Oklahoma gets right back at it in Big 12 play a week after scoring a huge win over Texas last week in the Red River Showdown, playing host to West Virginia on Saturday. The Sooners don’t have much to gain and are expected to beat the Mountaineers, but a loss could be catastrophic for their hopes to reach the College Football Playoff once again in 2019.
Does West Virginia have a chance to pull the upset, or will the Mountaineers go 0-for-3 during October? This team doesn’t have a lot of depth, and injuries on both sides of the ball are starting to pile up. This has been a particularly difficult month, too, because the ‘Eers have played, or will play, the four best teams in the conference.
Here’s how to watch Saturday’s game between West Virginia and Oklahoma, and the storylines to follow.
Oklahoma: There’s two things I’d like to see out of the Sooners this week. First, can quarterback Jalen Hurts cut back on the mistakes after being careless with the ball in the red zone against Texas? He still got his yards and touchdowns, but his decision-making needs to be on the mend after two bad turnovers. Second, how does Oklahoma’s defense perform against an undermanned opponent? That side of the ball wasin the win over the Longhorns, but how do they follow it up? First-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has been Broyles Award-worthy, and a nice next step would be to completely shut down a massive underdog at home.
West Virginia: We’ll see how much of a difference it makes, but the Mountaineers’ quarterback situation is up in the air. Starter Austin Kendall suffered a chest injury in the loss to Iowa State, and is questionable for Saturday. However, coach Neal Brown didn’t commit to backup Jack Allison, either. There is the possibility that redshirt freshman Trey Lowe could start. Either way, West Virginia’s offense will have a week to work out the kinks it couldn’t in real time against the Cyclones. But the sobering reality is that Oklahoma is scoring twice as many points per game as the Mountaineers. While West Virginia’s defense has been better than the numbers indicate, it’ll have to play the best game of the season to even give the offense a shot. And the ‘Eers are banged up on that side of the ball, too, with the season-ending injury to linebacker VanDarius Cowan.
Game prediction, picks
Bless West Virginia’s hearts. The Mountaineers play hard, and Brown and this coaching staff are doing what they can. But an already rough quarterback situation just got harder with Kendall’s injury, and there simply isn’t a lot of depth across the board. Short of Oklahoma playing its absolute worst, I’m not sure there’s a way West Virginia sniffs an upset. As for the spread, 33.5 points is a lot, but I just don’t know where the points are coming from for the ‘Eers. Pick: Oklahoma -33.5