The Oklahoma Sooners are out of the picture to make the college football playoff, but don’t tell them that much. Realistically, though, Oklahoma are major players to win the Big-12 Conference. Winning the conference isn’t going to mean much with regards to the playoff. In all actuality, there doesn’t appear to be any team from the Big-12 in a position to deserve a spot. Baylor seemed to be the last hope for the conference, but they’ve since slipped to 6-1 and would need a lot to go their way to be considered. Oklahoma will have a good shot at making it to one of the bigger bowl games, including one of the New Year’s Six Bowls. There are a lot of possibilities for some exciting matchups in those games, one which will probably feature the Sooners.
Oklahoma can’t head into tonight asleep, or the upset minded Iowa State Cyclones are going to make the prospect of even reaching a New Year’s Six Bowl become increasingly difficult. Lose to Iowa State tonight and you’ll start to hear the clamoring for Bob Stoops’ job again. The losses to Houston and Ohio State already put a dent in his resume, and a loss against a 1-7 Iowa State team I going to send shockwaves up and down the streets of Norman. Baker Mayfield and the Sooners entered the season as a favorite to reach the National Championship and win the Heisman Trophy. Two months later we are talking about Oklahoma hanging on for a New Year’s Six Bowl bid.
There is nothing wrong with Mayfield when he is faced with a bad defense. He can make bad defenses look like high school units, but when he has to step up against anybody good it’s when things get tricky for him. We saw it against Houston and then we saw him struggle against the Buckeyes’ secondary. He may put up impressive numbers, but the idea of him as a top-shelf NFL prospect does not add up in my opinion. Think Landry Jones with the Steelers, who looked good in Oklahoma, but has struggled considerably as a pro.
He’s been able to hold on to a backup job, which I suppose is better than the vast majority of college quarterbacks can say, but he doesn’t look like the same dominant force from Oklahoma. The good news for Mayfield tonight is that Iowa State does not have a high caliber defense. If he has a pulse tonight, he should be able to make quick work of the Cyclone defense. We will see how jacked up Iowa State are to play the Sooners and if it carries over to the field.
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Iowa State Cyclones NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Iowa State +21(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Oklahoma vs. Iowa State Pick:
Oklahoma had a few stiff challenges from TCU, Texas, and Texas Tech since their loss to Ohio State. They nearly blew a three touchdown lead to TCU in the 4th quarter, beat Texas 45-40, and then got into a wild shootout with the Red Raiders. Oklahoma ultimately escaped with a 66-59 win but it wasn’t easy. They got a walkaway win over Kansas last week, a 56-3 drubbing against a team who haven’t been relevant since 2008. Iowa State have come close to playing the upset role against Oklahoma State and Baylor. The Cowboys and Bears are lucky to get out of those games unscathed, a 38-31 win and 45-42. Iowa State beat Texas for one of their only good wins of last season.
So, the Cyclones have proven they can hang with some good teams. The key for them is that they have to be motivated to get up. If they’re motivated they bring a pretty strong effort to the equation. Iowa State are 79th in the country offensively, averaging 393 yards per game. They are also scoring 24 points per game. Oklahoma and Iowa State aren’t even close to being on the same level statistically. The Sooners are 3rd in the country with 568 yards per game, thanks in large part to the effort Texas Tech had on defense a few weeks back.
Iowa State will have to take advantage of a porous Oklahoma defense to stay around in this one. Oklahoma has particularly given up big yardage in the secondary. They are 126th in the country defending the pass, which is only two spots back of being the worst in all of college football. The Sooners are surrendering 315 yards per game passing, awful for a team who is perceived as one of the best teams in the FBS. The Cyclones are 48th in the passing game, not great, but it should be good enough to do well against Oklahoma. There is no way I can lay 21 points on the road with an abysmal defense. The door is going to be left open for a potential backdoor here, too. Iowa State will lose, but they should cover this number.
PICK: IOWA STATE +21 (-110)