Oklahoma is ranked and Kansas State is not. Oklahoma is a 28-point favorite and Kansas State is not. Oklahoma is playing at home, where it has won a nation’s best 27-straight games, and Kansas State is not.
On the surface, this game is a mismatch.
But, at 5-3, the Wildcats do own a better record than the Sooners. Having won their last two games, they are also riding a longer winning streak than Oklahoma.
They are little things that won’t mean much once the game starts, but they have given K-State a jolt of confidence.
And with a Big 12 North title as their goal, the Wildcats are going to be ready to compete in Norman today.
So even though the Sooners appear to be holding all the cards in this matchup, K-State is capable of making this game more interesting than the experts predict.
Oklahoma haters have labeled the Sooners as the worst ranked team in the country.
As the only team in either poll to enter the week with three losses (No. 14 Virginia Tech is also now 5-3 after losing to North Carolina on Thursday) there probably is something to that claim.
But take a look at the flip side of that argument: If not for Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Sam Bradford going down against BYU and Texas, Oklahoma could have easily turned two close losses into wins.
Had Bradford been available at Miami (OU’s other loss) the Sooners could have won that game too.
Instead, Oklahoma lost three games to three ranked teams by a combined five points.
If you look at it that way, the Sooners are five points away from being in the national championship conversation.
That’s the way most K-State players are looking at Oklahoma right now. They respect the Sooners very much, and think highly of the way they have bounced back without Bradford.
Now that freshman quarterback Landry Jones has taken over the job for good, he is loosening up and so are his coaches. He looked better than he had all season last week, throwing for 252 yards and two touchdowns during a rout of Kansas, and is feeling good heading back to his home turf.
Oklahoma’s defense is extremely strong, too, and has allowed seven points at home all year. The Sooners first two home games were shutouts. Baylor finally scored a touchdown against them on Oct. 10.
About Kansas State
K-State coach Bill Snyder doesn’t think his team matches up well against Oklahoma.
He believes the Wildcats will face their toughest opponent of the season today, and he very well could be right.
K-State will need to play one of its best games on offense, defense and special teams to have a chance.
Players say they are up for the challenge, though. Grant Gregory wants to face a tough secondary, Jeffrey Fitzgerald wants to line up against a talented defensive front and Tysyn Hartman wants the chance to earn respect.
The margin for error will be small, but K-State can succeed against Oklahoma.
If Brandon Banks can get things going with a few solid returns and K-State’s defense can put its offense in good positions (as it has done time and time again the past two weeks) the Wildcats will be in business.
If not, it could be a long night.
When Oklahoma runs the ball: Oklahoma
When Oklahoma throws the ball: Oklahoma
When K-State runs the ball: K-State
When K-State throws the ball: Oklahoma
Special Teams: K-State
Prediction: Oklahoma 35-7