First, let me pull back the CCM curtain a little bit and start by apologizing for the lack of OU/ISU content this week. Matt and Richard have been out of the country with iffy wifi service (at best) yet have still made an effort to try and post as much as their limited resources allow. My excuse is not nearly as glamorous, but involved the day job occupying more time than it typically does.
It's not meant to serve as an excuse as we always try to do our best to work around our normal non-OU lives, but this obviously hasn't been one of our more successful weeks in doing so.
This is obviously meant to serve as a preview (of sorts), but it will probably read a little bit scattershot-ish so fair warning.
As for the game itself, I doubt I'm alone in my general sense of 'meh' as Saturday approaches. Everyone, including Iowa State fans, are just assuming Oklahoma is going to win and will probably look much better offensively than they have in recent weeks while do so.
But even if that's the case, who cares?
There is virtually nothing to be gained from a win in this game outside of possibly the argument that the offense can build some confidence heading into next week's game against Kansas State. The same was said heading into the game against Kansas several weeks back and we all remember how well that worked out.
* I'll start with something I found to be equal parts disturbing and depressing. And that was Gabe Ikard's plea earlier in the week for people to actually show up and support both the team and the seniors who will be playing their final game on Owen Field. I can't possibly put into words how sad it is that (1) Ikard even felt it necessary to ask fans to show up and (2) that he had ever reason to do it because he's been here long enough to know the stands won't be full on Saturday.
I'm not going to lecture anyone who may or may not be reading this about what kind of fan I or others feel they should be. Everyone has the right to support or not support this team and these players however they'd like. But yeah, I think it's pathetic that a plea even needed to be made and probably won't be answered.
So allow me to thank all of this year's seniors -- Lacoltan Bester, Seth Carter, Brennan Clay, Aaron Colvin, Kass Everett, Roy Finch, Brannon Green, Bronson Irwin, Trey Millard, Corey Nelson, Jalen Saunders, Damien Williams, Austin Woods, Tyler Evans, Gabe Ikard, Gabe Lynn, Chaz Nelson, and Jaz Reynolds -- for the contributions they've made to this program.
* All the injuries. Despite reports earlier in the week that Sterling Shepard was expected to be available on Saturday, I've seen some talk here lately that might not be the case. Additionally, Bob Stoops has refused to provide updates on any of those injured, most notably Aaron Colvin. And while you might say "Who cares? It's Iowa State, we won't need him anyway." But the Cyclones have a legit threat at receiver in Quenton Bundrage, however the obvious issue being who can actually get him the football. Still the prospect of covering Bundrage minus Colvin, if he can't go, is a dangerous one.
* Run, run, run. Iowa State is bringing, at least statistically, the worst run defense in the Big 12 to Norman on Saturday. Which should mean Oklahoma's multitude of running backs getting carries early and often, but will probably mean Josh Heupel throwing it 50 times in the game to help restore some semblance of Blake Bell's confidence.
* Speaking of Bell, both Heupel and Stoops were adamant this week that he would be the guy going forward at quarterback. We'll find out Saturday if that was simply lip service or if, as some expect, they continue to work Trevor Knight into the offense like they did last week against Baylor.
I'm not buying it. They may run Knight in there for a handful of plays, but I think that was something specific they thought they saw on film that would work specifically against Baylor. I could be completely wrong, but if they truly believe what they've said about Bell I'm convinced they use this game to build his confidence.
Now of course that's built on the premise of the offense playing well. IF however they struggle, all of what I just said is off the table. If this offense struggles early, I think the people that are there will not hesitate to voice their displeasure. And as stubborn and as hard-headed as I believe both Stoops and Heupel, they won't be able to ignore that and I think in that scenario, and only that scenario, a change at quarterback would be made.
* Based on the depth chart Iowa State released this week, it would appear they will be starting redshirt freshman Grant Rohach at quarterback. However, if history is any indication he won't be the only guy under center for the Cyclones on Saturday. I think OU fans are more familiar with Sam Richardson, who is a guy more prone to beat you with his legs than arm, and could very likely see the field if Rohach struggles or simply as a change of pace if Paul Rhoads chooses to do so.
* Special teams could play a key role as Iowa State is more than willing to share with you that they're the only team in the country with three scoring plays of 95-yards or longer, two of which have come on kickoff returns.
* Analysis - Kirby Van Der Kamp is really good at punting the ball.
It lines up as your prototypical lose-lose type situation for Oklahoma. If they win, even if they win big, no one (or at least very few) will care because they're supposed to beat Iowa State. If they win and struggle, or even god forbid were to lose, then all of the criticism will only continue and/or intensify.
How do you think the game plays out? We want to hear from you, so give us your take on the following in the comments below.
1. Final score prediction
2. Will Trevor Knight be a bigger part of the game plan than he was vs. Baylor?
3. Which running back will finish the game with the most carries?
4. More rushing attempts: Bell or Knight?
5. Over/under - 1.5 sacks for Eric Striker
Or include any other thoughts/comments you have on the game.