys defense has given up plenty of yards, they have been more stingy on points and they have been downright greedy on turnovers. The Cowboys love to steal the football. If they will keep that up and the offense does it's usual turnabout after a high turnover game on their part, then this should come out positive. The matchups listed above are key to me and also in the case of the this game, the closest matchups. Now there are others that I like that favor the Cowboys. I like Oklahoma State in the special teams matchups virtually across the board. I like Weeden and his ability to throw the ball and make plays. I also expect the Cowboys running backs to bounce back after a sluggish effort at Iowa State. I like the Cowboy defensive ends Jamie Blatnick, Richetti Jones, Cooper Bassett, and Ryan Robinson to make some plays. I think you will see plenty of Shaun Lewis. How good is Oklahoma? Well, I picked Oklahoma State to score six points under their average and Oklahoma to score close to seven points higher than the Cowboys average allowing. Think about that for a minute.

Final Score:

@#3 Oklahoma State 44, #10 Oklahoma 34

Big 12 Predictions

This Week

@#17 Baylor 38, #22 Texas 31

@#11 Kansas State 27, Iowa State 20

Season Record

Straight Up: 55-17

Against the Spread: 38-26

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

Last Week

Straight Up: 4-0

Against the Spread: 3-1

Texas 28 @Texas A&M 24

Missouri 38, Kansas 13 in Kansas City

@#12 Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 20

#21 Baylor 42, Texas Tech 34 in Arlington


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