Jake Trotter of Sooner Nation joined me to trade a few emails about what’s going to happen on Saturday.
Kyle Porter: Ok Jake, I’ve been reading a lot about how Norman isn’t the same Norman and OSU isn’t the same OSU of the past. Do you buy that the Cowboys (and others) have exercised demons of seasons gone by or is that just orange nation trying to make themselves feel better about Saturday?
Jake Trotter: I agree. The Sooners no longer hold the same majestic home-field advantage they once did. And this is a different OSU football program than the one we grew up with.
But does that means the Cowboys will go into Norman, where they’ve been obliterated their last four trips, and win? OU’s two home losses in 2012 were to last week’s No. 1 and then this week’s No. 1. The Cowboys haven’t been the same team away from Boone Pickens Stadium, either.
Yes, OSU exercised demons by knocking off OU in a game with something on the line. But there’s a difference between doing that at home and doing it on the road.
KP: People act like OU’s all of a sudden this liability in Norman when the reality is that they lost to two pretty great teams. I think the home winning thing under Stoops, while impressive, always rang a little hollow to me because rarely did they get a big time squad (since the UT game is in Dallas).
Sure, they got Nebraska every fourth year and maybe A&M or Tech had some strong teams…but nothing like the Big 12 teams that have emerged lately.
You obviously watch OU every week, what’s the one thing they do poorly enough that if OSU exploits it the Cowboys are going to come away with a W?
JT: If OSU is able to run the ball, the best OU could hope for is another shootout win. After the last two weeks, I can guarantee shoring up the run defense has been the No. 1 emphasis in practice.
The silver lining for the Sooners is that Mike Stoops’ awful no linebacker scheme has had more to do with the hapless run defense than the players on the field.
With a better scheme — and any scheme would be better — the Sooners figure to be more solid. Then again, the Cowboys can pound the ball as well as anyone in the league. And if they get Randle and Smith going on the ground against an average OU front, the Sooners will be on their heels again.
KP: Tavon Austin nightmares, part II.
Clint Chelf in his first start on the road, doesn’t really know any better. Landry Jones in his last start at home with the full gamut of emotions on display? Advantage __________?
JT: I like Chelf. I think he’s been OSU’s best quarterback this season (and he, Walsh or Lunt could all start for Texas). But the Sooners have the edge at QB. No one wants to seems to acknowledge it, but Landry has been terrific since the Kansas State loss.
OU would have gotten run out of Morgantown without him, too. The Cowboys have the better front seven, the better offensive line and the better running backs. But they do not have the edge at QB. Agree?
KP: I think people who would choose Chelf over Landry for a four-year career are misguided, if not downright foolish. But for one game, I’m not so sure.
There are just so many emotions and other things you have to manage on senior night, especially when you’ve given so much of yourself to the program like Landry has. Consider the last basketball game in old GIA when a not-as-good OU team beat Desmond and Gottlieb’s best team on senior night.
I’m not saying Chelf is better than Landry, not by any means — but for one game, this game, I think ignorance might be bliss and the bandwagon might have a few more passengers come Saturday night.
(seems like a train joke could have been squeezed in there somewhere, alas).
OK, we’ve rambled long enough. I know you’re picking OU to win 31-30 but give my O-State readers a few reasons behind that pick.
JT: You could end up being right. But give me the QB who’s played in a dozen big games like this before versus one making his first career road start in Norman.
As for my pick, I like the Sooners in a close one for the following reasons:
1. The Cowboys have not been competitive in Norman the last four trips, even though in every one of them, there were reasons for OSU optimism like this year.
2. With Stills, Saunders, Brown and Shepard making plays, the OU passing game is firing on all cylinders and will be very difficult for an inconsistent OSU secondary to defend.
3. The OU defense has actually been pretty good when they haven’t been running that goofy 7 DB defense.
If this game were in Stillwater, I would be picking the Cowboys, where they’ve been prolific. They haven’t been so prolific on the road.
You can follow Jake on Twitter here. He always has good stuff…even for somebody who covers OU.