Some of you may want me to ask “will” the Sooners win bedlam? I think the better question is, do the Sooners have a legitimate chance of winning?
Obviously the Pokes should be favored. They've played better on a more consistent basis than the Sooners. They've only lost one game, in OT, on the road, on a night after devastation hit their campus. Sooner fans can try to say OSU is not that good, but we all know that this might be the best OSU team ever. Offensively they are definitely one of the best in the nation, if not THE best. Defense is their obvious weakness. And in the words of Berry Tramel, “It's about time OSU won Bedlam. If the Cowboys don't win this year, with the better team and the better health and playing at home, when will they ever?”
But the question is still there . . . Can the Sooners win? Not a 10-20% chance, but a serious chance of winning. Really??
In the words of Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend." Think about all their issues. You may have read my previous blog about the defense being broken. It’s true the defense looked better this past week against ISU. But let’s be honest, it was wet, cold, playing at home and uhhhh it was Iowa State. Even though OSU lost to them, don’t expect this defense to hold the Pokes to 6 points. Considering the losses on the offensive side of the ball, I don’t see the Sooners winning a shootout. It would be Baylor all over again. The only legitimate chance the Sooners have is IF their defense plays one of their “good” games. One of the games like they played against FSU or UT or ISU. If they play like they did against TTU or Baylor then it could get ugly. Do you believe this defense will get it done against a good offense? The answer to that question will decide this game.
Consider also the injuries. Is OU really deep enough to overcome injuries to Broyles and Whaley? Is Jaz going to play? Either way, the Sooners will come in short-handed. The biggest loss may be Ronnell Lewis on the defensive front. He is projected to be a first round draft choice and without him in there the pass rush is severely limited. Obviously not a good thing against a largely passing offense. Frank Alexander will most likely see a lot of double-teams and thus limit his impact.
Home field advantage? I don’t think this is as big as some people might suppose. The last 4 games in Stillwater have all been very close with the Sooners coming out on the winning end. This year’s Sooner team hasn't had a big issue playing on the road. They have been as good (or bad) on the road as they have been at home. Advantage Pokes but not decisive.
Many games come down to penalties and turnovers. In the past 2 games the Sooners have turned the ball over SEVEN times total. The main thing that saved them against ISU was the FOUR turnovers they forced. Without those, the game would have most likely gone down to the wire. Almost 100 yards in penalties against Baylor also was a key stat that led to their demise.
On the positive side of the equation the Sooners have a LOT of history on their side, including the last eight wins in a row. As some suggest though, the Pokes are about due for an upset and this year it wouldn’t really be an upset, which is something new, and a little disappointing.
So we’re back to the question: Can the Sooners win bedlam? I say . . . yes? Barely? Ha. I admit that my threshold for saying, Yes, is very low. The odds are probably somewhere in the 30% range, just enough to say, Yes, they can win bedlam!!
BUT . . . It will take an extraordinary defensive effort AND they cannot lose the turnover battle.
The odd part is that at least this year it seems the tables have turned. The question is usually aimed at the Pokes about can they win. And usually it is assumed they can but they don’t.
So will the Sooners win? Now that is another question.