Big 12 Championship PreviewEditor's Note: Don't miss out on Saturday college football winners from Joe Williams. Click to win!
Matchup: Oklahoma vs. Texas
Date: Saturday, Dec. 1
Time/TV: 12:00 p.m. ET - ABC
Venue: AT&T Stadium
Location: Arlington, Tex.
Line, Total: Sooners -8, 77.5
The Big 12 Championship Game has major playoff implications this season, and for the first time in the title game's history we get a rematch of the Red River Rivalry. That's exactly what the league was hoping for when the league revived the championship game last season.
The Oklahoma Sooners (11-1 straight-up, 4-7-1 against the spread) will be looking for revenge against the rival Texas Longhorns (9-3 straight-up, 5-6-1 against the spread) after falling 48-45 in the neutral-site game at the Cotton Bowl back on Oct. 6. The Longhorns won that game outright as seven-point underdogs as the 'over' (60) easily connected in that outing. Now the teams will meet on the even faster track of the field turf surface at Jerry World in Arlington.
Oklahoma lost QB Baker Mayfield, last season's Heisman Trophy winner, to the NFL's Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick. In stepped QB Kyler Murray, and the Sooners haven't missed a beat. In fact, he might be on his way to New York City looking to give the team back-to-back bronze statues. OU opened with three straight victories, including a 37-27 revenge-game win at Iowa State on Sept. 15. They received quite a scare from Army of all teams, surviving 28-21 in overtime back on Sept. 22. They spurred them on, as they doubled up Baylor 66-33 to head to Dallas for that Longhorns game at 5-0 SU/2-3 ATS. We know what happened there, but they bounced back to win six straight outings while scoring 48 or more points in all six of their final games. In fact, they rolled up at least 37 points in 11 of their 12 contests, although they closed out the season 0-3-1 ATS in the final four.
This will be Oklahoma's 10th appearance in the Big 12 championship game, and their sixth trip in the past seven installments of this game. Oklahoma appeared last season against Texas Christian at AT&T Stadium and they routed the Horned Frogs 41-17 as 7 1/2-point favorites. They have been favored in all nine of their previous appearances in this game, posting an 8-1 ATS mark,
The Longhorns are back in the Big 12 title game for the first time since 2009 when they eeked out a 13-12 win over Nebraska despite entering as two-touchdown favorites. This is their sixth appearance in the Big 12 championship game, and they're 3-2 SU/2-3 ATS in their previous five battles.
Things didn't start out so well for Texas, as they were topped 34-29 in a neutral-site battle against Maryland in the opener on Sept. 1. They edged Tulsa 28-21 in their home opener, but still were not hitting on all cylinders. It wasn't until at 37-14 win on Sept. 15 against USC that the Longhorns looked to be on their way back. Two more wins in September and then the Red River Rivalry victory, and Texas was in the Top 10 and they had championship hopes. Oklahoma State ended their playoff dreams 38-35 in Stillwater on Oct. 27, and a loss the next week at home against West Virginia by a 42-41 score looked like the end of the road. They rebounded for wins at Texas Tech and at home against Iowa State, while surviving at Kansas to punch their ticket back to the Metroplex.
Texas ranked 60th in the nation with 414.2 total yards per game, and they were 38th in passing yards (257.4 YPG). Their rushing offense, normally a staple in Austin, was just so-so, as they ranked 84th overall in that department. They did average 31.7 points per game (PPG) in their 12 games to check in 46th.
Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger (shoulder) seized the starting job and he ran with it, rolling up 2,774 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He was also a threat in the run game, posting 376 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He has been battling a raw right shoulder, and that's something to watch in the game in case he takes a hard hit to the joint.
RB Keaontay Ingram was the co-leader in the backfield with Tre Watson. Ingram posted 676 rushing yards (5.2 YPC) while finding the end zone three times, and Watson was good for 656 yards (4.3 YPC) and three scores on the ground. In the pass game it's WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey who led the way with 72 grabs, 1,058 yards and eight touchdowns while WRs Collin Johnson and David Duvernay combined for 1,236 yards and 10 scores. Watson and Ingram combined for 41 grabs for 260 yards and five scores out of the backfield.
Oklahoma's offense was prolific, and their defense somewhat pathetic. That leads to a lot of video-game like performances. The Sooners ranked No. 1 in the country with 583.9 yards per game, and they were also No. 1 in points scored (50.3 PPG). OU had a balanced attack with 264.5 yards per game on the ground, while rolling up 319.4 yards per game through the air to rank eighth in both categories. However, they were just 110th in the country in defense, allowing 449.0 yards per game and 32.8 PPG, ranking 100th.
Murray completed 70.6 percent of his passes, as the Oakland A's draftee and Heisman hopeful has the world in his hands right now. He'll be a rich man playing either pro baseball or pro football. Will this be his final college game? There is talk speculating he could sit in the bowl game to protect himself for the future. Murray rolled up 3,674 yards, 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions while running for 853 yards and 11 more scores.
RB Kennedy Brooks led the way with 993 yards on the ground while finding the end zone 12 times. RB Trey Sermon managed 863 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. WR Marquise Brown was good for a team-best 1,264 receiving yards with 10 scores on 70 grabs, averaging a gaudy 18.1 yards per snare. WR CeeDee Lamb was also a deep threat, posting 882 yards and nine scores on 51 grabs. The Longhorns will have to account for WR Lee Morris, who ended up finding the end zone eight times.
Betting Trends to Watch
-- The Longhorns have posted a 5-1 ATS mark in their past six neutral-site contests, although they failed to cover in Week 1 this season in such situation. They're also 13-5-2 ATS in the past 20 against teams with a winning overall mark.
-- The Sooners have struggled against the number, going 0-3-1 ATS in their past four inside the league. They're also a dismal 0-3-1 ATS in their past four attempts against teams with a winning overall record. OU has managed a 2-9 ATS record in the past 11 neutral-site battles, too.
-- As far as the total is concerned, the 'under' is an impressive 42-17 in the past 59 league games while going 5-0 in the past five in the month of December. The 'under' is also 30-11 in the past 41 against teams with a winning overall record, while going 25-10 in the past 35 following a straight-up win.
-- For OU, the 'over' is 5-0 in their past five against teams with a winning record. The over is also 19-7 in their past 26 and 36-15-1 in the past 52 inside the Big 12. However, the 'under' is 7-3 in the past 10 neutral-site battles.
-- Texas has covered six straight head-to-head meetings, with the underdog cashing in each of the past six battles.
Big 12 Championship History
|Big 12 Championship (1996-2018)|
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