When the ball is kicked off Saturday morning at 11a.m., the current forecast is for the temperature to be sixteen degrees, 95% cloud cover, 54% humidity, a six mph wind from the NE and a 7% chance of snow.
I am assuming the field has been and will continue to be covered until time for the teams warmup(?) on Saturday morning.
I have many other assumptions:
1)The seldom sold out and tiny Boone Pickens stadium will not be at capacity(they WILL NOT sell available seats to OU fans) .
2)The ball will be difficult to hold, throw or catch, as it will feel like a heavy, slick rock.
3)Turnovers and special teams will be of even more importance than normal.
4)The team that can run the ball most consistently and effectively will have the advantage.
I don’t recall this game having been played in these types of conditions in a very long time. In fact, I watched the 1983 Bedlam Ice Bowl game. I remember the conditions were bad and that from a spectators perspective it was less than entertaining, but looking back now and with information that wasn’t available then, it was quite the event.
This year’s Bedlam game has some interesting aspects. This is only the sixth time in this 109 year Bedlam series(can’t really call it a rivalry, OU leads all-time 83-17-7) that OSU is ranked higher than OU.
Here are the major ramifications:
1)If OSU wins, they are the Big 12 Conference champions, even if UT beats Baylor, as OSU beat UT.
2)If OU wins, the Big 12 Conference champion will be Baylor if they beat UT.
3)If OU wins and UT beats Baylor…decorum prevents me from saying exactly how I would feel about that.
I don’t expect the passing game to be a consistent factor in this game, with the exception of some big plays, and believe that the running game will be the deciding factor in who wins.
So which team has the most effective running game? Well, the answer is found not only in each teams rushing game, but in their respective rushing defense, as well. According to NCAA stats we know the following:
OU is 15th in rush offense with 242.3 yards per game vs. OSU’s rush defense at 21st yielding 130.0 yards per game.
OSU is 59th in rush offense with 169.5 yards per game vs. OU’s rush defense at 24th yielding 132.7 yards per game.
OSU is also the 5th ranked red zone defense and are ranked 2nd in turnover margin.</blockquote>
I believe both teams will use heavy sets in their rushing game(it worked for Baylor and UT against OU) and both teams will load their defenses to stop the run, leaving one on one coverage on the receivers.
OU’s offensive line has performed well this season, but coming into this game a few injuries on the O-line are a concern, one an ankle injury from two weeks ago and a back injury from three weeks ago. They have capable back ups if they can’t start, but depth becomes a concern.
OU’s running backs are capable, but there are concerns. First, FB Trey Millard(the best FB in college football) was lost for the season with a knee injury; starting RB Damien Williams has been removed from the team for violating team/university policies(3 suspensions in one season). That leaves the rushing attack to two Senior RBs, with true freshman Keith Ford expecting to get quite a few carries. Ford is an incredibly powerful RB and punishes tacklers, while also having excellent speed and vision. Ford had a fumble in a game several weeks ago and was in the dog house for a while. I’m certain ball security is a much higher priority for him now.
We know a little more about OSU’s offense than OU’s, as they have been utilizing the same QB for most of the season. OU has only recently been using R-Fr QB Trevor Knight, with good results and Knight performed admirably in a cold and hostile K-St stadium.
As with every Bedlam game, expect the unexpected and expect many points to be scored.
I hope to not see this:
I would truly love to see this:
**Post Script** Congratulations to OU Senior Center Gabe Ikard for being named Academic All-American of the Year. A fantastic accomplishment from a great kid and football player.