🏈 Sooners head to Kansas
Oklahoma will look to start its season 8-0 for the first time since 2004.
✌🏽 Happy Friday, friends. There’s a football game tomorrow in Lawrence, Kansas. Let’s ride.
🤔 Trivia: When was the last season Kansas wasn’t selected to finish last in the Big 12 preseason poll? [Answer in footnotes]
🔑 Keys to victory
Despite the football program, Lawrence, Kansas, is a great town.
It’s got a decent bar scene. Not too far from Kansas City. And the people are generally nice.
The last time I was up at the university was for the Sooners’ 2019-20 men’s basketball season. Allen Fieldhouse is a true gem, and if you haven’t been up to an OU-Kansas hoops game yet, this coming year might be your last shot for some time. It’s definitely worth it.
It’s unfortunate I, and probably plenty of others, don’t share those same good vibes for OU’s trips to Kansas for football. You'd really think there'd be some history behind it. OU has played at Kansas’ Memorial Stadium more times (45) than any other stadium, except for Dallas’ Cotton Bowl and Stillwater’s Boone Pickens Stadium.
But here the Sooners are with an undefeated record and the Jayhawks without a victory against an FBS opponent so far this season. So … let’s identify some key to the games!
Key for the offense: Take it easy. OU shouldn’t have to do anything fancy. There’s no need to force passes or pull out any tricks against Kansas. OU’s offense should be able to run the ball at will against the Jayhawks and control the clock. OU just can’t let its foot off the gas after the way it dozed off against Tulane.
Key for the defense: Force Bean into mistakes. OU’s defensive front could have helped its secondary with getting more pressure on TCU’s quarterback, Max Duggan, last week. OU shouldn’t have a problem doing that against Kansas quarterback Jason Bean, which should open up Bean to take more risks and help OU’s young secondary move past its recent struggles.
Key for the special teams: Maybe sit this game out. If the Sooners are relying too much on Gabe Brkic and Michael Turk, there’s a problem.
💭 The pick
Oklahoma 66, Kansas 14: This one feels like it’s going to be extremely ugly. It’s a shame the Sooners won’t ever likely go up against a relevant Jayhawks squad again. Lance Leipold has some serious potential to do some good stuff in Lawrence, but this was a difficult Year 1 to navigate, considering the staff wasn’t in place until after Kansas’ spring game.
📺 Big 12 on TV
It’s not the most appetizing slate of games when Kansas is involved in one of the top-two matchups. Let’s rank this weekend’s Big 12 schedule:
No. 8 Oklahoma State at Iowa State (2:30 p.m., FOX): The Cyclones are a seven-point home favorite against undefeated Oklahoma State. While I think the Cyclones win, that line still feels a bit high for how well the Cowboys are playing on defense.
No. 3 Oklahoma at Kansas (11 a.m., ESPN): OU’s game against 1-5 Kansas gets the No. 2 spot purely for the anticipation of if/when Spencer Rattler enters the game. It’ll be intriguing to see how he responds, albeit in a no-pressure environment.
Kansas State at Texas Tech (11 a.m., FS1): The line is even on this game, which feels right. Both teams have made it clear they’re not in the top half of the conference but capable of giving just about anyone a game. I’ll take Kansas State here, and not because Chris Klieman told me so.
West Virginia at TCU (6:30 p.m., ESPNU): I didn’t realize they still put Big 12 games on ESPNU.
🚨 New podcast!
It’s Kansas week, which is basically an off week for Oklahoma. Still, on this week’s podcast, we go over some final thoughts from OU’s win over TCU last Saturday. To wrap up the episode, I spoke with Andy Mitts, who is the managing editor of the Kansas Jayhawks’ SB Nation blog, Rock Chalk Talk, and hosts the Rock Chalk Podcast.
Our conversation starts at the 14:46 mark if you’d like to skip ahead for some thoughts on the game, why Kansas is still struggling so much and an outsider’s perspective on the OU-Texas departure.
Where you can subscribe to the Eyes on Oklahoma podcast:
🔒 Postgame coverage
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⏰ On this day
Five years ago today, Baker Mayfield led Oklahoma to a 66-59 win over Patrick Mahomes and Texas Tech in Lubbock. The Sooners and Red Raiders each picked up 854 total yards of offense.
Mayfield ended the night with 545 yards on 27 of 36 passing and threw seven touchdowns. Joe Mixon had 263 rushing yards and two scores.
2010. The Big 12 still had divisions in 2010 and Kansas was picked to finish fourth in the conference's North Division.