Well, Sooner Nation, we’re finally here. The painstaking two-week wait (with plenty of drama throughout) after that dismal Red River weekend is over, and our Sooners can finally get back to rescuing the season. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time, and with the recent change at defensive coordinator, the Oklahoma Sooners sat back and watched as four top-10 upsets occurred last weekend.
This week, OU will presumably unveil a tweaked defense with a new name at the helm against Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs. On this short short trip to Fort Worth with half the season behind them, the Sooners are favored by just over a touchdown (-7.5 at the moment of typing) against a struggling, yet dangerous TCU squad also looking to rebound from their recent skid.
Head on down to the comments section for the game thread, where we’ll be asking questions, making predictions and discussing the day’s action with y’all.
TV: ABC 11:00 A.M. CT
Live Stream: WatchESPN
TV Commentary: Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams
If Ruffin McNeill is able to work some magic and resurrect a middling defense, he will have to find lineup combinations to contain speedsters Kavontae Turpin and Jalen Reagor — two of the Big 12’s best playmakers — and force quarterback Shawn Robinson into a turnover or two. OU could also see freshman Michael Collins line up in the shotgun for the Frogs, as well, but with some discipline and better tackling, any freshman bump could be contained and inexperience begin to show for the young signal caller.
Also, as Sam mentioned in his preview, freshman DE/OLB Jalen Redmond could theoretically enter the fold, giving an inconsistent pass rush a potential boost going forward. McNeill’s game plan and adjustments up front could truly free up the linebacking duo of Curtis Bolton and Kenneth Murray to wreck the TCU run game. Adjustments to the lineup and improved technique in the secondary will also allow this already-fearsome duo to become even more impressive and get back to making plays all over the field.
I expect the Sooner offense to score similarly to last season’s matchups against Patterson’s crew. Despite being generally impressive, this season’s TCU defense has looked vulnerable to big plays, and Kyler Murray & Co. should continue the trend this afternoon in Fort Worth.
The Sooners have undergone a big change on the staff, indeed. With a shot at a conference title still well within grasp, a newfound focus and steady improvement on the defensive side will make this team into a dangerous contender at a second-straight College Football Playoff run.
I see OU coming out strong and scoring early and often, but I also see the Horned Frogs hanging around through the first half. I expect this game to be tight throughout, and we could see a potential shootout if OU is unable to create some turnovers against an offense that has had issues taking care of the ball. I think Oklahoma will make a late play or two, on both the offensive and defensive ends, and return from this trip to Ft. Worth with a win in hand.
Score Prediction: OU 41, TCU 35
In case you missed it, here’s episode six of Oklahoma Breakdown