Seventh Day Adventure
Football Outsiders' weekly preview for people who like their football played on Saturdays

Seventh Day Adventure: Week 14

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers QB Grayson McCall
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

A final four for the playoff and the conference championship pictures are clearing up after Week 13 in college football. In Big 12 country, Iowa State essentially eliminated Texas from the title hunt with a 23-20 victory in Austin. That win also likely sealed the fate of Tom Herman and initiated the "silly season" with "Urban Meyer to Texas" rumors and speculation heating up.

Oklahoma's trip to West Virginia was postponed, so the Big 12 will need to get a few more games in to cement their Big 12 title pairing, which is shaping up to be a rematch of Oklahoma and Iowa State. The Cyclones won Round 1 in one of the better games of the year within the Big 12.

In SEC country, the Texas A&M Aggies kept up their strong season by beating LSU 20-7 in a defensively dominant performance. This column's expectation that the LSU defense would load up the middle of the field to deny Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond clear opportunities to throw to star tight end Jalen Wydermyer or for A&M to run the ball proved accurate, but the Tigers offense could get nothing going and threw a pick-six that cemented the game. Alabama found winning the Iron Bowl against Auburn without Nick Saban on the sideline to be relatively easy and blew out the Tigers 42-13 by landing a few deep shots to Devonta Smith.

Clemson aced a test against Pittsburgh winning 52-17 while Trevor Lawrence threw for 403 yards at 10.9 yards per attempt with two scores. Clemson and Notre Dame have put together resumes that seem likely to get both teams into the playoff, while the SEC is likely to send at least Alabama and potentially Florida or Texas A&M as well. One of the big questions for the rest of the season is whether or not the Big 10 or Pac-12 will be able to play enough of a season to get one of their teams up for consideration.

This week will have a few big Group of Five games and then some of the final hurdles for teams that seem to be heading toward inevitable titles such as Oklahoma and Alabama.

All times are listed as Eastern.

Texas A&M (-7) at Auburn -- Saturday, 12 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall Texas A&M (6-1) Auburn (5-3)
F/+ 12 28
FEI 13 20
When Texas A&M has the ball Offense Defense
FEI 21 33
SP+ 23 38
IsoPPP+ 79 18
Rushing success rate 42 88
Passing success rate 32 93
When Auburn has the ball Defense Offense
FEI 16 33
SP+ 19 48
IsoPPP+ 44 101
Rushing success rate 24 35
Passing success rate 43 66

Auburn wasn't up for taking on Alabama; their team is too young. They put up a pair of freshman running backs against the Crimson Tide defense and otherwise relied on sophomore quarterback Bo Nix trying to work against the Alabama defense. Nix threw for 227 yards at 6.0 yards per attempt with zero touchdowns and two interceptions while the backs' combined effort couldn't break 4.0 yards per carry or 100 yards on the day. The Auburn defense was totally gashed with Devonta Smith leading the way for 171 receiving yards and two scores on seven catches. Their pass rush was no better off trying to get to Mac Jones than others have been going up against the Alabama offensive line.

Texas A&M is an easier target, but certainly not an easy one. Fortunately for Tigers defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, LSU has already revealed a path for handling the Aggies offense. The A&M skill roster is very effective at attacking the middle of the field with the quarterback option in the run game, the traditional run game, and then throwing to tight end Jalen Wydermyer and also running back Ainias Smith. LSU was confident playing man coverage outside with Derek Stingley and their other cornerbacks and presenting a few different coverages and matchups with their safeties and linebackers in the middle of the field. A&M quarterback Kellen Mond struggled with Wydermyer receiving regular double-team attention, throwing for just 3 yards per attempt.

The Aggies' outside receivers haven't been dominant this season, and Tigers cornerbacks Roger McCreary and Nehemiah Pritchett will surely get the task of trying to shut them down without assistance from the safeties. From there, the Auburn Tigers can aim to match the LSU Tigers' efforts to jam up and double-team Wydermyer. Strong safety Jamien Sherwood is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds and has the size to try and jam him up and disrupt the timing of the Aggies passing game. A&M will need some measures to get Wydermyer open for Mond, who clearly struggles to find other targets. They mixed in some Y-iso, a favored NFL formation in which the tight end flexes out to one side of the formation opposite three receivers, but the Tigers kept Jacoby Stevens matched up on him.

