Happy Bedlam Eve.
It’s almost here, folks. Let us gather around for this week’s roundtable. As always, leave your answers in the comments below.
After a long bye week, Bedlam is upon us. But first, let’s revisit the TCU game. What were you most impressed with in the win against the Horned Frogs?
Phillip Slavin: The defense impressed me. It was the best example of the "bend-don't-break" philosophy I've seen all season. TCU got yards, but when it mattered (at the goal line) OSU got stops.
Joel Penfield: The defense stepped up against a TCU offense that put up big points the previous two weeks. Holding any Big 12 team to only 6 points is a tall task. That should be a huge confident boost for the OSU defense heading into Saturday.
Christopher Snodgrass: I was definitely most impressed with the defense, particularly the run defense. We all knew Kenny Hill was inconsistent and erratic coming in, but Hicks came in on a tear and the Cowboys held him to 1.9 yards per carry.
Tyler Weiderhoeft: The defense blew me away against TCU. Only allowing 6 points to a team that scored 62 against Baylor? Incredible. Doing it on their home turf in Fort Worth? *faints* If Sanders wouldn't have fumbled that punt that gave them the ball on the 10 yard line, I believe we would've had a shutout against the Horned Frogs.
Sumer Wensman: Clearly defense. We held them to a little over 300 yards total and had 2 interceptions.
Austin Higgs: Seems to be the obvious answer here, but the defense was outstanding. A true team win. If they play like that against OU, we will be sittin' pretty.
Gallagher Martin: The defense was incredible. The only points they gave up was a touchdown that was set up by a muffed put deep in our own territory. We'll need a similar performance on Saturday. Chris Carson and Justice Hill were also animals on the ground.
Since the cowboys have been on their current seven game winning streak, Mason Rudolph's draft stock has been rising every week. What are the chances he forgoes his senior season and enters the NFL draft?
Phillip: I think what happens the next two games will have a big impact. I think people are going to pay attention to how he performs against OU and in the bowl, which could determine how high he's projected to go in the draft.
Joel: Mason Rudolph has proved during this 7 game win streak he is an NFL-caliber quarterback. But, I think another year of college will benefit him more than leaving now. By the same token, I can see him wanting to go now because of a weak QB class, it's something he could take advantage of. I'll say there's about a 35% chance he leaves.
Christopher: It's probably just a case of it never being guys I follow closely, but I can't remember a player's draft projections being this all over the place. Some have him in the top ten, some have him out of the first round completely. He does seem to be a guy who genuinely enjoys the college experience, but if he finishes the season strong and grades out as a first round pick, I'd say there's a 60% chance he leaves. With the unknowns of two remaining games and that all-important evaluation players can request, I'd drop it down to 45% for now.
Tyler: Uggggggggh another math question... I think he leaves either way, because I believe he has been flying up draft boards. I'll say 75% if we win Bedlam, 60% if we don't.
Sumer: He'll stay. He just will.
Austin: Have a weird feeling that Washington is the more likely Cowboy to leave. I think there is a 75-80% chance Mason comes back next season. I don't have any "inside sources" though, so don't take this seriously. Lol
Gallagher: I think he can help his draft stock a lot more by coming back for his senior year. I saw one projection that had him as a top 10 pick. I think that's unrealistic. If he comes back for his senior year, he's easily a first round pick in 2018.
Now on to bedlam. We know that both offenses have big-time playmakers and are super explosive, but is it safe to say that OSU has the better defense? Feels like the first time in a long time you can ask that in a bedlam matchup.
Phillip: I think our secondary is better, but I don't know if our run defense is. Overall yes OSU's defense has looked better lately. However, his is Bedlam. Things don't always shake out the way we think.
Joel: I feel OSU does have the better defense, albeit by a slight margin, but it is better. I think OSU is a much more opportunist defense when it comes to forcing turnovers, and that will be the biggest key in the game.
