December 3, 2011 – By Scott
The Oklahoma Sooners began the 2011 college football season as the top ranked team in the country and favored by many to win the national championship. However, there is no BCS title game in their future after losses to Texas Tech and Baylor which puts them at 9-2 on the year.
They do still have a shot at a BCS bowl game, but will first have to get past No. 3 Oklahoma State on Saturday night to earn a spot and represent the Big 12 conference.
Salvaging their season is the main focus on the minds of the Sooners but the Cowboys have much bigger hopes at stake. They currently are third in the BCS standings behind No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. Oklahoma State has put their postseason destiny in the hands of the BCS system after a double overtime loss to Iowa State that ruined their undefeated season. A big win over Oklahoma could be enough to land them in the BCS championship game.
“For us right now, we need to prepare to win this game,” coach Mike Gundy said. “If we win this game and we play well and somebody thinks that it’s enough to put us in position to play for that, nobody will be more fired up than I will about it and excited for our players.”
In order for them to have an opportunity to play for it all, they hopefully have found some answers to their recent defensive struggles. In the Iowa State loss, they gave up 568 yards.
Offensively, they face an Oklahoma team that gave up only 245 yards to Iowa State in their 26-6 win over the Cyclones last weekend. They do have an offense that can move the ball though and are led by quarterback Brandon Weeden who has thrown 34 touchdowns this season and is getting 373.3 yards passing per game. However, they cannot afford to turn the ball over as they did against Iowa State. In the loss, they turned the ball over five times.
“It’s real simple,” Gundy said. “If you lose the turnover battle in such a big fashion, it’s extremely hard to win a game.”
The Sooners’ offense has been backed lately by their rushing attack. Oklahoma has rushed for over 120 yards in their last nine games, including 253 yards against Iowa State. Former Heisman hopeful quarterback Landry Jones hasn’t performed up to par recently and has gone two straight games without a touchdown pass.
Oklahoma State will enter the game as 3 1/2-point favorites according to NCAA College Football Betting Lines. The OVER/UNDER in points is set at 70. The Cowboys will be looking to end their 8-game losing skid to the Sooners.