Our season preview now takes us to what will be the biggest game of the regular season...Bedlam. Normally at the end of the season, the game has been moved to the first week of November so Bedlam wouldn't be played on back to back weeks should the two schools go to the Big 12 Championship game.
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater
When: November 4, 2017
The Opponent: OU
2016 Record: 11-2 (9-0)
Key Losses: Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine, Orlando Brown, Dede Westbrook, Jordan Evans
Key Returners: Baker Mayfield, Emmanuel Beal, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Orlando Brown
After a rocky start to the season, OU rattled off 10 wins in a row to end the season. They won the Big 12 Championship for the second year in a row, and won the Sugar Bowl in 35-19 victory over Auburn. Led by Baker Mayfield at quarterback, he was a Heisman trophy finalist last season. He finished the season with 3965 yards and 40 touchdowns, as well as a 196.4 passer rating, which is the best mark in NCAA history. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine were a two headed monster at running back, both rushing for over 1000 yards. Dede Westbrook, the Biletnikoff award winner, had 1524 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. Jordan Evans was the mainstay on defense, the senior had 98 tackles and 4 interceptions on the season.
It was a rainy day in Norman, Oklahoma. Bedlam was the quasi-Big 12 Championship game for the second year in a row. The game started slow, but OU ran away the game, winning 38-20. Perine ran for 239 yards, Mayfield threw for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Cowboys never were able to put consistent drives together. Mason Rudolph only threw for 186 yards on the day, and Justice Hill ran for 99 yards on 16 carries.
The Cowboys return much of their offensive firepower, while OU does not. Mixon, Perine, and Westbrook all left for the NFL Draft. While Mayfield is an excellent quarterback, he's left with a lot of unproven talent surrounding him. He will operate behind arguably the best offensive line in the country, however. On the defensive side of the ball, Emmanuel Beal and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo lead the way for the Sooners. The secondary, even with another year of experience, still is not very good and will have has a lot of prove. The Cowboys were not able to throw down the field much last year, but with an improved offensive line and a much deeper wide receiver group, the Sooner defense will have its hands full.
Admittedly, I am torn on where to go here. I do believe Oklahoma State is the better team, but I've seen Oklahoma State do Oklahoma State things in Bedlam and play down in a game that is winnable. Mayfield is an excellent quarterback, but I don't know if he has enough talent around him to make a difference against an offense in the Cowboys that should be able to score at will. If Mike Gundy coaches this game to WIN, and not to not lose, the Cowboys should win this game. It will be close though.
Cowboys 44, Sooners 42
Oklahoma State record through week 8: 8-0, 5-0 Big 12