Talking Oklahoma v Kansas with SB Nation's Oklahoma expert, Crimson and Cream Machine.
I think my first question is about the overall perception of Oklahoma this year. Expectations started high, then it was sort of a slow start followed by a loss to Kansas State and suddenly Oklahoma was just another good but not great Big 12 team. Now you throttle Texas and that seems to have improved the stock pretty significantly. Where are fan expectations at this time and what do you think this teams ceiling is?
I would say that at this point Oklahoma fans are eyeing the Big 12 championship and hoping for something more. For some, the KSU loss was the end of the season and they wrote the Sooners off. However, most of us here at CCM had OU with a one loss conference championship season. That is still very much in play.
Landry Jones v the Belldozer? We've seen what Jones can do with a full season, we've seen what Blake Bell can do in a limited role. Is there a part of the Sooner nation that would like to see an offense geared toward Blake Bell in the way that Urban Meyer used a guy like Tebow? Not part time, not at the goalline...full time Belldozer!
The Belldozer is a fun novelty and he usually gets the job done (has only failed twice this season) but the problem is that we've not seen him throw in a game. He's got all the tools to be a successful leader on the field, we've just yet to see him as a complete quarterback. My thought is that we'll have to wait until next year for that to happen.
What are the weaknesses of this team both offensively and defensively?
Offensively, the Sooners are almost anemic at offensive line. There was one point of the game last week where one of the linemen was injured on a play and then another lost his helmet and had to leave the field. The result was enough confusion that Oklahoma had to burn a timeout to get things figured out.
Defensively, the linebackers had their best game of the season last week against Texas but they have been a critical concern. We started to see some personnel changes with up-and-comer Frank Shannon getting some significant snaps and the result has been improved play by the unit as a whole.
For Kansas this season is about improving every week and remaining competitive. To do that Kansas most likely needs to slow down the game, run the football and find a way to make plays on defense. Are those achievable goals?
I'll be honest, I think its going to be extremely difficult for Kansas to stop Oklahoma on offense. I'm a huge fan of James Sims and think that he'll have some success on the ground against the Sooners, just don't think it'll be enough for the Jayhawks to keep up.
Do you think Kansas is catching Oklahoma on an upswing? Any chance the Sooners look ahead and stumble through this one allowing us to claim competitiveness regardless of the circumstances?
Bob Stoops has never lost the week after the Texas game. With that said, he's also never had Notre Dame sitting two weeks out from Texas. The hope is that Oklahoma is hitting their stride and will run over Kansas before turning their attention to the Irish. The fear is that they'll sleep walk through Kansas with ND looming next weekend.
Predictions on how this one plays out?
I don't think that Kansas is as bad as their 1-5 record. They've got talent and a coach who is a walking football encyclopedia. I think that Kansas keeps it close for a while before the Sooners pull away for a 42-14 win.