Originally Published: Nov 20, 2010 10:34 AM CDT
It’s game day here in Waco. With a 7pm kick, it’ll be a long day for coaches and players. These are the kinds of games that leave everyone drained tomorrow morning after arriving back in Norman at 2:30. I hated late games and expect that most of today’s players do as well. Sit and wait. Wait and sit. Meet and eat. Eat and meet. Watch games on TV. Then meat and eat and sit and wait.
We interviewed Bob Stoops last night and found him to have a lot on his mind. It’s unfair to read too much into the brief exchange because he’d just gotten off the bus and was making sure everything from food being ready to players getting keys was set. It’s always a fire drill in the lobbies when players are grabbing bags and headed to elevator about to be flush with a couple of tons of nose guards and linebackers.
But we can say that if the demeanor of the head coach was representative of the mood of team, they are dead serious about tonight’s challenge. You can take it one of two ways. One, they’re ready. Two, they’re uptight.
Nineteen games between OU and Baylor have come and gone but none as big and none expected to be as close as this one tonight. The Sooners, a team recently ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and still with a chance to win the Big 12 Championship, play in a BCS bowl, finish 10-2 and among the top teams in the country, are only touchdown favorites over the Bears.
The Bears were atop the division standings 14 days ago and all the rage sitting at 7-2. But they’ve lost two straight being routed in Stillwater and beaten in Waco last week by surging A/M. They now find themselves at 4-3 in league play.
Oklahoma teams are spotless in those nineteen games against the Bears but vulnerable today with poor road play. And they are up against a team with an explosive offense, a terrific QB and a top-notch head coach.
Expect a lot of points. Baylor has scored 30+ points in nine of its 11 games, including all five at home. They lead the division scoring 259 points (incredibly Texas sits at the bottom with only 137 points!). But the Bears are fifth of six teams in points allowed with 238. The Sooners have not played up to its proud standards on defense. But they lead the Big 12 allowing 106 points. Of the twelve conference schools, only three teams have scored more points in league games.
The smart guys expect 65 total points to be scored and thus an OU win of something like 36-29. The road team has won 12 of the last 14 games against the spread. But OU is 0-3 against the spread in true road games. It might need to be double-checked, but I’m told BU has lost 47 in-a-row to ranked teams, the opposite of OU’s remarkable 47-game win streak.
Finally, I have a good feeling about this game. OU is overdue to play well on the road and they know with OSU looming, they need to a good defensive performance. Keep an eye on DT Casey Walker (No. 53). He’s coming off the DL and needs to impress since OU is relatively weak on injury-depleted on the interior. BU is not good on defense and I expect OU to move the ball. This is the kind of game Landry Jones will have a chance to regain road confidence, something he will need with all the pressure he’ll face next Saturday in Stillwater (assuming OU and OSU wins today).
OU by 14. OSU by 21. Hello Bedlam.