Oklahoma vs. West Virginia: Highlighting Top Storylines in Big 12 Showdown

Mike Shiekman@TheRealShiekFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 03:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the TCU Horned Frogs during the game on November 3, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

This Oklahoma-West Virginia matchup was perceived as a Big 12 semifinal a few weeks ago, but both teams have taken a dip in the standings since mid-October.

However, there’s still plenty of intrigue between these two teams as they face off in Morgantown.

Quarterback battles, lightning-quick skill players and bowl berths still hover between these two. It will all be sorted out on Saturday night.

Don't be fooled by West Virginia's woeful last month. ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit thinks you shouldn't either:

"@wvunuck:Can WVU turn their season around with a win at home vs. Oklahoma this wknd?!?" This gm is interesting. Sooners better be ready

— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) November 15, 2012

Here are the storylines to follow between the Sooners and Mountaineers.

Geno Smith vs. Landry Jones

Both thought of as first-round picks at one point, this matchup is the first of many Geno-Landry duels we'll be seeing including this year's Senior Bowl. Smith has been college football's early-season darling this year, while Jones has dropped from darling status by the end of each year.

Oklahoma’s QB1 has redeemed himself since going scoreless against Notre Dame, throwing six touchdowns and no picks. Smith is no longer regarded as a Heisman favorite, but he put in a top performance at Oklahoma State with 364 yards and two touchdowns.

Both will try to one-up the other in one of their last games in Big 12 play. Armed behind two high-octane offensive attacks, Smith and Jones should put on a quarterback clinic in Morgantown.

Which High-Powered Offense Will Have the Edge?

Both teams play an uptempo no-huddle style that forces their opponent to get into a shootout. Luckily for Bob Stoops and Dana Holgerson, they both want the same thing.

Oklahoma’s defense has the edge when it concerns the mere ability to stop other teams. WVU’s defense, on the other hand, has given up an average of 49.5 points in their last four losses.

The Mountaineer defense has been swallowed whole by Big 12 offenses as of late; this weekend they face one of the conference’s best. A positive outlier in points allowed would be helpful.

Can West Virginia Stop the Bleeding?

It was only a month ago the Mountaineers were in the top 25, undefeated and their quarterback was the Heisman front-runner. Fast forward one month later, and Clay Matthews turned everything upside down.

West Virginia has yet to register a win since October 6 . Two of its losses came at home, including a 41-point shellacking at the hands of Kansas State.

Oklahoma, on paper, looks like a better team overall than previous opponents the Mountaineers have fallen to, but West Virginia has become more desperate by the week.

The Mountaineers will need some type of assist from their defense, but an upset win at home cannot be disregarded with Geno Smith at the controls.


Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow his college football musings and food for thought @TheRealShiek