Friday Night Lights

Campus Clash

(6) Oklahoma Sooners at (9) West Virginia Mountaineers

Oklahoma: They’ve looked as sharp this year as they did last year and you all probably wondered what their offense was going to look like without Baker Mayfield. They haven’t missed a beat and Kyler Murray is the real deal and has become one of the best quarterbacks in college football. Next, to Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, he’s the most dynamic guy playing the position in the nation right now because he can attack a defense in so many ways whether it’s from the pocket with his arm or getting into the open field with his scrambling. The way I view him, he’s must-see TV each time the ball is in his hands because you just never know what’s going to happen. This offense can score on anyone and the numbers speak for themselves. Anytime I watch them play or see their names on the schedules, I automatically pencil them in for at least 45 points a game and they average a little under 50 with 49.5 a contest. Coming into the year, I thought Rodney Anderson was going to be huge for Lincoln Riley because of the experience he brings and his veteran presence. Unfortunately, he was lost for the year with a knee injury and Kennedy Brooks has stepped in and been great and has provided balance to this offensive attack. After firing defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, I saw a tiny improvement in the Sooners defense, but it wasn’t anything to brag about and that’s just it. The Sooners offense has to sustain very long drives to take pressure off the defense. They can score 40 each game, but they give up 35 and that’s where the struggles still remain. A trip to Dallas is on the line for the Big-12 championship game.

West Virginia: It’s been quite the year for Dana Holgorsen and his West Virginia Mountaineers. Early on, I always said that if there was one team that could really challenge and make a push for the top spot in the Big-12, it was this team. West Virginia has the best quarterback in the nation and if you haven’t seen him play yet, I advise you too and his name is Will Grier. The senior quarterback is 6’2 and when I watch him play and throw the ball, he has tremendous ball placement and he can hit his receivers right in the numbers. He displays great pocket presence, he can hit his receiver in stride and he feels every drive he generates can result in six points. I often think of that final drive he orchestrated against the Texas Longhorns a few weeks ago and how he displayed that ice in his veins. I’m also a fan of his top offensive weapon and that’s wide receiver David Sills and these two as a tandem just make it look easy and effortless. This offense was tailor-made for the Big-12 because just like many of the teams in the conference, you have to be able to score points and they do. This is one of the more high-flying offenses in the country because they can spread you out and any crease that they see open on the field, it’s being attacked. I was shocked that they lost that game on Saturday in Stillwater against Oklahoma State, but when your defense struggles, you deserve to lose and that’s just the truth but that was a really tough game to lose especially when you have such a nice chance at trying to win a share of your division. Their defense isn’t the greatest, but they know when they need to make stops and get off the field. Talk about ending the year on a high note, what would be better than to take down the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday night?

Oklahoma Player To Watch: Kennedy Brooks– He’s come in and been a very special running back for this team. He has the ability to bounce outside, cut back and get by any defender trying to bring him down. With him, you can make West Virginia’s defense second guess.

West Virginia Player To Watch: Gary Jennings Jr.- Next to Sills, this is the other weapon that Grier knows he can get the ball too and he’ll come down with it. He moves well to get open and he can score once the ball hits his hands. Look for Grier to connect with him.

Final Analysis: Well this is a good way to continue your holiday weekend. Can you believe this is the end of the regular season in college football? It really seems as if it just started but here we are a little over a week until Selection Sunday. This game features two of the best quarterbacks in the country in Kyler Murray and Will Grier and seeing them battle will be fun. If you like to see points being scored, this is the game for you because this will be a shootout. I think this game comes down to defense late in the fourth quarter and whoever makes one more stop will win this game.

Prediction: Oklahoma 53 West Virginia 48