10. Oklahoma State
2013 record: 10-3
Last year vs. OU: 33-24, Oklahoma.
Why this game is dangerous: This game might not be as dangerous as it has in the past because of the reloading project the Cowboys on this season. It’s not rebuilding because Oklahoma State has reached the point in its program that it will always be a contender – although they aren’t quite to the Sooners’ level yet. Every year though, the “little brother” of the rivalry has a chance to throw that one punch. Except now, the little brother isn’t little any more. He’s just the younger brother, having grown up to the size of the Sooners. But in any sibling rivalry, the older brother always has an experience advantage.
Players to watch: Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper should get very familiar with Cowboys’ quarterback J.W. Walsh or whoever else might be behind center in this game. This is when Tapper potentially puts his name on the Lombardi Trophy semifinals list. The Sooners' best defensive unit is the front four, and the Cowboys have the most questions on the offensive line. If the Sooners can find a way through, they’ll be able to terrorize the Cowboys’ offense. Keeping Oklahoma State off balance will be vital in this game. To make matters worse for the Cowboys, longtime offensive line coach Joe Wickline moved south to Austin. He was a stabilizing force for the team and a top-flight leader. Sooners’ defensive tackles Jordan Phillips and Chuka Ndulue will break down the middle, and defensive end Geneo Grissom will find his way through – maybe even scoring a defensive touchdown. But Tapper will be big, and *spoiler alert* he’ll need to be in this one.
Prediction: Bedlam always brings something different. The favorite isn’t really the favorite, and the underdog is never out of it. The Sooners will dominate much of this game, but that won’t reflect on the scoreboard – maybe half a dozen sacks and 400 yards of offense but minimal points. They’ll hold a lead for much of the game, and it’ll come down to one last possession. The expected almost never actually happens in college football. Right now, Oklahoma is expected to be in the national championship hunt. But in this one, the Cowboys return the favor from last year with a last-minute touchdown. Oklahoma suffers a damaging season-ending loss, 27-24.