Brut Sun Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Stanford Preview and Predictions

Jeff SmithCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2009

December 31, 2009 | 2:00 PM EST, El Paso, TX, on ESPN

Brut Sun Bowl

Stanford Cardinal  (8-4) vs. Oklahoma Sooners  (7-5)

Opening Line:  Oklahoma -11  (current Oklahoma -10 )

Game Preview:
 Oklahoma started the season ranked in the Top Five and Stanford was out of the rankings all together yet here they are in the Sun Bowl.  The Sooners season derailed in the first game of the year when they lost both QB Sam Bradford and the game. 

Meanwhile, the Cardinal kept building and building and finished on a nice run at the end by beating Oregon, Notre Dame and USC.  Touchdown Toby Gerhart was fantastic and almost won the Heisman while last year’s winner only played in three games before shutting it down for the season.  The talent edge favors Oklahoma but they will have to play like they mean it or Stanford will beat them.

Oklahoma Preview:
 With the talent on hand the Sooners should have responded better to the loss of QB Bradford.  They are supposed to have two elite backs and a line that can maul anybody but Landry Jones never seemed to really get in sync.  This is bad news for next year given the assumed talent losses. 

Getting back to this year it is tough to predict how the team will respond.  Will they play out the string or release their anger.  I think it will probably be somewhere in the middle which given their talent advantage could be enough to keep them in and maybe even with the game.  DT Gerald McCoy will have to step up to disrupt Stanford’s awesome ground game.

Stanford Preview:
 Stanford’s strategy is easy to predict.  They want to pound the rock with Toby Gerhart and pass just enough to keep teams honest.  This strategy was employed to great effect as the Cardinal exceeded all expectations.  Unfortunately they come into the game without their starting QB fab frosh Andrew Luck. 

This is not very lucky for a team that already faces an overall talent disadvantage.  Gerhart should be able to get his yards but there is a reason senior QB Tavita Pritchard watches from the sidelines.  Sure he has experience but has only thrown three passes all year.  If he struggles this one could be very ugly as the defense is likely to be only a mild nuisance for the Sooners.

Game Prediction: 
Unable to create enough balance the Cardinal are going to struggle to put points on the board.  The Sooners D gives up less than 100 yards per game and will be challenged physically but they will win enough battles to stall drives and convert good field position for the offense which has enough play makers even in a down year

Score Prediction:

Oklahoma Sooners  – 28

Stanford Cardinal  – 10

 This is one of the bigger bowl spreads out there.  I normally favour the dog but think that OU is a decent play here.  If it can get under ten I would be even happier.  I might just pass as other games offer better winning opportunities.

Oklahoma Sooners Football Betting Trends:
  • Oklahoma is 3-5-1 ATS in its last nine games
  • Oklahoma is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in eight of Oklahoma’s last 10 games
Stanford Cardinal Football Betting Trends:
  • Stanford is 4-1 SU in its last five games
  • The total has gone OVER in six of Stanford’s last seven games