OSU to beat Quack attack and Sam and Sooners


Tuesday, December 30th 2008, 4:21 pm
By: News 9


     I agree with 80 percent of the ESPN poll voters and also those who decide which teams should win in predicting OSU will defeat Oregon tonight in the Holiday. Neither team should stop the other very often but the Cowboys O-line should give the Pokes a physical edge up front and allow them to run the ball enough to rack up enough points to win a game that should have a combined 75-plus points scored.

OSU's chief concern will be OSU's chief concern for umpteen years: Can the defense do its part? We'll see if they are physically good enough to withstand a versatile Quack Attack and if the loss of DC Beckman is something that will be hard to offset.

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     I've covered Oregon a lot on the west coast and repeatedly saw them have a great following in California games. Twill be interesting to compare the crowd comparison between the Ducks and an impressive group of OSU bowl travelers.

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     Zac Robinson may go off tonight. The Pac-10 has not seen the deftness and speed of QBs like the Cowboy leader.

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     I understand OSU will likely hire a DC no sooner than a couple of weeks and do so from outside the program. Fresh ideas are always welcome when a defense can't find its way to consistently better than more than one-third of the teams in the nation.

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     Bowls are about three things: In order, preparation-how serious is the players and coaches? Players-since teams don't see each other regularly it's interesting to compare talent in bowl games. Turnovers-nothing unusual here in that the same 80 percent of the teams in bowl games with the least number of turnovers win.

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     Mike Belotti is a tremendous college football head coach. Mike G will not outcoach Mike B. Belotti would be the coach at a big-time school had he chosen to move from the state he loves so much. He's always had good assistants, a few really good players and plenty of Nike money to spread the wealth.

It took OSU awhile to become a regular in the bowl business, but since they've joined the postseason bunch, they've done a good job or preparing and performing. Taking the next step by earning a BCS trip will be tough, but next season sets up to be a year it could happen: Plenty of returning players and a favorable schedule.

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     While it is commendable to win any bowl games, a truer indicator of bowl preparation comes when a team gets several BCS trips under its belt. Better competition for one thing. More on the line for another. OU's recent problems are a product of playing title teams in USC and LSU and being cocky and/or disinterested in playing in "just the Fiesta Bowl" and not the title tilt.

Bob Stoops and his clubs have done well in non-BCS bowls.  Fortunately for them, they play in about as many BCS title games as regular bowl games.  I see media organizations in this state and fans overall dismissing OU's reaching the title game as shallow thinking. Those folks never played on good teams that know how hard it is to reach the big one.

To dismiss the accomplishments of playing in four championship games in nine seasons is about as foolhardy as dismissing the fact that Stoops has played in seven and won six Big 12 conference championship games in nine seasons. Guess that's the price of winning 47-straight and seven national titles. And no one in Norman would trade those facts for anything. Just do quick analyses of what teams never win conference titles, play for national titles or have consistent Heisman finalists. I respect Alabama-and their bowl record is the best-but check out their Heisman history.

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     Admit it or not, but Bob Stoops has a lot of pressure on him in this title game. Fair or not, he will be lambasted if OU does not play well, win or make it a tight fit vs. a quality Florida team. The BCS mess with Texas only adds to the fact that Stoops and the Sooners BCS bowl history is not good.

Stoops has significantly changed his bowl prep. There will be substantial changes once the team arrives in Florida from what there has been in the past BCS bowls. Whatever it takes to get focus, confidence, a rock-solid game plan, and a 60 minute all-out effort is all that matters. I believe the always optimistic head coach is feeling good about things, even though he realizes that losing all-purpose star Demarco Murray and run stuffer Demarks Granger are big blows. 

The disaster from the USC flogging in Miami looms in the back of everyone in crimson and cream-fan to coach to player. Painful for some to hear and many insiders may dog cuss this line of reasoning. But tiz true. I'll be absolutely astonished if this team-yes, a team with fewer defensive studs but a team also with fewer defensive studs more than willing to lay down when the going got tough in large part because of greedy eyes on NFL paystubs and not a national championship-is not coached up and doesn't play the full sixty and see a repeat of that horrid performance in Miami. Don't get me wrong. I believe the underrated Brent Venables will have trouble slowing the power run game, option, skill players and pass game of the Gators. But it won't be due to lack of effort or preparation. And just like OSU tonight, OU's chances of winning depend almost exclusively on its defense.

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     Missouri's pedestrian victory over a ho-hum Northwestern club last night in the Alamo puts the Big 12 in a position to do some bowl damage. An OSU win would add to the fast start but then there are hairy games much of the rest of the way, winding up in Miami where OU is a rare underdog. Chase Daniel went from the frontrunner for the Heisman to the sixth best QB in the conference. Maybe. One conference assistant coach told me the tone he set for that team and the fact that Mizzou coaches allowed it to become pervasive led them to be a team much too cocksure of itself and one not willing to get in the trenches and battle it out. Couldn't agree more.

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     Keep an eye on the Cleveland Brown job opening. I hear they'd really like an Iowa guy. Kirk Ferentz is apparently a front-runner although other Hawk grads can coach a little too. Who would want to go to Cleveland from a high-paying college job that is built to succeed?

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     Speaking of....has there ever been more legitimate concern about OU losing a player to the NFL than there is right now with Sam Bradford? Clearly not. It' best he return for another year in every football related way. But from a financial standpoint, he may have to disregard all that and take the money and run. No QBs, losing great players that would lead to a less productive season in 2009, the need for QBs with NFL stinkers and the fact that Sam will be a starter in league are all major facts working against OU. But you can bet Bradford will listen to solid advice and do thorough fact-gathering before pulling a Reggie Smith and sprinting for the money league. Trust me, the worst thing that could ever happen for this kid would be to have to play as a rookie when he's not physically or emotionally ready.

     Especially in Detroit, KC or any number of really bad teams. A trade by one of the bad top five teams with a club that could let Bradford sit, watch and develop a couple of years is what might be the biggest concern to the Sooners. Bradford should really toss this fact into his mental computer: When's the last time a serious injury sustained after a QB opts to say no to the NFL cost a guy tens of millions of dollars? The bigger issue is what was noted earlier and experienced by Matt Leinhart and others who returned to college only to see the draft scenario change and their draft stock drop. Sticking with a 70-30 proposition that he'll return.

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     Many OU fans won't care if OSU wins or loses tonight. But here's a good question: What percent of OU fans hope OSU loses compared to the percentage of OSU fans who hope OU loses?