It's very simple for the Cowboys, they have put a lot of work into this by beating three ranked teams in November, and two of them on the road.
Now it's time to beat Oklahoma and claim the title that was predicted in July, worked for in August, thought had slipped away in September, and was earned one week at a time in October and November with the nation's current fifth longest winning streak of seven games.
The Cowboys have lived up to their 2013 season theme, "relentless" and now it's time to call back a previous theme and live it, "finish."
OSU Offensive Line vs. OU Defensive Line
Oklahoma is opportunistic on the defensive line with defensive Charles Tapper leading the way with 41 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Chuka Ndulue is a tackle that makes a good number of plays and Geneo Grissom at defensive end has 37 tackles. This will be a good battle, but I expect the Oklahoma State offensive line to be controlling here.
OSU Running Backs vs. OU Run Defense
It will help that Desmond Roland is healthy and Jeremy Smith gained some bounce back in his step and confidence in the Baylor game. This matchup doesn't have to be a massive win unless the field is icy. In that case the run game may be all she wrote. Simply outgaining OU in rushing needs to be the goal and OU is a good run team, so that is a challenge.
Oklahoma has a stellar corner in Aaron Colvin, but he is playing hurt. Zach Sanchez has been hot and cold, and when he is cold, he can get beat a bunch. The safeties -- Gabe Lynn, Julian Wilson, and Quentin Hayes -- are solid but have been victimized like at Kansas State giving up 348 passing yards but in conference play they are second in the league in pass defense.
OSU Quarterback Clint Chelf vs. OU Free Safety Gabe Lynn
He is definitely playing the best football of his career right now, and the Baylor game was outstanding for what he did and even more so for what he didn't do. Chelf did not turn the ball over even once. If he repeats that and has an average game in every other aspect then the Cowboys likely win.
Lynn has moved around a little bit and without a lot of experience at linebacker will likely be the player responsible for getting OU out of bad situations on defense with adjustments.
OSU Defensive Line vs. OU Offensive Line
What will hurt is the reports that left tackle Tyrus Thompson is out, meaning 6-9, 325-pound Derek Farniok will be the starter. That could really hurt the Sooners as OSU senior defensive end Tyler Johnson is playing really well right now, as are Sam Wren, Jimmy Bean and Emmanuel Ogbah.
OSU Run Defense vs. OU Running Backs
The Cowboys top the Big 12 in run defense and held the vaunted rushing attacks of Texas and Baylor to season lows. The X-factor here is the quarterback run game with Trevor Knight, who will use the read zone game and also bounce around with quarterback draws and keepers. As we have said before, when the quarterback runs the numbers even up.
OSU Secondary vs. OU Wide Receivers
Oklahoma State is one of the top defenses in the nation with 19 interceptions. Knight has a decent arm, but is still inexperienced enough that he can really be bothered by pressure. That and the cold for a San Antonio native at quarterback could be a bad scenario for Oklahoma.
OSU Middle Linebacker Caleb Lavey vs. OU Quarterback Trevor Knight
OSU Special Teams vs. OU Special Teams
OU punter Jed Barnett has a bigger average than OSU punter Kip Smith, but Smith's punts don't get returned (opponents average 1.2 on returns). OU is giving up 5.5 yards per punt return and with Josh Stewart returning for the Cowboys and leading the league and speedster Jalen Saunders returning for Oklahoma, that matchup is major.
Saunders had a return for a score last season against the Cowboys, and a momentum-changing return against Iowa State earlier this season. In both cases the punter outkicked his coverage. Smith normally doesn't outkick his coverage and gets great hang time.
OSU also leads the conference in kickoff coverage and Justin Gilbert is one of the best kickoff return specialists in the country. Cowboys win in about every area other than field goals.
Weather problems or not, this late in the season I think you have to go with the best defense to win the game. Oklahoma State is the better defense and the numbers back that up in turnover margin (critical), opponents third down conversions, run defense, and red zone defense.
Texas scored 13 points on the Cowboy defense in Austin, Baylor only could get 17 points on the OSU defense in Stillwater (both season lows), and that's why I believe OU will be held to a season-low 10 points. The OSU defense and the cold weather won't be conducive to scoring a lot of point anyway.
The Cowboys' 28 points will be well below their conference average of 39.6 points a game. The defense or special teams might be responsible for one of those touchdowns.
Big 12 Predictions
(Rankings are from USA Today/Coaches Poll)
No. 7 Baylor 27, No. 24 Texas 21
The last game for Baylor in Floyd Casey Stadium and Texas is there for it. Baylor is not the same team as before losing in Stillwater, but even on an icy field they will be winners at home and finish 11-1 overall and 8-1 in the Big 12.
Texas 35, Texas Tech 28
Actual Score: Texas 41, Texas Tech 16
Kansas State 41, Kansas 3
Actual Score: Kansas State 31, Kansas 10
Baylor 45, TCU 20
Actual Score: Baylor 41, TCU 38
West Virginia 31, Iowa State 28
Actual Score: Iowa State 52, West Virginia 44 (3OT)
Last Week - Straight Up: 3-1 Against the Spread: 3-1
All Season - Straight Up: 58-14 Against the Spread: 34-29