Christopher: I don't think the there's much of an advantage either way defensively. These two defenses are quite similar statistically. In terms of total defense, these two teams are within two yards per game of each other. In terms of scoring defense, there's only a field goal difference. It's easy to pick on the Sooner pass defense, but in pass defense efficiency, OSU's rating is 132.4 and OU's is 133.0. What about run defense? Both teams come in giving up exactly 4.5 yards per carry. What about turnovers? The OSU defense thrives on turnovers, forcing a league leading 23 on the season compared to OU's 16, but OU has actually forced six red zone turnovers compared to just one for OSU. That stat helps give OU the top ranked red zone defense in the league. They allow touchdowns on just 46% of opponent red zone opportunities. OSU gives up touchdowns on 60% of such drives. There are recent trends that suggest OSU's defense may be playing better coming in, and injuries could be a factor as well, but over the course of the season, these two defenses have been really similar in a lot of ways.
Tyler: I mean, if you look at the stats we have the better defense. Paper doesn't say it all though. I guarantee we have a better passing defense, since OU is 9th in conference in passing D, ahead of only Tortilla Tech. Run D can be a bit sketchy at times, and OU has 2 great running backs. Glenn Spencer's D is gonna get a test. I know that much. Our defense has been good at making the adjustment throughout the season, and also coming up big in key spots. We are gonna need a WHOLE LOTTA THAT on Saturday.
Sumer: I did the math the other day and OU has allowed an average of 4 more points a game than OSU. So yeah, we could have the better defense.
Austin: I don't think it's "safe to say", but obviously OU's defense isn't as strong as it historically has been. Injuries on the defensive side of the ball have not been kind to the Sooners, and that clearly doesn't help them at all. I dunno. I think with health in consideration, yeah, we have the better defense.
Gallagher: First time since 2011 probably since Oklahoma State has had the better defense. And they do. The OU secondary is actually awful. The rushing defense is formidable, but I think we have the edge on defense.
Break down the OU game. Which matchups are you most intrigued by? What does each team need to do in order to secure a win on Saturday?
Phillip: I think Rudolph and the receivers vs OU's secondary is the most important matchup. If Rudolph plays at a high level, OSU will have. I problem scoring. The other one will be OU's run game against our run defense. This will be the best run game we've faced all season. If we can slow it down, we have a real chance in the game.
Joel: I'm interested the most to see the star receivers on each team (Washington and Westbrook) against the two secondaries. Both at times give up big plays and long touchdowns. It's going to come down to which receiver or secondary can make the big play in the 4th quarter.
Christopher: I am most intrigued by Joe Mixon versus the Cowboy pass defense and the OSU offensive line versus the Sooners defensive front. Dede Westbrook could well have his way with the OSU secondary on Saturday, but the way the Sooners use Mixon in the passing game scares me, especially considering the fact that OSU's linebackers have struggled mightily in coverage at times this season. The OU defense is somewhat stout against the run, ranking second in the Big 12 in rushing yards allowed, but some of that is due to the fact that teams have so much success throwing the ball against the Sooners. OU is giving up 4.5 yards per carry on the season, which is the exact same as OSU's defense. I don't think the Cowboys need to outrush the Sooners, but they need to run the ball effectively to have a chance to win, so the performance of the offensive line will be huge. I think OSU's path to a Bedlam victory looks pretty familiar - win the turnover battle, limit the big plays defensively, and be balanced offensively. For OU, I think it comes down to running the ball, getting red zone stops, and not turning the ball over.
Tyler: I'm curious to see how the run game for both teams will work out. With the cold and the rain, I think this game will be won on the ground, because it will be tougher for both QBs to throw the ball. As much as I want to see an air raid for Bedlam, my head is telling me it's going to be a game won in the trenches. Alternatively, I'm going to be watching the Cowboy defense. The defense is tied for 20th best in the nation with 23 takeaways, and if we want to win in Norman, we are going to have to force some turnovers, while taking care of the ball ourselves. The rain and cold will likely help OU and their garbage secondary.
