Maybe the biggest non-conference matchup of week 3 of the 2011 season features two of the most successful programs in recent college football history with the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) of the Big 12 traveling to Tallahassee, FL to take on the 5th ranked Florida St. Seminoles (2-0) of the ACC this Saturday night (8:00pm ET). This game is a must win for both teams if they have aspirations of playing in the BCS National Championship Game this season. FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, now in his second year at the helm would like to put his stamp on the program and avenge the Seminoles blowout loss to OU last season. The Sooners opened their season with a 47-14 win over a Tulsa team that was no pushover at 9-3 last season. FSU has yet to be challenged and rolled over inferior opponents with a 34-0 whitewashing of Louisiana-Monroe in the opener and a 62-10 demolition of Charleston Southern last week.
Oklahoma has an experienced QB in Landry Jones (4,718 yards passing, 65.6% completion rate with 38 TDs in 2010) to direct an offense that features as many explosive players as any unit in the country. Receivers Ryan Broyles (131 receptions, 1,622 yards and 14 TDs in 2010) and Kenny Stills along with running back Dominique Whaley (7.3 YPC and 4 TDs against Tulsa) are all big time players, and FSU will have trouble keeping all of those weapons in check. On defense, OU gave up some big plays against Tulsa, with the Golden Hurricane rolling up over 400 yards of offense. For FSU, QB EJ Manuel has plenty of experience stepping in for Christian Ponder the past two seasons, and he played extensively in the second half of last year’s game against OU going 4 for 8 for 109 yards and a TD in garbage time. Freshman running back James Wilder Jr. has looked impressive in limited action, averaging 7.6 YPC; and receivers Rodney Smith (14.1 yards per reception) and Rashad Greene (3 TDs in 2010) will be counted on to make big plays in the passing game. The Seminoles offensive line has not played much as a unit due to injuries and will need to jell quickly as protecting Manuel will be of utmost importance in this game. On defense, cornerback Greg Reid returns from a suspension last week and will be counted on heavily to slow down OU’s Broyles and Stills.
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Oklahoma vs. Florida St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Oklahoma Sooners -3
@ Florida St. Seminoles +3
Over 55 (-110)
Under 55 (-110)
Oklahoma vs. Florida St. Pick:
In last season’s meeting, the Sooners destroyed FSU by a score of 47-14 in Norman. Their other previous meeting, for the BCS National Championship in January of 2001, was also won by Oklahoma. The under is 7-1 in the Sooners last 8 games on grass and 7-2 in their last 9 games in September. The under is 6-2 in the Seminoles last 8 home games and 10-4 in their last 14 games overall.
The Sooners have had two weeks to prepare for this game, and have a more experienced coaching staff and more top athletes than Florida St. With an experienced offense loaded with big-time playmakers, Oklahoma has the capability to move up and down the field against any team in the country. FSU has not shown that they have the consistent running game necessary to slow down the game and keep the dynamic Sooner offense on the sidelines. Oklahoma has many of the same offensive skill players back from the unit that ran all over FSU last season, and they have more experience in the national spotlight than FSU does. The big play ability and experience of the OU offense will be the difference in this game. FSU will keep the game closer than they did last year with the home crowd behind them, but in the end the Sooners have more than enough firepower to cover the 3 point spread with ease.