Auburn's bigger concern is the A&M defensive line, which has been dominant this season. They like to move big DeMarvin Leal around to different spots, strongside end or tackle, and while his numbers don't pop off the page, his impact on games certainly does. Defensive tackle Bobby Brown and weakside end Michael Clemons have a combined 7.5 sacks as the main benefactors of the scheme, along with middle linebacker Buddy Johnson, who's the team leader in tacklers by a wide margin. Johnson has 66 tackles on the year with four tackles for loss, two sacks, and an interception, three other pass breakups, and a pair of forced fumbles.

Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn's preference for winning games is with power-spread tactics that allow his unit to push their way through the middle of the field. That will obviously be tough here given A&M's powerful line, Johnson's play, and also the solid run defense the Aggies get from their safeties. Malzahn doesn't have a lot of options either because of the shaky play of their passing game. The Tigers had to play Auburn without starting left tackle Alec Jackson, and right tackle Brodarius Hamm couldn't finish the game after making an effort with his own injury. They'll likely be playing the backups against A&M, which only serves to weaken their passing game and make them even more vulnerable to the Aggies defensive line and pass-rush.

There's a formula here for Auburn to follow in keeping this game lower scoring and within reach, but Malzahn is going to need to start producing on offense at some point or they won't be able to piece together a victory.

Watch for:

  • Auburn's safeties, particularly Jermaine Sherwood, matched up on A&M's star tight end Jalen Wydermyer.
  • Can Auburn's beat-up offensive line withstand the Aggies' big, NFL prospect-rich defensive line?
  • Late-season trick plays -- Auburn pulled a few out against Alabama and will likely have several more to try and put them over the top if they can make this a defensive struggle.

FEI Outright Pick: Auburn by 0.1

BYU at Coastal Carolina (-10) -- 5:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Overall BYU (9-0) Coastal Carolina (9-0)
F/+ 4 20
FEI 4 16
When BYU has the ball Offense Defense
FEI 4 30
SP+ 7 48
IsoPPP+ 7 10
Rushing success rate 17 71
Passing success rate 5 21
When Coastal Carolina has the ball Defense Offense
FEI 13 11
SP+ 17 19
IsoPPP+ 21 39
Rushing success rate 2 25
Passing success rate 45 15

This game could prove groundbreaking for college football. We were going to get independent Liberty in this game against Coastal Carolina, who have already completed their conference slate and locked up the Sun Belt East division over rival Appalachian State. Liberty was derailed for this game by COVID, and BYU managed to get the game on the schedule mid-week. These sorts of last-minute adjustments belie the traditional thinking about how college football is supposed to work with regards to schedule and what's possible. Having success in pulling off last-minute games such as this one will clearly impact the sport in the future.

Despite BYU's unbeaten record, obviously the playoff committee isn't seriously considering the Cougars for the playoff, nor Coastal Carolina. Plenty of bigger programs will still be interested in this game, though, because of the coaching talent contained within. Coastal Carolina's Jamey Chadwell has been running a variety of eye-opening schemes this season that give some flash and excitement to pair with actual results on the scoreboard. If BYU does manage a victory here and goes on to win a bowl game, it won't be surprising if they pull a Central Florida and find a way to claim a national title. Why wouldn't they?

People love to tune in for Coastal Carolina games not only for the "might my team hire this coach?" angle, but also the entertainment of observing their offense at work. Quarterback Grayson McCall has been a maestro in their spread-option schemes with 1,747 yards at 10 yards per attempt and 20 touchdowns to a single interception. They run the ball with a variety of players; the lead runner is Torrance Marable with 592 yards at 5.0 yards per carry and eight touchdowns. He's the main inside runner while McCall and a variety of slotbacks get involved in the action on different RPO and pitch actions from the backfield.

Watching them try to make that work against BYU's defense is going to make for compelling programming. The Cougars have played great defense this season by dropping seven or eight most of the time, keeping the ball in front of them, and forcing opponents to work their way down the field against sure tackling and a very sturdy defensive line. Linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi is the star of the show, leading the team in tackles but also regularly attacking on the blitz with three sacks.

The concern for the Coastal Carolina offense will be matching up with their diminutive offensive line against nose tackle Khyiris Tonga and the big boys up front for BYU. It's notable that the Cougars passed on a chance to play the Washington Huskies but were willing to take this game on short notice, and it's hard not to be suspicious that the main reason was the lack of size and athleticism in the Chanticleers trenches. In Coastal Carolina's favor is the fact that their offense is heavy on option plays and misdirection and isn't contingent on overpowering opponents. Still, BYU surely figures they can drop back as they do against everyone else and rally to the ball.

