Mizzou/Oklahoma Predictions Revisited
The hype was insane. ESPN’s College Gameday was broadcasting live from Columbia, Missouri where the school that invented homecoming was hosting the #1 team in the BCS standings with thousands of alumni in town. People were tabbing Saturday’s match-up as the biggest game ever at Faurot Field. Mizzou and Oklahoma were both 6-0 overall and unbeaten within the conference.
The Sooners ascended to the top spot in the BCS standings by getting through a tough non-conference schedule unscathed and winning their first two Big 12 games. They had close calls against Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati, but ultimately pulled each game out in the end. The offense looked elite, but the defense proved somewhat susceptible when attacked through the air.
Mizzou enjoyed a softer non-conference schedule, surviving their only scare against San Diego State, by getting a late 68-yard touchdown catch-and-run by TJ Moe. The shutout Colorado in their Big 12 opener and handled Texas A&M on the road in all facets of the game. They ran the ball, passed the ball and showed off a revamped defense that allowed only a field goal and a garbage time touchdown.
Even though OU had been scared a few times, the national perception was the Oklahoma was still a much better overall team than the Tigers and the predictions leading up to the game supported that sentiment. I thought that given the Tigers 36-27 win over their crimson nemesis, I’d take a look back at what certain members of the media thought would happen. Lee Corso made the most visible pick of the game by tossing aside the Mizzou helmet in favor of the Boomer Sooner head, but here’s what several other media members believed would transpire on Faurot Field Saturday night.
David Ubben (ESPN Big 12 blogger)
I took Oklahoma, 31-27. I think Missouri opens up an early lead, but Oklahoma wears them down with the running game. Big, big game for DeMarco Murray.
Missouri did indeed open up an early lead, taking the opening kickoff 86 yards to the house, but the eventualy drop-off that Mr. Ubben predicted never happened. Mizzou’s offense was relentless and the defense didn’t give up a drive of longer than 15 yards in the fourth quarter. Mizzou was the team that took control late in the game and wore the Sooners down with the running, outscoring OU 16-6 in the final frame.
Toby Williams (Oklahoma blogger)
Missouri is playing well, but I don’t think Blaine Gabbert has seen anything close to the speed he will see from the OU defense on Saturday. I think he’ll throw one to the wrong team early. OU 24, Mizzou 17
Toby made it seem like Oklahoma’s speed on defense was elite and a potential obstacle for Blaine Gabbert and the Tiger offense. The same defense that gave up 341 yards in the air to Utah State. Gabbert was masterful in this game, throwing for over 300 yards without a turnover.
The Tigers offense won’t scare the Sooners with its short passing game and smoke and mirrors running attack. OU will drop 7 or 8 defenders into coverage all game, limiting YAC and forcing Gabbert into some bad decisions by taking away his primary targets. Stoops has owned Missouri during his career and this week will be no different. OU 31, Mizzou 20
ESPN Insider offers a lot of neat things, but this preview wasn’t one of them. The “smoke and mirrors” running attack gashed the OU defense 178 yards and allowed Mizzou to control the time of possession and opened up passing lanes for the air game. The Sooners did manage to limit Mizzou’s top two receivers, as TJ Moe and Michael Egnew combined for 10 catches, but just 44 yards. But Gabbert had plenty of time to throw and delivered the ball on target again and again, hitting eight other receivers besides Egnew and Moe. Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp combined for 13 catches and 210 yards. This past week was a heckuva lot different than past matchups.
Gerald McCoy (former OU tackle and current Tampa Bay Bucs DT)
It’s a given that OU will win. The reason I know they’re going to win is it’s like a slap in the face to schedule your homecoming with us coming to town. That’s like ‘Oh, we’re going to blow them out’ That’s going to be a fun game.
Missouri has now schedules Oklahoma as their homecoming opponent 15 times—the Tigers are 9-6 in those games. With Mizzou on the road three of the four weeks during homecoming season, the only game that made much sense to schedule for homecoming was the OU game. The only thing McCoy was right about was the fact that it was a fun game. A very fun game.
Jimmy Burch (Ft. Worth Star Telegram)
“Missouri in this series has enough mental baggage to fill a jumbo jet. I’ll need to see Tiger fans tearing down the goal posts at Faurot Field before I believe Mizzou’s defensive superiority will translate into a victory over OU.
Stewart Mandel (SI.com writer)
The Sooners have owned Mizzou during Bob Stoops’ tenure (and throughout history), but the Tigers’ menacing pass-rush will force a couple of Landry Jones turnovers and spark a landscape-shaking upset.
Tigers menacing pass rush? Check.
A couple of Landry Jones turnovers? Check. (2 interceptions)
Landscape-shaking upset? Check.