Final Score: Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 27
Ohio State has the edge on the defensive side of the ball, while I think Oklahoma has a slight edge offensively. I feel a little bit better the more I watch Ed Oliver, Houston’s former five-star defensive tackle. He owned Oklahoma offensive line, but it’s become apparent that it’s simply because he’s an absolute monster. If OU’s offensive line has at least a decent amount of success on Saturday, I think it will be OU’s game to lose.
When OU is on defense, it’s all about the pass rush. If they let J.T. Barrett move around freely in the backfield like they did Greg Ward, OSU will convert on a lot of third downs and take the energy out of the crowd. I believe OU will finally make some big plays on defense this week, which will lead to a victory for the Sooners.
Final Score: Ohio State 38, Oklahoma 28
I've wavered back and forth on this one since the UL-Monroe game, but ultimately I think the Buckeyes' talent will prove too much for OU in this game. If Ohio State wasn't running an offense so similar to Houston's it might be easier to believe that OU could turn things around. But the guys Houston torched two weeks ago, with few exceptions, will be the same ones trying to contain J.T. Barrett, Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson on Saturday. I think the Buckeyes will give up their first touchdowns of the year to OU, but I also think Baker Mayfield will surrender his first pick to the Ohio State secondary. Oklahoma has the experience, but Ohio State has the talent. After a close few quarters, I think the Buckeyes will pull it out on Saturday.
Final Score: Ohio State 27, Oklahoma 21
I can see us scoring with them, but Barrett and co. will be too much to contain for four quarters for the defense. OU’s line of scrimmage issues are still a concern on both sides against this level of competition, as the last few similar contests have reminded. The Sooners obviously had their issues and came out with a loss against a team that employs a similar scheme to what we expect to see from the Buckeyes on Saturday. Ohio State enters this contest favored and confident, and Tom Herman’s reported conversations with Urban Meyer and J.T. Barrett over the last couple of weeks probably didn’t hurt. The play-making skills of a very talented and experienced quarterback could carry a young, potentially special Ohio State team to victory despite losing so much experience from a year ago. Yet another talented Urban Meyer roster appears reloaded, but OU’s biggest advantage is being at home and possibly rattling some of those younger players and communication/execution when the Buckeyes are on offense. This Buckeye team is likely as good if not better than the any top-five visitor to Norman outside of 2000 Nebraska or 2012 Notre Dame through the Stoops era. If the Sooner defense is caught up chasing Barrett in the first half, the plays and confidence of the young players will grow and open up in the second to preserve a hard-fought road win on a storied Saturday in Norman. Also, Austin Kendall.
Final Score: Oklahoma 35, Ohio State 31
The logical, cold, journalistic part of my heart wants to pick Ohio State because of the glut of playmakers, the coaching ability of Urban Meyer, and because of Oklahoma's meltdown in Houston a few weeks ago. The part of me that is a Sooner homer, however, and knows college football amounts to little more than a coin flip wants to side with the Sooners. I'm going with my heart on this one; I think Big Game Bob gets it done at home.
Final Score: Oklahoma 20, Ohio State 17
This weekend in Norman two of the most historic and powerful programs in college football history will clash. Some of the Sooners seem to be pretty confident. While I like Kendall's enthusiasm, I'm not sure I completely agree. The Ohio State defense has allowed one touchdown so far in two games, and they held a Tulsa offense--whose scheme troubled OU last year--to just three points. That said, Ohio State is still young. Despite their talent, which is unquestionable, Kendall may have a point: the young players are playing a little more base defense than returning starts may be able to handle. Against a creative team like Oklahoma, that may give the Sooners the opportunity to find some holes, particularly by using their dual-back system to create passing and running success. In the end, I think it will be a struggle for both teams, but I think OU's offense can capitalize just enough to pull this one out at home.