College football predictions week 9
It's not like the Sooners haven't been special over the last eight years, but the 35-7 loss to the Wildcats in the infamous 2003 title game was the official marking point of the end of the mojo, and they haven't been quite the same since. This game could shift things back.Oh sure, OU has won five Big 12 titles since the loss and it's been in the national title chase in a few times, but before the defeat, this was the biggest, baddest, bully on the block. It was one of the most shocking big game upsets in the BCS era, and depending on how the rest of the season shakes out, this one could have implications just as big.
Even after the loss to Texas Tech, OU is still knee-deep in the national title hunt and will almost certainly be the top-ranked among the one-loss teams if it wins out. While it'll take losses by Clemson and Stanford for OU to have a real shot at getting into the BCS Championship, if the Sooners take care of business with wins over an unbeaten Kansas State, Texas A&M, and an unbeaten Oklahoma State, they'll be right on the doorstep.
Kansas State has defied all odds and expectations on the way to a 7-0 start and a No. 8 ranking in the BCS. If the Wildcats win out, with games against Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas and Iowa State, they'll play for the national championship. Considering they beat Texas Tech in Lubbock, and Texas Tech beat Oklahoma in Norman, they really might be the real deal, and they really might be good enough to pull off the upset and keep the dream season rolling.
Why Oklahoma might win: The last time Oklahoma lost back-to-back games in the same season was the 2004 Sugar Bowl, after blowing the 2003 Big 12 Championship game to Kansas State. The last time the Sooners lost back-to-back regular season games was 1999. Last week, OU had too big a hole to dig out of, but it came close to doing it. The Sooners should come back roaring and focused after a tough week, and with the national title carrot still out there, this could be one of the team’s sharper performances.
Why Kansas State might win: Kansas State continues to be phenomenal at doing everything right. The offense hasn't lost a fumble since the season opener, and it's only given up three picks on the year and hasn't given one away in three weeks. After committing 10 penalties against Texas Tech, it sinned just twice last week against Kansas. And most important for this game, KSU leads the nation in time of possession, holding onto the ball for almost 35 minutes per game, and roughly six minutes more per game than OU, because it’s converting a whopping 48.6 percent of its third-down chances.
What to watch for: Kansas State QB Collin Klein isn't going to be a top-five draft pick like Landry Jones, and he's not in the Heisman hunt like Robert Griffin. He’s not going to get the spotlight of Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden, Texas Tech’s Seth Doege, or Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill. But for what he's doing for his team, a case could be made that Klein is the MVP of the Big 12 Conference. He's been nearly perfect over the last few weeks, completing 24-of-37 passes in his last two games for 341 yards and two scores with no picks, and he has 14 rushing touchdowns on the year with 10 in his last three games. Against OU, he has to stay accurate, make every right read on the running plays, and he’s going to have to take a licking.