Ohio State and Oklahoma heat up the primetime slot of college football tonight on FOX. In a game that has major implications for the rest of the season, the Sooners are trying not to drop two crucial games in the first three weeks of the season. The first happened right off the bat in Week 1 against Houston, as they looked all out of sync on offense. It definitely looked like the same team that was confused and lost against Clemson in the playoffs last year. Nothing seemed to change from that game to this year.
The offensive line looked like a mess, and Baker Mayfield couldn’t facilitate any offense on his own. Without any protection, Houston was breathing down his neck and forcing him into some quick and bad throws. Ohio State is going to want to do the exact same thing tonight.
The knack on the Buckeyes heading into this game is their youthfulness. Not many of their players have played in a game of this magnitude. Quarterback J.T. Barrett has been down this road enough in the past, playing in some of the biggest games there are in college football. This is new to a lot of his teammates, though. On their side is Urban Meyer who has countless times gotten his team up for big games. Urban Meyer is actually a big game coach, dating back to his time at Florida.
Conversely, Bob Stoops isn’t called Big Game Stoops for nothing. The nickname is a play on to how bad his Sooners have been in big games. Oklahoma has been really good at just losing 2 games in a season. However, those losses are always the biggest ones of the season, the ones that do them in. The Sooners would have two of them in just three weeks if they fall this evening.
The Sooners got a tune-up last week against UL Monroe, a 59-17 beat down. There isn’t much to say about that game, as Oklahoma did what they were expected to do. They made it happen in the passing game and on the ground with an array of runners. Joe Mixon rushed for 117 to lead the Sooners, and Mayfield and Austin Kendell combined for 5 touchdowns through the air.
Oklahoma needed a game like that after Houston beat them the previous week. Ohio State had their warmup game as well, against Tulsa in the pouring rain and wind. Despite winning 48-3, I was impressed by the way Tulsa was moving the ball on Ohio State early in the game. The game got out of hand thanks to two pick-6’s late in the first-half. The play-calling for Tulsa during those sequences was some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Stoops has been known for dumb coaching decisions, so we’ll see if he can out do them tonight.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs Oklahoma Sooners NCAAF Betting Odds:
Ohio State -1.5(-110)
vs. Oklahoma +1.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ohio State vs. Oklahoma Pick:
This will be the first test for this young Ohio State team. They opened against Bowling Green and Tulsa. Nothing against Bowling Green and Tulsa, but they aren’t in the same category as Oklahoma. To the Sooners’ credit, they already have a competent opponent under their belt. They didn’t win, but I assume they took something away from that game. A lot of players on Ohio State, both offense and defense, have never played in a game of this caliber, nor have they played against a team this good.
The defensive line of Ohio State was getting pushed around by Tulsa in the 1st quarter, before the Golden Hurricanes began to basically give up. Everybody wants to say how the Ohio State defensive line is going to bully the Oklahoma offensive line. However, I haven’t really seen any evidence of the Buckeyes doing that on defense, yet.
Tulsa were getting 4-5 yards a carry, and they are a team that just throws the ball. They were thrown into that game plan because of the awful wind, with winds around 25-30mph throughout the game. Ohio State took advantage of dumb mistakes by Tulsa to blow that one open. I do not like J.T. Barrett as a passer, I never have. He can run the option, but when he is asked to make a play downfield, things start to get pretty interesting. Ohio State opened up as -2.5 favorites, and the majority of the public is riding the Buckeyes, yet the line is moving in the opposite direction. The Buckeyes haven’t been tested yet, Oklahoma has already played in that environment in a big time game. With everybody fading Stoops in another marquee game, I think his team gets it done against a less experienced program, and jumps back into the college football playoff discussion.
PICK: OKLAHOMA +1.5 (-110)