That lack of size will also be an issue when BYU is on offense. The Cougars offensive line has given up only seven sacks on Wilson all year and lead running back Tyler Allgeier is up to 851 rushing yards at a whopping 7.2 yards per carry with 11 rushing touchdowns. Wilson has another eight rushing touchdowns and then 2,724 passing yards at 11.5 yards per attempt with 26 touchdowns to just two interceptions. It's a very balanced offense and Wilson's strengths as a passer, scrambler, and running threat tie it all together along with a large and cohesive offensive line. The main hope for the Chanticleers on this side of the ball will be that their blitzing 3-4 defense is able to confuse the Cougars, who haven't had much time to prepare for this game, and land some negative plays that knock them off their rhythm.

Watch for:

  • How will these teams handle each other's tactics and personnel without the normal amount of time to prepare?
  • Coastal Carolina's spread-option schemes against the reliable bend-don't-break schemes of BYU.
  • Can Coastal Carolina handle the size and athleticism of BYU quarterback Zach Wilson or the Cougars offensive and defensive lines?

FEI Outright Pick: BYU by 7.2

Wisconsin (-14) at Indiana -- 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Overall Wisconsin (2-1) Indiana (5-1)
F/+ 6 19
FEI 5 14
When Wisconsin has the ball Offense Defense
FEI 18 7
SP+ 20 34
IsoPPP+ 116 112
Rushing success rate 48 55
Passing success rate 87 26
When Indiana has the ball Defense Offense
FEI 3 39
SP+ 1 30
IsoPPP+ 106 2
Rushing success rate 1 83
Passing success rate 1 86

For the Big 10 conference, there's some significance in this game simply for the impact it will have on Ohio State's season. The Buckeyes are currently ranked fourth in the playoff rankings, but their season will likely be limited due to COVID cancellations and they need to be able to build the best case possible for inclusion in the playoff. One way for that to occur is for Indiana to look as strong as possible since they gave Ohio State their toughest game of the season thus far.

The Hoosiers have been a consistently solid defensive squad under head coach Tom Allen, and this season they've added explosive offense to the mix. Their driving force as a team this has been their ability to land knockout punches in the passing game, usually to Ty Fryfogle (652 receiving yards, seven touchdowns). The 214-pounder is exceptional at creating space and winning the ball in the air down the field, and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. had shown the ability to consistently find him.

With Penix out for the year with a torn ACL, the Hoosiers have other weapons but are clearly less potent. Lead running back Stevie Scott has 405 yards at 3.4 yards per carry with eight rushing touchdowns; slot receiver Whop Philyor has been slowed down recently after big games against Rutgers and Michigan. Things are now complicated for the Hoosiers. Penix's replacement Jack Tuttle went 5-for-5 in limited action, but his ability to hit Fryfogle against good coverage is the sticking point. On the positive side of things, freshman running back Tim Baldwin had a breakout game against the Terrapins with 16 carries for 106 yards while junior back Scott had multiple rushing yards in a goal-line Wildcat package the Hoosiers had great success in.

Having a big outside receiver that a young quarterback can throw the ball up to as needed and a steady goal-line package for converting in the red zone are useful boosts to Indiana here. They need a lot of boosts going up against the Wisconsin defense.

The Badgers still haven't established a go-to pass-rusher yet, but they've been squeezing Big 10 offenses this season. The Northwestern performance two weeks ago in which the Wildcats scored 17 points was an absolute slapfight with five Badgers turnovers. The Wildcats could manage next to nothing on offense, running for 24 yards with only one Badgers sack and throwing for 203 yards at a measly 4.6 yards per attempt. Wisconsin has a lot of pressure packages and simulated pressures in their defense in which they'll show one blitz or formation before the snap to encourage a particular style of protection before blitzing in a way designed to attack that protection. They've also shown the willingness and ability to bracket top receivers and play man coverage elsewhere, higher level pro tactics that are tough for a less experienced quarterback.

Tuttle was a transfer from Utah and then a backup last season at Indiana, so he's not totally new to the offensive system, but he doesn't have many game reps and Wisconsin is as challenging a mental test as you tend to get in the Big 10.

But Wisconsin can't take advantage of that and blow this game open unless they improve on offense. Northwestern shut them down last weekend, taking advantage of the Badgers' lack of their normal power run game and picking off Graham Mertz three times. The Badgers continue to lean more on young running back Jalen Berger, who had 15 carries for 93 yards against the Wildcats. Nakia Watson has struggled to find running room and Garrett Groshek is more of a third-down back then an every-down feature player.

