Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma: Key Matchups

The key matchups for 11th-ranked Oklahoma State's showdown with third-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The College Football Playoff Committee did Oklahoma State a favor Tuesday night. Now Oklahoma State fans are having a hard time coming to grips with that as they saw their archrival and Bedlam opponent for Saturday take a meteoric climb up the rankings all the way to third and safely in the four-team playoff bracket if the Sooners should win their finale on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium.

It is hard to think that you might have to watch the Sooners be crowned Big 12 champs and a favorite to be in the playoff on the Cowboys turf. But think of this scenario, which was painted this week by none other than the official network of the College Football Playoff and the sports mothership of ESPN: TCU upsets number seven Baylor on Friday night in Fort Worth (Note: You'll notice I'm picking Baylor but it could happen with the Bears down to their third quarterback). Then in Bedlam, Oklahoma State wins, and just for fun lets say they win by a touchdown or more.

It may seem like from 11th to 4th is too big a jump to make but the committee wants a Big 12 team in this season, and an 11-1 Oklahoma State with recent wins over the committee's third-ranked team and over an eighth-ranked TCU at the time with Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson were playing would jump Notre Dame, Stanford, and all the Big 10 teams minus their champion. 

Say that scenario is ruined with a Baylor win Friday. There is still the pride, the bragging rights which everybody from players to coaches to Boone Pickens and you and me enjoy. There is also a New Year's Day Bowl berth at stake, and hopefully in the Sugar in New Orleans against the "dead fish" of Florida. Those and preventing OU from doing any celebrating at BPS are all worthwhile reasons to be as resilient as ever coming off the loss to Baylor.

OSU-OU Key Matchups
Oklahoma State DE #38 Emmanuel Ogbah
vs. OU LT #78 Orlando Brown and RT #75 Dru Samia
Regardless of which side Ogbah lines up this should be a mismatch that favors the Cowboys. Brown is a red shirt freshman who has talent but is still green and Samia is an undersized freshman that will be in a real dilemma if he is seeing a heavy dose of Ogbah. This week quarterback Baker Mayfield said he will have to be very aware of where Ogbah is and will need to call protections that include an H-back or running back chipping and assisting with blocking Ogbah. There is also the protections that pull out guards and point them outside around the tackle for added protection. Expect OU to use a quck passing game that gets the ball out fast and trusts their receivers to make yards after the catch, and then the best combat of Ogbah is to run the football effectively and that could take out the pass rush. That is where another of of our key matchups comes into play.

Oklahoma State MLB #45 Chad Whitener, WLB #10 Seth Jacobs, and Star #20 Jordan Burton
vs. OU RB #32 Samaje Perine and #25 Joe Mixon
Baylor, its offensive line and three-headed running back trio of Shock Linwood, Devin Chafin, and John Jefferson exposed the Cowboys and rushed for 304 yards. The Bears diid it with a minimum of fanfare as they just three-, four-, and five-yarded their way to moving the chains and controlling the game. If you think those three could do it well, OU may not have as talented an offensive line but the backs in Perine and Mixon are better and capable. If they go about controlling the game then the already well worn Oklahoma State defense could reach the breaking point. The Cowboys badly need to get off the field and they need to create some explosive plays like sacks, tackles for loss, fumbles, interceptions, and those come much easier when the offense is not pounding the ball down the throat of the defense. Taking some chances on run downs with run blitzes and loading up might be something Glenn Spencer and his staff think about. As for the Cowboys linebackers, the more aggressive versus the run and the less missed tackles will add up to success. A major question will be the health of both OU backs as Perine and Mixon have ankle injuries that have nagged at them.

Oklahoma State QB #2 Mason Rudolph and QB #4 J.W. Walsh
vs. OU QB #6 Baker Mayfield
Normally we display matchups where the two sides will actually face each other on the field, but this one is critical. I put out a tweet earlier this fall saying I would take Rudolph and Walsh any day over Mayfield. Hey, I respect Mayfield and he has done a tremendous job leading that OU offense. It is obvious that his teammates respond to him and the OU offense is a much different and less effective unit when he is not out there. I fully expect he will be out there for Bedlam despite the cheap shot that sent him to the sidelines last Saturday with a concussion against TCU. I also expect that Rudolph, who is hampered by a nagging injury, will play his game and Walsh, who is coming off an illness that saw him play with a 102 degree fever last Saturday, will be chomping to get after it on Senior Night. Like I said, I will take those two guys in orange and black. I do believe all things being equal the team that gets the best QB play has the best chance to win. This is the Big 12 after all.

Bedlam Prediction
Oklahoma State has been resilient all season but now it is time to find out if the Cowboys can bounce back from a loss one week to the next and fire their best shot. They got a sterling example of how to do that from Baylor last week as the Bears had their season turned topsy turvy with the loss to OU and then came back and played much better and much more like you would expect from the Bears with the 45-35 win over the Cowboys. The Cowboys can completely open up the playbook. I have a healthy respect for Oklahoma. JHowever, I'm still trying to figure out how they beat Baylor and I still think Baylor has the best talent in the conference. I think OU is a better matchup for the Cowboys. It is still a very challenging one. My barometer numbers are these:
130 yards - Yards needed on offense outside the conventional passing yards which I expect to be at 350 or better.
160 yards - Rushing yards for Oklahoma need to be at 160 or less.
2 sacks - OSU needs to have more than this and OU two or less.
35 points - It will take 35 points or more to safely be ahead of OU, depending on some sort of freak weather situation.
#3 Oklahoma 35, @#11 Oklahoma State 38

Big 12 Predictions
Last Week: (Straight Up) 2-2 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point  spreads) 3-1
Season: (Straight Up) 58-10 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point  spreads) 35-28-1
Texas Tech 48, @Texas 31

#7 Baylor 42 , @#19 TCU 37

Iowa State 28, @West Virginia 27
Kansas State 35, @Kansas 7

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