Sumer: VTay v. anyone on OU's offense is my favorite matchup. He leads our team in sacks and blocked field goals. It really will come down to defense, and I've seen OSU's do some magic stuff. Oh, and we have a better QB. But I've seen OU do some pretty brutal things in inclement weather. I'm just hoping Mase keeps his head and his receivers do their jobs as well.
Austin: Even though, technically, they won't be matched up against each other... Washington vs. Westbrook is the matchup I'm most interested in. Washington has been super quiet regarding this, but I want to see if he has taken offense to Westbrook receiving all this national attention. Obviously being an OSU fan, I'd love for Washington to catch 10 balls, for 250 yards and three TD's. But we'll see. As far as the game itself, if our defense plays like they did against TCU, I think we win by 20. Offensively, it's clear that this team is at it's best when Carson and Hill are active. If OSU can find success on the ground, and open up the passing game, we'll have Mike Stoops opening up a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle by halftime.
Gallagher: Outside of Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma has ZERO receivers with over 430 receiving yards or even 30 catches. Oklahoma State has four dangerous wide receivers and a couple dangerous Cowboy backs. Oklahoma State has a clear edge in the passing category. It's obvious that the Oklahoma threat comes on the ground with the three-headed douche monster of Perine, Mayfield and Mixon. If the OSU defense can contain them, not shut them out, just contain the rushing attack, I'll feel pretty good about our chances.
Phillip: OU 40 - OSU 38. I can NEVER predict an OSU win in Bedlam.
Joel: It's so hard to pick OSU purely because OU has won this game about 85% of the time. But, I am really confident OSU can go into Norman and win the Big 12. I'll go 38-34 OSU.
Christopher: 42-31 Sooners. If the forecast of cold rain holds up, it could really limit Mason Rudolph and the Cowboy passing attack (so could Road Rudolph) and the fact is OU has a better run game and a better short, quick passing game than the Cowboys. I think their offense can function better in adverse conditions than OSU's can. And I think that ends up being the difference.
Tyler: Time for a little Bedlam history. The last time the series was in Norman was 2014. It was on December 3rd. It was cold and foggy. OSU won on a Ben Grogan field goal after Tyreek Hill had a punt return for a touchdown to beat the Sooners 38-35. You all remember that game, right? Well, this year is eerily similar. Saturday is December 3rd, it will be cold and rainy, the game is in Norman, and I'm predicting Ben Grogan will once again kick the field goal to win. We haven't had one yet, and he is running out of chances to do it this year before he graduates. Grogan with the game winning field goal in his final Bedlam game - 38-35 OSU.
Sumer: 38- 35 OU. I picked us last year, and look how that turned out.
Austin: 42-35, Pokes.
Gallagher: I don't know about this. I've been an Oklahoma State fan for 19 years and I never feel confident about Bedlam. This year I'm feeling strangely optimistic... 51-45 (OT) Oklahoma State
Bonus question. Pick one scenario:
Saw this on Twitter from Pistols Firing, thought it was an intriguing question.
OSU wins Bedlam - Rudolph and Washington leave for the NFL
OSU loses Bedlam - Rudolph and Washington return for their senior seasons
Phillip: I'll take the Bedlam win. There's no way to predict next season. I'll take the now.
Joel: I would much rather win Bedlam. I would hate to see both of them go, but a rivalry win and a conference championship will be huge momentum builders heading into next year.
Christopher: I would absolutely forfeit Bedlam right now if it guaranteed Rudolph and Washington return for next season. No question
Tyler: I'll take the L 100-0 if it ensures we will have #RudolphtoWashington one more year.
Sumer: I'll see your Bedlam win, and raise you a staying pair. We win and we keep them.
Gallagher: We've got depth at wide receivers and Oklahoma State has a good tradition of replacing great quarterbacks with more great quarterbacks. I'll take a Bedlam win and a Big 12 championship please.