Football is back at the Palace on the Prairie as the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners welcome the Missouri State Bears from the ranks of the FCS. This game will serve as OU’s lone non-conference matchup in 2020 before the Big 12’s round-robin schedule kicks off in two weeks. Without further ado, let’s dive into the first game preview of the season, shall we?
Date, Time & TV: Saturday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. CT on PPV/SoonerSports.tv
Line: Oklahoma -42.5 (as of Friday at 6 a.m. CT)
Will Spencer Rattler be as good as advertised?
They don’t come with much more hype than Rattler has going into his first game as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback. The redshirt freshman was the top-ranked QB in the 2019 recruiting class, and has a full year in the system under his belt. Talent is not a question with this kid, but the expectations that surround him are going to be a challenge to live up to. I, for one, certainly believe he has what it takes, but until he actually produces on the field, it’s nothing more than an educated guess.
The majority of what happens this Saturday against Missouri State should be taken with a grain of salt, but watching Rattler command the offense in a capacity larger than mop-up duty is going to get people excited.
Can ‘Speed D’ ramp things up in Year Two under Alex Grinch?
Despite giving up a billion yards and points to Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers the last time anybody saw OU’s defense, it was still a unit that made vast improvements in the first season under Grinch. In fact, the Sooners led the Big 12 in total defense in 2019, which is remarkable if not a straight up miracle. Oklahoma has to replace NFL talent like Kenneth Murray, Neville Gallimore and Parnell Motley, but the pieces are there to field a solid group. That said, against this upcoming opponent, anything less than completely dominant will be seen as a major letdown.
Again, take it all with a massive grain of salt, but it would be nice to see the defense force some turnovers this weekend.
How will the atmosphere at the game look and sound on TV?
With an official revised seating capacity of 22,700 fans allowed at OU home games in this fall, the Palace on the Prairie won’t be rocking like it normally has in past season openers. Then again, by the third quarter, the energy in the stadium probably won’t be much different from other massive blowouts in years past. Still, I’ll be interested to see how it all looks and sounds and feels from the comfort of my living room. No matter what, just remember, it could always be worse, right Nebraska?
Will the announcers bring up the Bobby Petrino scandal stuff at Arkansas?
It’s been over eight years (!) since the infamous motorcycle incident resulted in Bobby Petrino’s firing at Arkansas, leaving a permanent stain on his reputation and legacy as a coach. Since then, he’s had a one-year stint at Western Kentucky and a five-year run at Louisville before being fired again in 2018. After taking a year off, he was hired by MSU in January of this year.
In conclusion, a lot of time has passed since that scandalous moment, so the short answer to the original question here is probably not. We’ll have to settle for the Twitter jokes, and there should be some A+ material.
Speaking of Petrino, LOOK AT THIS!!!!
Incoming! @CoachBPetrino taught Boomer how to throw a touchdown pass. Our favorite Bear has a rating for arm strength. Not so much on accuracy.— Missouri State (@MissouriState) September 8, 2020
The @MOStateFootball Bears open their abbreviated fall season this Saturday (Sept. 12) at Oklahoma. #GoMaroon pic.twitter.com/lu6zzcHduQ
Which currently-unproven offensive skill player will have a breakout night?
This one could go a number of ways because of all the production that needs to be replaced in practically every area of the offense. Every time a running back receives a carry will be must-see television because it certainly won’t be Kennedy Brooks (opted out), Trey Sermon (now at Ohio State) or Rhamondre Stevenson (suspended) toting the rock. That leaves the door open for TJ Pledger, Marcus Major and Seth McGowan to establish themselves early.
On the outside, a second-year guy like Theo Wease could go off, or a fresh face like Marvin Mims could shine in his collegiate debut. One thing’s for sure, the ball has to go to someone, and the production will be high.
Oklahoma 66, Missouri State 3
(plus a bunch of annoying sideline and/or virtual interviews during the game because it’s pay-per-view and they always do that sort of crap)
Staff picks for this week
This is a new feature from Tallysight, which allows us to display our ATS, O/U and straight-up picks from week to week. Jack and I have an early lead on Allen by picking the U to cover against UAB, but expect Mr. Kenney to lap the field by season’s (or week’s) end.
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