The battle of Oklahoma will be waged on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The host Oklahoma Sooners bring a #6 ranking and a mark of 8-1 to the table, while the visiting Oklahoma State Cowboys enter the game with a mark of 5-4.
Don’t let the disparity in records turn you off of this one. Two of the Cowboys losses have been incredibly tight, and the club has some chops on both offense and defense. As for the Sooners, their lone blemish came in the Red River Showdown versus the rival Texas Longhorns.
They’re currently first in the Big 12 and looking for another feather in the cap to bolster its standing in the College Football Playoff rankings. We can only assume they would love for that to come at the expense of a major rival. The intensity level tends to get ratcheted up for noted rivalry games, and we’re expecting nothing less than that for this one.
This is a nationally televised contest on ABC, and it shapes up to be an entertaining one. Let’s take a look at this in-state rivalry in depth, starting with the way the oddsmakers see things.
Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma, 3:30 PM EST, ABC
- Oklahoma State +21 (-108)
- Oklahoma -21 (-112)
- Oklahoma State +950
- Oklahoma -1450
- Over 79.5 (-108)
- Under 79.5 (-112)
Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma pick:
Oklahoma State enters this contest with a record of 5-4. A once-promising season has given way to disappointment, as the Cowboys have dropped three of their last four. That said, the program has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and it can still make life difficult for its Big 12 rivals, including this Saturday’s game with in-state rival Oklahoma.
Two weeks ago, Oklahoma State hit a high note with a big 38-35 victory over Texas, but that was followed up with a disappointing 35-31 loss to Baylor. That two-game stretch serves as a microcosm of the Cowboys 2018 season: they’re more than talented enough to hang with the big boys, but consistency has been a trouble spot.
On the season, Oklahoma State is scoring an average of 38.3 points per game while allowing 29.9. There’s plenty of balance on offense, as the Cowboys have strength in both the running and passing games. Standouts include QB Taylor Cornelius and RB Justice Hill, as well as talented wideout Tylan Wallace. Putting points on the board is not an issue for Oklahoma State, but they have been held in check by schools such as Texas Tech and Kansas State.
The defense is pretty balanced overall, but Oklahoma State brings a ferocious pass rush to the table. The team’s 33 sacks are good enough for second in the nation, behind only Northern Illinois. Looking ahead, Oklahoma closes out the season with a home game versus West Virginia and a road tilt at TCU. Bowl eligibility will be a big focus for the team over the final three weeks.
Outside of the loss to Texas, 2018 has been relatively smooth sailing for Oklahoma. However, last week’s game versus Texas Tech evolved into a shootout, with the Sooners walking away with a 51-46 victory when all was said and done. That marked the fifth time this season that the Sooners have dropped a 50 spot on opponents, which is a trick they have turned in four of the last five.
For the year, Oklahoma is averaging 49.1 points per game while allowing 27.9. The offense is led by Kyler Murray, who would be a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate if Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t playing out of his mind. Murray has 38 total touchdowns on the year, and he’s complemented in the offense by RB Trey Sermon, and a stellar pair of wideouts in Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb.
Defensively, the Sooners are pretty balanced on an overall basis, but the team has only generated 20 sacks through nine games. Once this game is in the books, Oklahoma will close out the regular season with a home game versus Kansas and a pivotal road showdown with Big 12 rival West Virginia, the current #9 team in the nation.
Known as the Bedlam Series, this is one of the most historic rivalries in all of College Football. The first meeting happened way back in 1904 when Oklahoma laid a beating on what was then known as Oklahoma A&M by a score of 75-0. All told, the Sooners have a dominant 87-18-7 all-time edge in this entertaining rivalry.
That dominance has carried over into the past decade as well. Over the last 10 meetings between these two programs, Oklahoma has a record of 8-2 straight up and 7-3 against the spread. The Over has been the correct choice six times over that span, including in three of the last four years. Last year’s contest was an absolute points fest.
The Sooners were 62-52 road victors in a game in which they were one-point underdogs. The projected total of 76 points was completely obliterated as these two squads exchanged scores in an entertaining affair – albeit one that may have caused some head pain for defensive purists. The projected total has been jacked up to 79.5 points for this years meeting, and Oklahoma is a big 21-point home favorite.
While Oklahoma gets the nod as the more talented squad on paper, a three-touchdown spread would not have held water in seven of the last ten meetings between these two schools. The majority of games over that span have been at least relatively close, and Oklahoma State is far from a pushover this season. Quite simply, the Cowboys are better than their record suggests.
That said, the bottom line is that they haven’t delivered enough W’s. We’re not expecting them to deliver one here either on the Sooners home turf versus a team with its sights set on big things in the postseason. However, Oklahoma State has enough talent to keep this one interesting into the fourth quarter.
We’ll take Oklahoma State plus the points in what should be another entertaining game.