Big 12 Championship Game: Why and How Oklahoma Could Beat Nebraska

Lake CruiseAnalyst IDecember 4, 2010

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 12:  Cheerleaders of the Oklahoma Sooners perform during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies on November 12, 2005 at Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.  The Sooners won 36-30.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

So what if OU owns the most wins in collegiate football’s modern era?  What does that have to do with Saturday night’s game in Dallas, Texas?  I’ll explain.

An article of cloth belonging to the officiating crew could be the deciding factor in this game.  I’m not talking about the referees knickerbockers.  I mean the bright yellow flag the refs like to throw at football players.

This Big 12 season, a look at the statistics always helps me analyze the games.  I did just fine in my advanced statistics class in college.  And I’m available, for a small fee, for tutoring some of my readers.

Read this statOklahoma committed the least amount of penalties in the conference.  It wasn’t even close.  Almost doubling Oklahoma’s number of penalties, Nebraska committed a lot of them.

The Huskers knack for penalties in the secondary could get them run over by the Sooner Schooner.  If the Huskers pick up penalties in OU’s passing game, it will be to their demise. 

In the conference, Nebraska had the No. 1 ranked passing defense, while Oklahoma had the No. 1 passing offense.  The Huskers, this season, probably had the best overall defense in the Big 12.

It will take a sound offensive mind to overcome them.   

Former OU coach and Big Eight Conference king, Barry Switzer, is credited with upgrading the wishbone offense.  By perfecting the triple option, his teams were near the very top, annually, in rushing categories.  Now, Oklahoma is more of an aerial attack offense. 

Nebraska’s often penalized, sometimes electric defense will have to find a way to ground the Sooners jets.  Some of those jets, speedy ends, will have bombs in their hands from quarterback Landry Jones.

At split end, tight end and running back, there’s a corps of receivers wearing Crimson and Cream jerseys.  So throttling the passing game of OU is an absolute must for Nebraska.

If OU builds a sizeable and early lead, then Bob Stoops could call for the running game to take center stage.  The Blackshirts’ rushing defense has been shaky all season, and OU should be able to control some clock. 

The Huskers, though, can’t rely on winning this game by passing for more attempts than they have running the rock.  Instead of “chuck and duck,” Big Red needs to show up with some serious “ground and pound.”  

The high-flying offense approach worked against Oklahoma State and Colorado, but OU is better on defense than some experts think.  Not many analysts overrate Nebraska’s defense, but some tend to underrate OU’s

That’s why in the air and on the gridiron, the Sooners need to see a balanced attack from Nebraska.  The Huskers need to use play-action passes and naked bootlegs to force mistakes from the OU secondary.

If the Sooners open up a second level lead, then Nebraska could be in trouble trying to come from behind.  The Cornhuskers were No. 1 in the conference in time of possession and Oklahoma was No. 2.   

The stats suggest NU has better special teams than OU.  Oklahoma allowed Oklahoma State to gash them for a touchdown in the waning moments last week and Mizzou also dashed for an early kickoff return for a touchdown to set the tone in the OU game this year.

It reminds me of what Johnny Rodgers did to the Sooners in the “Game of the Century.”  Oklahoma cannot afford a big return to start the game on Saturday night.   

If the Sooners want to win this game, then they should take my advice.

Don’t throw it at Eric Hagg often, but when you do, design plays to take him out of the picture.  Pass the ball in seams where receivers get yards after catches in zones behind and opposite him.  He was not No. 1 in the conference interceptions category by accident.

Using the Oklahoma tight ends to be the leading receivers will go a long way in defeating Nebraska on Saturday. 

If the Cornhuskers want to win, then they should listen to me.

The ground attack will be highly important for both teams.  Rushing for the most total yards in the game should ensure a victory for either squad.

Since OU has beaten Nebraska with regularity, and owns the lifetime series, winning tradition could play a major role in this game. 

Imagine the victory-motivating tools available to Bob Stoops and to Bo Pelini.  I envision talks peppered with references to WWII. 

Since then, the Sooners have won over 560 games.  Penn State, Texas, Nebraska and Ohio State followall with over 30 wins less than OU.  Since ’46, Oklahoma has won seven AP National Championships and accumulated separate winning streaks of 47, 31 and 28 games.

Nebraska has four AP National Championships and at least one winning streak of 28 games.  NU owns five national championships total.

In these modern moments, the Sooners have been ranked No. 1 for more weeks than any college football program.  A whopping 97 times, OU has been ranked at the top spot.  They’ve been in the top five 367 weeks total since ‘46.

The Huskers, meanwhile, were 70 times ranked in the No. 1 spot in the same amount of years. 

OU has ranked No. 1 in the BCS poll 20 weeks total since 1998.  Nebraska, on the other hand, was BCS No. 1 for a total of five weeks in that span. 

Tied with Notre Dame and Alabama, Oklahoma has the most AP National titles in the modern era.  OU has 16 NCAA-recognized titles in contemporary times, NU owns 11.

Oklahoma owned the Big Eight and now they own the Big 12.  After Nebraska jets for the Big Ten, OU will continue to own the Big 12.  

Oklahoma owns the highest winning percentage (.762) in college football, having played about 750 games in its modern football history.

The Sooners should be motivated by maintaining bragging rights for the Big 12.  They should be inspired to hand Nebraska a Big 12-walking whooping. 

Motivated to leave the Big 12 with a big win, Nebraska should be. 

Both squads should be extremely fired up.  They’ll strap their equipment on, knock heads and see what happens for the team which follows my advice.  That program will be the victor.


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