To understand the ins and outs of the Oklahoma State-Oklahoma rivalry, one starts with the nickname for the series.
It’s been a huge game for residents of the state for generations, even as it’s also been a lopsided one. Sooner fans are quick to point out their team’s 86-18-7 lead in the series against their neighbors from 65 miles to the northeast. From 1967 to 1994, OSU won once and had one tie.
Recent years have seen the games in the series get a lot more competitive, as Mike Gundy has coached Oklahoma State to its most sustained success in program history.
But competitive games have not translated to a change in fortune. Gundy’s teams have a 2-10 record against the Sooners since he took over as head coach in 2005. On several occasions, including perhaps last year, the Cowboys looked like they had a team capable of taking down the Sooners but didn’t. This appears to be another of those years, as the home-standing Pokes are 3-point favorites this week. Both teams have star power on offense and defenses that have looked good at times and poor at times.
A possible turning point? Special teams. The Cowboys have been an absolute mess in the kicking game, while the Sooners’ Austin Seibert, who handles all three phases of kicking, has had his moments but mostly been solid.
The Sooners, Cowboys, TCU and upstart Iowa State all sit tied at 4-1 in conference play. That turns this almost into an elimination game for these two squads in hoping for a Big 12 title, and just adds even more to the stakes of Oklahoma’s biggest annual college football game.
Here’s a trip around the Big 12 this week.
Iowa State (6-2, 4-1) at West Virginia (5-3, 3-2)
The Cyclones seek to maintain a magical run that’s already seen them win three games on the road this year.
But it’s going to be tough in Morgantown against a Mountaineer squad seeking to bounce back from a stinging loss to OSU a week ago. Their slim hopes in the league race now ride on winning out.
Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1) at Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1)
ESPN brings College GameDay to Stillwater and the scene, as the cool kids would say, figures to be lit.
The key may come down to whether Oklahoma’s defense can slow down the Oklahoma State offense, which flexed more of its rushing attack behind the 1-2 punch of Justice Hill and J.D. King in a solid win at West Virginia last week.
OU has one of the grittiest competitors in college football in quarterback Baker Mayfield, who will surely make some plays on that side of the ball. His counterpart, Mason Rudolph, will seek to do the same for OSU.
It’s overly simple to say, but the winning QB likely takes a step forward in the Heisman Trophy race, even as he keeps his team alive for bigger and better things.
Kansas State (4-4, 2-3) at Texas Tech (4-4, 1-4)
K-State had a harder than expected time in dispatching rival Kansas just 30-20 a week ago, while the Red Raiders saw a promising start against OU go down the tubes in a second half in which they were dominated.
Both teams are fighting to wind up bowl eligible, and the loser here will find that road a whole lot more difficult.
Texas (4-4, 3-2) at TCU (7-1, 4-1)
How will the Horned Frogs bounce back from their first loss, a 14-7 defeat last week at ISU? Well, they’ll need quarterback Kenny Hill to regain his confidence after a rough outing against what’s developed into a pretty decent Cyclone defense.
Defense has been the strength for UT this year, and coming off a 38-7 pounding of Baylor last week, Tom Herman’s Longhorns seem to be heading in the right direction.
Baylor (0-8, 0-5) at Kansas (1-7, 0-5)
Someone is going to finish last place in the league this year, and this game looks like it will determine who that is.
And that’s really all we have to say about this one. Plenty of good seats will be available in Lawrence.