This is a traditionally a hard hitting game that is won by a strong defensive effort by one of the teams, but the biggest questions coming in to the game for both squads are going to be the defenses.
OSU features an offensive attack that is as balanced as they come. Coming in to the contest the Cowboys rush and pass for exactly 250 yards per game combining for 500 yards of total offense per contest.
The only team that has had any success rushing the ball in Norman was the Baylor Bears who busted off a couple of long runs out of the spread, but outside of Texas A&M the Sooners have not faced an offense with this type of rushing potential.
"They're as good as we've played so far on defense," said OSU head coach Mike Gundy. "They're obviously very big and physical up front. DeMarcus Granger and Gerald McCoy and those guys in there are good players and they run well. Curtis Lofton moves well side to side and they're physical in the back end and they're good tacklers in the back end."
The defense knows what they are up against and the only question left is are they up to the challenge?
Will the Sooners exploit the soft OSU pass defense
As good as the Cowboys are on offense they are even worse at stopping opposing offenses that are successful in moving the ball through the air.
Coming in to this game OSU has the 114th ranked defense against the pass, and with the news that Sam Bradford will likely start the Sooners will need to take advantage of the mismatches that Malcolm Kelly, Manuel Johnson, Jermaine Gresham, and Juaquin Iglesias present.
"They are a very good team," OU head Coach Bob Stoops said. "Like I told our team, they are 6-5 but they are a better football team than that. I realize they have struggled defensively a little bit, but they have also stepped up and played well when they have had to at times. They are still very capable."
Clearly this is one of the best and most balanced offense that the Oklahoma State defense will have had to face this season.
Can the Sooners bounce back after having their National Title hopes dashed by Texas Tech?
Every fan, coach, and player knew entering last weeks game that all the team had to do was win out and they would be playing for it all in New Orleans, but after Sam Bradford went out with an injury on the first offensive possession it took almost three quarters for the team to get off their heels and start to attack.
Now after a week of disappointment and questions about the health of key players like Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray, and Auston English the Sooners have to get ready to face off against a bitter home-state rival.
OU is definitely in a tough spot as far as emotion is concerned. The Oklahoma State Cowboys can make their season off of this win, and the thing the Sooners need to keep in mind is they have a lot to play for as well.
"We have some huge goals out there for us that are major goals for this program," Bob Stoops informed. "With an in-state rival coming to our place, an opportunity to win the South and play for a Big 12 Championship are major issues. There is a lot left for us out there."
With a loss the Sooners will not only lose some bragging rights, but they will possibly allow the hated Texas Longhorns to sneak in to a Big 12 Championship through the backdoor.
Will OU cover the -12 point spread?
Talk about a tough spot to cover double digits. Murray is out, but against Oklahoma State you need to pass it and pass it and pass it some more. Oklahoma definitely has the potential to put up some big numbers offensively and SI expects that they will.
Oklahoma State has to believe that they are going to be able to move the ball as well. No team has been able shut them down all year, and honestly the OU defense has struggled at times the past few weeks.
The one thing that they have been consistent at all year is stopping the run. OU only allows 82 rushing yards per contest and, if you throw out the Baylor game they have been even tougher.
Because of the emotions involved this is a very tough game to predict.
Prediction- Oklahoma 28, Oklahoma State 17