If Indiana can stop up the Wisconsin run game without gifting easy looks on play-action or jet sweeps like the ones that destroyed Michigan, they can keep the score down and try to limit Tuttle's assignments in this game to executing handoffs, taking play-action shots to Fryfogle on standard downs, and looking to protect the ball.

Watch for:

  • Can Indiana get the ball to star wide receiver Ty Fryfogle against Wisconsin's disguised coverages and blitzes?
  • Both teams may be trying to establish their run games with younger running backs.
  • Wisconsin's power run game against the Indiana defensive front -- the Badgers need it back this week.

FEI Outright Pick: Wisconsin by 9.8

West Virginia at Iowa State (-7) -- 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall West Virginia (5-3) Iowa State (7-2)
F/+ 33 15
FEI 38 17
When West Virginia has the ball Offense Defense
FEI 79 19
SP+ 75 18
IsoPPP+ 56 82
Rushing success rate 114 16
Passing success rate 44 46
When Iowa State has the ball Defense Offense
FEI 14 15
SP+ 11 18
IsoPPP+ 25 68
Rushing success rate 20 15
Passing success rate 4 23

This is a tricky game for the Cyclones, who are coming off back-to-back big games against Kansas State (rivalry) and Texas. Maintaining their energy and health through this sort of grind with a less heralded roster is difficult. Against Texas, they looked very healthy at quarterback, healthier than they normally are at this time of year between Brock "Pump Fake" Purdy's smaller frame and regular running, but big tight end Dylan Soehner was limping on and off the field in between some of his clutch plays that secured the victory. They've got this last big test, and if they can beat the Mountaineers at home they'll clinch a place in the Big 12 title game and potentially get a bye week to get healthy and prepare for Oklahoma whoever is waiting for them in that game.

The challenge West Virginia presents to anyone, and certainly to Iowa State, is the high quality of their defensive line. While the Stills brothers, Dante and Darius, have been somewhat statistically quiet with a combined 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks compared to 26 tackles for loss and 14 sacks a year ago, they are dominating games. Toward the end of 2019, the West Virginia defensive staff realized that blitzing extra defenders to create one-on-one matchups for the Stills brothers was creating lots of disruption for opponents and numbers for those two, but it was also getting them burned on the back end. They adjusted late in the year to use those players more for guaranteeing effective play in the trenches without sending numbers from the linebacker corps or secondary and the Mountaineers have played outstanding defense ever since.

The one player they'll leave in the box to help the tackles is middle linebacker Tony Fields, who leads the team by nearly 20 tackles with 79 total. He'll play with some depth, read flow behind the Stills bros, and close and tackle for minimal gains. Otherwise they'll play leaner linebacker Josh Chandler and nickel safety Tykee Smith out on receivers to allow them to achieve Cover-2 schemes to keep the ball in front of them. Iowa State isn't necessarily an offense you need to play Cover-2 against; they lack explosive power in the passing game to the outside receivers. Playing a bend-don't-break strategy against them isn't a terrible idea though, even though the Cyclones have some answers for finishing drives in the red zone with Purdy runs, multiple-tight end power runs to star running back Breece Hall, or play-action/RPO shots to the tight ends releasing into the end zone.

Stopping Hall is the main objective. Texas held him under 100 yards last Saturday and gummed up the works some for the Cyclones offense only to succumb to play-action throws in the seams to Soehner and fellow tight end Charlie Kolar. On the year, Hall has 1,260 yards at 6.3 yards per carry with 16 rushing touchdowns. He has been the main engine for their chance at a Big 12 title other than the defense. West Virginia's battle to contain him with their defensive line and Fields should define the contest.

On the other side of things, West Virginia has their own solid rushing attack featuring power runner Leddie Brown coming off an extra week of rest due to the postponement of the Mountaineers' game with Oklahoma last Saturday. The Mountaineers have a deep stable of wide receivers as well that has lacked a clear, go-to weapon they can count on to scheme up shots for or target in the red zone. Iowa State has kept on trucking with their flyover defense that allows them to blend Cover-2 schemes on the outside with boxes that often get late help from a safety coming from over the top to outnumber the run.

The Cyclones are at their best in run defense despite their conservative coverage shells. They have a deep rotation along the defensive line that includes five or six different very strong contributors for three spots. Strongside linebacker Mike Rose is one of the better defensive players in the league. He leads the team with 76 tackles and has 10 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, four interceptions, and two pass breakups. They move him out in space and back regularly. His size at 240 pounds is a problem for the Big 12's spread offenses out on the perimeter. but they can't beat him over the top in the passing game because the Cyclones' three-safety flyover defensive scheme helps them protect him from getting exposed trying to turn and run down the field.

