2016 College Football Picks and Predictions – Oklahoma State at Oklahoma Free Pick: 2016 College Football Picks and Predictions: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma Free PickWhile the Big 12 doesn’t have an official conference championship game, it just so happens to work out that the Bedlam rivalry between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma this weekend will also decide the conference champ. The winner between the 10th-ranked Cowboys and ninth-ranked Sooners will lock up a spot in a major bowl game, along with earning bragging rights over their in-state rival.
Both teams took similar paths to reach this point. The Sooners started 1-2 after losses to Houston and Ohio State, but thanks to stellar play from quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma has surged back to life, dominating a majority of their opponents with a potent offense. The Cowboys started 2-2, and while a botched call by the refs resulted in a loss to Central Michigan, the fact that the game was even close was an indictment on the Oklahoma State’s early play. Both teams are playing their best heading into this showdown, and the Sooners are 11-point favorites at home.
2016 College Football Picks and Predictions: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma Free Pick
Oklahoma State Wins If:
Led by quarterback Mason Rudolph, the Cowboys boast the sixth-ranked passing attack and 14th-ranked scoring offense, but getting into a shootout with the Sooners isn’t the best approach. The Sooners might have the best offense in the country, and trying to match them score for score probably isn’t going to end well for Oklahoma State. Instead, the Cowboys need to focus on playing mistake-free football on both sides of the ball, avoiding quick three-and-outs on offense and getting off the field when they force the Sooners into third down situations. The Cowboys have been excellent in close games this year, so if they can keep the score reasonable heading into the fourth quarter, they are more than capable of pulling it out.
Oklahoma Wins If:
It seems like every game in the Big 12 is a high-scoring shootout, and the Sooners and their second-ranked scoring attack are built tough to beat when they are firing on all cylinders. From Mayfield under center to explosive receiver Dede Westbrook, the Sooners have offensive firepower to spare. As long as Oklahoma doesn’t torpedo its own possessions with turnovers and penalties, they should score early and often. More importantly, the Sooners have more weapons than the Cowboys, so Oklahoma is going to be in good shape if they can turn this game into an up-tempo shootout. The Sooners don’t have to be flawless defensively, but they do have to get off the field when the opportunities arise. If they make a few defensive stops here and there, Mayfield and company will do the rest.
Both of these teams can put points on the board in bunches, but ironically, it could be the Oklahoma defense that ends up being the difference in this game. As impressive as Mayfield and the Sooners have been on offense down the stretch, the Oklahoma defense has been keeping opponents in check, which is no easy task in the Big 12. The Sooners have allowed 28 points or less in five of their last six games, and if they can keep the Cowboys anywhere close to that mark this weekend, they are going to come out on top. In the end, I expect the superior firepower of the Oklahoma offense and the stingier Oklahoma defense to allow them to pull away from the Cowboys.
Prediction: Oklahoma Sooners (-11) Cover the Spread
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