|Oddsmakers Favor Oklahoma By Touchdown Over Oklahoma State|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Saturday, 29 November 2008 02:30|
Public Likes Sooners
Stillwater, OK - It seems only fitting that a rivalry called "The Bedlam Series" will contribute heavily in determining this year's Big 12 South champion and perhaps a spot in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Oklahoma -7 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 90% of bets for this game have been placed on Oklahoma –7 (View College Football bet percentages).
The third-ranked Sooners (10-1, 6-1) forged a three-way tie atop the South Division with No. 4 Texas and No. 7 Texas Tech with a 65-21 dismantling of the Red Raiders on Saturday. The win moved Oklahoma up to third in the most recent BCS standings - but it remained behind the Longhorns, whom the Sooners lost to 45-35 on Oct. 11.
If the teams - all favored - win their respective games this weekend, the Big 12 will use the BCS standings to determine the South Division champion to play No. 12 Missouri in the Big 12 title game. That would bode well for the Sooners, who already are ranked ahead of Texas in the Harris and coaches polls and would receive a larger boost to their strength of schedule in beating No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-2, 5-2) on the road than the Longhorns would from defeating Texas A&M.
After beating Texas Tech, which had previously defeated Texas, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops began politicking a logical method of where voters should put his team.
"Obviously, now we're in the mix with everybody,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "With the way we played, you would think ahead.
"The logic of whether to put us in front of Texas? If you can't do that because they beat us, then you've got to keep Texas Tech in front of Texas. What's logical for one is logical for the other."
Regardless of whether Stoops swayed any voters, there is little debate the Sooners are playing their best football of the season. They have topped 60 points in each of their last three games and averaged 59.2 points and 598.0 yards in their five-game winning streak since losing to the Longhorns.
The surge has made quarterback Sam Bradford a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, and he enters the game with 3,710 yards and 42 touchdown passes. But Bradford, who threw four TD passes in last year's 49-17 win over Oklahoma State, also has a very strong backfield in DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. Each rushed for over 100 yards against Texas Tech and combined for five touchdowns.
Murray is 71 rushing yards shy of 1,000, while Brown needs 110 to hit that plateau.
Despite the gaudy statistics, the Sooners know playing in Stillwater will bring out the best in a Cowboys team that once dashed their BCS hopes in 2001. Additionally, Oklahoma has won its last two games at Oklahoma State by a combined nine points, with both victories not secured until late.
"I think they know that they just can't come in here and manhandle us and we know that we have just as good a chance of winning as they do now, so it isn't as one-sided and it makes for a better game," Oklahoma State fullback Bryant Ward said. "We both come in more ready to play, we both prepare harder and I think it gives a better show."
Oklahoma State has no chance at winning the South Division, but a victory in the 104-year-old rivalry this time would make it an attractive 10-win team to bowls with tie-ins to the Big 12 as well as keep the Cowboys' hopes alive of posting the first 11-win season in school history.
"We're still working towards our goals of doing something special this year. That's what we set out to do, so it is a big game and another opportunity to play in the big spotlight," linebacker Seb Clements said.
The Cowboys, whose only losses have been to Texas and Texas Tech, have been idle since a 30-17 victory at Colorado on Nov. 15. Zac Robinson ran and threw for a touchdown, while Kendall Hunter's 43-yard scoring run to cap the opening drive of the second half gave Oklahoma State a 20-3 lead.
Hunter finished with 102 yards for his fourth consecutive 100-yard game and ninth of the year. The sophomore has 1,434 yards overall - leading the Big 12 - and is fifth nationally with 130.36 yards per game.
Both Hunter and Dez Bryant will need to have big games in order for Oklahoma State to beat Oklahoma for the first time since 2002. A fellow sophomore, Bryant has 68 catches for 1,222 yards and 16 touchdowns, and also has averaged 17.9 yards on 17 punt returns, running two back for scores.
The two were non-factors in the loss at Oklahoma last year, with Hunter gaining just five years on two carries and Bryant limited to five catches for 69 yards.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series 78-17-7.
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Posted: 11/25/08 9:07PM ET