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BEDLAM HATE WEEK OFFENSIVE PREVIEW #3: A battle for air supremacy

While the running game involves OSU's strength vs OU's weakness on both sides of the ball (based on stats, and stats are for losers), the battle through the air should be a bit more interesting.

So let's dive right into the always, based on Big 12 games only...

  • #3 passing offense (OU) vs #6 passing defense (OSU)
  • #5 passing offense (OSU) vs #1 passing defense (OU)
That doesn't look so good for Oklahoma State. But if we dig a little deeper into the numbers...

Offensive rankings based on yards per attempt and yards per completion...

1 OSU 9.5 1 OSU 15.2
2 BAYLOR 9.2 2 BAYLOR 15.1
3 TEXAS 9 3 TEXAS 13.5
4 OU 8.5 4 K STATE 13
5 K STATE 8.4 5 OU 12.7
6 TECH 7.8 6 TCU 12.5
7 TCU 7.4 7 KANSAS 12.4
8 WV 7.2 8 TECH 11.2
9 IOWA ST 6 9 WV 11
10 KANSAS 5.8 10 IOWA ST 10.6

Defensive rankings based on yards per attempt and yards per completion...
1 OU 6.1 1 K STATE 10.7
2 K STATE 6.5 2 OSU 10.9
3 OSU 6.8 3 OU 11.8
4 TECH 6.9 4 BAYLOR 12.1
5 TEXAS 7.8 5 TECH 12.2
6 BAYLOR 8 6 TEXAS 12.6
TCU 8 7 KANSAS 12.9
8 IOWA ST 8.4 IOWA ST 12.9
9 KANSAS 8.9 9 TCU 13.5
10 WV 11.1 10 WV 15.9

So now, if we look at the matchups based on these numbers...
  • #1 YPA offense (OSU) vs #1 YPA defense (OU)
  • #1 YPC offense (OSU) vs #3 YPC defense (OU)
  • #4 YPA offense (OU) vs #3 YPA defense (OSU)
  • #5 YPC offense (OU) vs #2 YPC defense (OSU)
This suddenly looks a little more like the battle of the titans...or at least strength vs strength. In fact, if we throw in Yards Per Play from the total offense and total defense categories, you get...
  • #1 offense (OSU tied w/Baylor, 6.9) vs #3 defense (OU, 5.5)
  • #3 offense (OU, 6.8) vs #1 defense (OSU, 5.3)
Yea baby. That's starting to sound like some quality football.

The biggest reason for the discrepancy in the passing offense numbers for the Cowboys is...balance. Having a potent running game means teams have to bring up help. That opens up passing lanes and makes room for YAC. OSU doesn't need to pile up yards throwing the ball, although they are very capable of doing so.

But what about the defensive numbers? Both defenses face about the same # of plays per game...OSU 67.5, OU 64.3...but how that is divided up between pass and run is interesting:
  • OSU faces, on average, 31.5 rushing attempts per game and 36 passing attempts
  • OU faces, on average, 34.9 rushing attempts per game and 29.4 passing attempts
So, in essence, each teams' strengths push opponents to the other option...or maybe each teams' weakness means opponents don't have to utilize the other option. I'm not sure.

This is the area where I think the game will be decided, much like last year. OSU didn't have to pass prolifically because they were able to run at will. OU wasn't able to mount any credible passing game as OSU's defense slowed them to a crawl and pressured Laundry into submission.

On a side note...OSU has utilized 3 QB's this season. The Cowboy pass offense ranks THIRD in pass efficiency. None of the QB's have enough attempts to qualify for the individual PE rankings, but if you put them in anyway, it would look like this
8-Laundry Jones

And who's starting on Saturday? I believe that would be #1...

So there you go. I think, based on everything I've seen, minus turnovers, OSU should actually control this game. They are the stronger, more physical team, but also have speed. But turnovers can be the end of that. Two of the Cowboys' three losses were the result of 4 and 5 turnover games. OU will need at least two of those Saturday (and none of their own), or this could be a long day for them in Norman.

My prediction...I'll stick to my podcast proclimation...44-17, a game very similar to last season's beat down.