Thursday, September 15, 2005

Last Minute Football Notes

Big Game
OU @ UCLA – Bob Stoops continues to find himself in unfamiliar territory. The Sooners are on the road in Pasadena in a must win situation. OU hasn’t played Texas, Texas A&M or even Oklahoma State yet, but many in the public eye are already writing off a season that is not even three games old yet. This is the Sooners final chance to prove to the college football world that they actually are improving before starting Big 12 Conference play.

What does OU have to do on offense to win? It’s simple, pass the football. That seems easier said than done. OU quarterbacks have thrown for 170 yards, 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in their first two games. Look for OU to be a little more creative using short slants, screens and behind the line passes to try to loosen up the running game for Adrian Peterson. Also, the Sooners may attempt to roll the pocket to buy more time for Rhett Bomar on long passes.

Also look for some running plays by the OU quarterbacks on read plays and mis-directions.

Bottom Line: UCLA will attempt to do what TCU did by stacking the box and daring OU to beat them by passing. If Travis Wilson has a good day receiving and Peterson is able to rush for over a hundred yards, then OU should be in the game with a chance to win in the fourth quarter.

What does OU have to do on defense to win? Find Marcedes Lewis and get pressure on Drew Olson. Lewis is an NFL caliber tight end who can kill you if not accounted for. Look for true freshman safety Reggie Smith to get the opportunity to cover him. Last week OU struggled to find Tulsa tight end Garrett Mills which prompted the switch to using Reggie Smith this week.

Look for different blitz packages in order to harass quarterback Drew Olson. The Sooners are notorious for running zone blitzes against the pass and the run. On Saturday linebackers, safeties and corners should be coming from everywhere in an attempt to wreak havoc in the Bruins’ backfield.

Bottom Line: The defensive backs seem to have improved this season and I like the linebackers matched up with running back Maurice Drew. If the Sooners can account for Lewis and keep Olson on his back the will be in good shape.

Coaching Edge: Has to go to Bob Stoops! It’s time for him to prove his merit. A win in Pasadena will go a long way in squelching criticism from fans and the media. Stoops was great in 2000 embracing the role of the underdog and instilling that “us against the world mentality.” It’s time to bring that back!

Prediction: The Sooners have been pushed into a corner and they have to come out swinging. OU needs this game to save their season and I say they get it. OU 24/UCLA 17

Trying to Get One Back
Troy returns to the scene of the crime where they beat Missouri last season. I don’t see it happening again this year. After a loss last week to New Mexico the Tigers will be out for blood this week, doesn’t look good for the men of Troy.
Prediction: Missouri 45/Troy 21

Don’t Look Now
The Baylor Bears are 2-0 as they head to Army. Baylor should be 3-0 going into conference play after picking up a win at WestPoint.
Prediction: Baylor 13/Army 10

Upset Alert – Pittsburg at Nebraska
How bad has Pittsburg been this year? An embarrassing loss to the Ohio Bobcats sent the Panthers home humbled. In a match-up of former NFL coaches I think there is a very real possibility for an upset here. This just looks like a trap for the Huskers.
Prediction: Pittsburg 24/Nebraska 21

Cream Puff Game of the Week
Sam Houston @ Texas Tech – Wow, do you think the Red Raiders will keep it under 100?
Prediction: Texas Tech 63/Sam Houston 10

Game No One Cares About
I hate to say this but it’s Arkansas State @ OSU
Prediction: No one cares, but it will be nice when the Cowboys finally play a real team on the 1st of October (Colorado).

Other Games of Note
SMU @ Texas A&M – Prediction, A&M 42/SMU 10
Louisiana Tech @ Kansas – Prediction, Kansas 31/ La. Tech 17
Rice @ Texas – Prediction, Texas 63/Rice 3

Teams Off
Colorado - @ Miami 9/24
Iowa State- @ Army 9/23
Kansas State – North Texas 9/24