Mason Young, assistant sports editor: Sooners 36, Cowboys 33
The “scene of uproar and confusion” that typically encompasses the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State rivalry should be no different in Norman, Saturday.
It’s two of the best teams in the Big 12 squaring off in a game that will likely decide the conference’s champion. While the Cowboys have seen significant hiccups recently in the form of a loss to Texas and a close call against Kansas State, the Sooners appear to be hitting their stride.
Expect senior running back Rhamondre Stevenson to run wild against a pedestrian 40th ranked run defense, giving up 142.17 yards per game. The Sooner defense should also lock things down, going up against a 90th ranked offensive line, allowing over two sacks per game. The Cowboys are also 92nd in turnover margin, providing an all-around enticing matchup for Speed D.
Chandler Engelbrecht, senior sports reporter: Cowboys 31, Sooners 30
This season’s installment of Bedlam is one of the more unpredictable ones to date. Despite being ranked four spots lower than the Cowboys, the Sooners are a touchdown favorite in this one according to oddsmakers. With Oklahoma leading the Big 12 in both total offensive yards and points scored per game, betting on OU to top Oklahoma State isn’t unjustified.
However, OSU’s defense is statistically better than any other the Sooners have lined up against this year. The Cowboys are only allowing 17.8 points per game, which is tied for the Big 12’s best. Oklahoma State’s secondary has also given up the least amount of total passing yards among Big 12 teams this season — making the matchup between it and OU’s conference-leading passing attack one that is worth the watch.
On the other side of the ball, if the Cowboys can roll out a healthy trio of Spencer Sanders, Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma will have more than enough problems to worry about. In a Zoom press conference on Wednesday, Sooner defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said it “doesn’t get a whole lot tougher” than containing the OSU offense.
I predict that the first half will go mainly the Cowboys’ way, but a huge second-half performance by Rhamondre Stevenson will put Oklahoma in position to win this one before a failed two-point conversion seals the Sooners’ fate in the closing seconds.
Caleb McCourry, sports editor: Sooners 45, Cowboys 35
OU’s main concern is containing Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallce, two of the most dangerous offensive threats in the Big 12.
Last season, the Sooner defense under first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch held Hubbard to 104 yards and a touchdown in Stillwater. With the OU’s defensive line looking better than it has in recent years (No. 13 in rushing defense in the FBS), I think the Sooners will be able to keep a lid on last season’s leading rusher in the FBS.
Wallace has 588 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns this season. It’s unlikely he’ll finish the season with the same kinds of numbers he’s had the past two seasons — 1,491 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018, 903 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns in 2019 — but his hands can still be trouble for OU’s cornerbacks. OU currently averages 239 receiving yards-per-game, but luckily OSU’s second-leading receiver has 391 fewer yards this season. Wallace, who averages 16.8 yards per catch, can turn Saturday sideways for the Sooners’ defense.
If the Sooners are able to contain Hubbard and Wallace, they’re in the clear. On offense, I think Rhamondre Stevenson will have a big night. Spencer Rattler has a challenge against OSU’s passing defense, which currently ranks No. 8 in the FBS, but he’s gotten more comfortable throughout the season despite a rocky start. I’ll take the Sooners on their home turf.