Originally Published: Nov 16, 2009 11:18 AM CDT
I respectfully disagree with my partner, Mr. John Holcomb, who gave the following Play the Percentages predictions last night on the Blitz. Mr. Holcomb, who is dominating the viewer-voted contest with yours truly, said he believes there is a 65 percent chance Mike Gundy will win Big 12 Coach of the Year and a 60 percent chance OSU will go to the Cotton Bowl.
Clearly, despite being what I have researched and believed to be the case, OSU will be a nine point underdog at OU—assuming OU beats Texas Tech as a four point favorite and OSU beats CU at home this weekend as a two TD favorite—my trusted Cowboy analyst is banking on OSU beating the Sooners.
Although I believe it is entirely possible for OSU to win in Norman, nine point underdogs win only 19 percent of the time. Gundy has no chance of beating out both Mack Brown and Bill Snyder if OSU loses and finishes third in the Big 12 South—as predicted in the preseason media poll.
As for the Cotton Bowl, multiple sources tell me if OU beats Tech, the Bedlam winner has the inside track at earning a trip to the Cotton Bowl. Especially if OSU were to lose by nine or more points. Though OSU would have only three losses to OU’s four, the Sooners would be ahead of the Pokes in the Big 12 South standings. Also, pollsters and bowls put are swayed by late season—and in this case, the final game of the regular season—games.
To be clear, I believe OU will have to put together its best back-to-back performances to sweep its final games. But the numbers say they should. A win Saturday means OSU has the pressure on it in another much-anticipated Bedlam. They’ll be facing an OU team that, albeit star-crippled and not a vintage Stoops Era team, that has seen its program beat OSU five straight, has won 65 of its last 67 and a nation’s best 29 straight in Norman, and will be around a nine point favorite.
If as my Blitz mate John says and the Pokes prevail, then OSU will be Cotton Bowl bound while scoffing at a 7-5 or 6-6 Sooner team that will be headed to a minor bowl with its head between its legs and will have under-achieved more than any of the eleven Stoops teams.
Likewise, under that scenario, Mr. Holcomb will quite possibly be right in predicting Mr. Gundy will be awarded coach of the year—a well-deserved honor as well.
Per norm, good info from John Hoover of the Tulsa World: In all, either Murray or Broyles got the football (or were thrown to) on 60 percent of OU’s offensive plays before reserves took over late in the third quarter. The Sooners had 474 yards of offense before the backups came in, and Murray (223) and Broyles (104) accounted for 327 of that, or 69 percent.
Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson noticed that one of his best playmakers got the ball only 19 times for 84 total yards in a 10-3 loss at Nebraska, so against the Aggies, got the ball ___ times for 223 yards before leaving in the third quarter. He took one screen pass 36 yards, then zigzagged 64 yards for a touchdown with another.
Once the blockers stopped being so twitchy, Murray became an effective runner in the wildcat formation, gaining 18 yards on five carries.
“There were reads and progressions (against Nebraska) that didn’t guarantee he was going to get the ball,” Wilson said. “Whether it was putting in a direct-snap play or making him a reverse guy or a bubble (screen) guy or getting screens called for him or whatever, we need to have him in that 22-25 range in terms of touches.”
Likewise, in four grinding quarters against Nebraska, Broyles only got the ball eight times for 74 yards. So in three periods against A&M, he caught eight passes (for 79 yards) and took a reverse 25 yards for a touchdown.
Hoover concludes with OU’s home domination: That's now 29 in a row and 65-2 all-time under Bob Stoops. But?Tech doesn't come to Norman?.Stoops' last two trips — 23-21 in 2005 (the game stolen by botched replays) and 34-27 in 2007 (the game stolen by Sam Bradford's concussion) have gone horribly wrong. These Sooners' last road trip, at Nebraska, was disastrous. They'll need to get some things —like those 11 penalties for 102 yards against A&M — right in a hurry.
So????.Bottom line, a bad season can be partly salvaged with back-to-back wins. A loss to either Tech or certainly OSU would make it a completely disappointing season. Lose to both and it’s a disastrous season.
Sooner cans can keep their fingers crossed and keep their hats on. And they can hope Wilson continues to pump the ball to Broyles and Murray while at the same time showing more creative play-calling that resulted in good things against A/M.