When the Oklahoma State Cowboys (No. 21 in the BCS) ride into Norman today to take on the Oklahoma Sooners (No. 12), they will do so as 6.5 point 'dogs.
I would take those points, because I believe Oklahoma State is going to win outright.
Both teams have high-powered offenses and lousy defenses. The over/under for this one is around 71.5, which is awfully high. For comparison, the over/under for Florida at Florida State is 44.5, and 46 for Notre Dame at Southern Cal.
This will be a high-scoring game—though I'd take the under, because, wow, 72 is a lot—and the winner will be the team that adds a few more possessions (and maybe scores) through turnovers. The Cowboys' three losses have been winnable games right up until critical turnovers dashed those hopes.
If they correct the turnover problem, this game won't be close.
The Sooners have two losses on the season, against K-State and Notre Dame. Against the latter, they were tied at 13 with five minutes to play before imploding and losing 30-13.
Though Oklahoma State's losses are to slightly less august teams—Texas and Kansas State beat the Cowboys, yes, but there's that pesky Week 2 stinker against Arizona—they have been trending up of late. They laid a beating on Texas Tech last week, whereas Oklahoma eked out a one-point win over West Virginia.
The Sooners are playing to protect a shot at both a share of the Big 12 title and a possible BCS bowl berth. The Cowboys are playing to win a longshot at both, but more importantly, for respect. The Sooners are still seen as the more impressive program, with the Cowboys as the state's "other" team. (The relationship dynamic is similar to that of Michigan and Michigan State.)
Who ya got?
The Oklahoma Sooners are not playing to win today. They are playing not to lose, and they are playing a team that can afford to take chances in playing to win. That usually works out better for the challenger.
Oklahoma State pulls the upset.