West Virginia will need to work out some solutions on offense because if they're drawn into a low-scoring slugfest, the Cyclones have been very good at winning on the margins with effective situational offense and defense.

Watch for:

  • Will Iowa State be healthy and ready, particularly at tight end, for their third big game in a row?
  • The Iowa State run game with star running back Breece Hall against West Virginia's excellent defensive interior.
  • Can West Virginia find solutions on offense for Iowa State's flyover defense?

FEI Outright Pick: Iowa State by 8.3

Alabama (-29.5) at LSU -- 8 p.m. (CBS)

Overall Alabama (8-0) LSU (3-4)
F/+ 1 33
FEI 1 40
When Alabama has the ball Offense Defense
FEI 1 47
SP+ 1 66
IsoPPP+ 9 125
Rushing success rate 3 72
Passing success rate 3 66
When LSU has the ball Defense Offense
FEI 11 48
SP+ 9 45
IsoPPP+ 68 100
Rushing success rate 23 53
Passing success rate 27 61

This series hasn't always been particularly competitive or compelling over the last 10 years, save for last year when LSU put together that magical run before losing nearly the entire roster and coaching staff. Alabama has typically dominated the game, and this season certainly doesn't look any different on the surface. LSU cycled through a pair of freshman quarterbacks trying to contend with A&M last week and came out the worse for wear. T.J. Finley threw a pair of interceptions, one of them returned for a score by A&M, and Max Johnson (son of Brad Johnson) was better but not great.

Alabama hasn't been dominant on defense since their national title in 2017, but they aren't pushovers either. They have been able to manufacture some pressure with a few different packages, and their rebuilt secondary is improving. As has been the case for a while now, the strength is inside at safety, where Nick Saban always teaches and develops really strong players. The 2020 Crimson Tide had to start over, but freshman nickel Malachi Moore has three interceptions while safeties Jordan Battle and Daniel Wright have been pretty involved for the Tide and have another three interceptions playing over the top and moving around. Moore often plays in tighter man coverage with Wright and Battle moving around to shift the strength of the coverage.

It's a tough unit to attack in the passing game, unless you have an older quarterback such as Joe Burrow who can decipher it all in spread passing sets or a rock star outside receiver like J'Marr Chase who can beat up on the Alabama cornerbacks. This year's LSU team seems to be lacking both and has had to lean on their run game more. The Alabama run defense isn't up to their 2017-and-earlier standards, but they are better than they were in 2019 and quite good overall.

But Alabama's offense is not the Aggies offense. For LSU to have a prayer, their own offense can win this game they need to slow down Steve Sarkisian's Tide. The Alabama offense this season has excelled at mixing in play-action passing with double-moves run by speedy wide receiver Devonta Smith. The burner has 72 catches this year for 1,074 yards and 12 touchdowns, and the Tide will move him around to hunt space and matchups for his routes. Priority 1 in stopping this team has to be stopping the regular play-action shots they're taking with Smith.

That can't be done with the pass rush; the Alabama offensive line has been too good and teams aren't getting home on Mac Jones. Georgia came closest and were still summarily destroyed by this attack. You can't sit back and play Cover-2 everywhere either; Najee Harris and the Alabama run game will roll over you unless you have exceptional players along the defensive line and at linebacker. LSU doesn't have exceptional players, though they aren't bad. The answer for LSU needs to be bracket coverage on Smith, strong safety Jacoby Stevens hanging out in the box to help outnumber the run game and bring occasional pressure, and then Cover-zero on the other Alabama receivers. Without a really personnel-targeting approach, the sheer talent on the Alabama offense will overwhelm an opponent.

Watch for:

  • Can LSU's freshman quarterbacks protect the ball and get anything going against the Alabama pass defense?
  • Alabama's play-action precision strikes to Devonta Smith down the field.
  • Will LSU draw up special defenses to combat Alabama's deadly offense, or play base schemes and be overmatched?

FEI Outright Pick: Alabama by 24.2

Baylor at Oklahoma (-22) -- 8 p.m. (FOX)

Overall Baylor (2-5) Oklahoma 6-2)
F/+ 62 9
FEI 45 9
When Baylor has the ball Offense Defense
FEI 75 23
SP+ 88 29
IsoPPP+ 95 105
Rushing success rate 116 26
Passing success rate 102 10
When Oklahoma has the ball Defense Offense
FEI 32 10
SP+ 37 3
IsoPPP+ 30 16
Rushing success rate 62 26
Passing success rate 17 14

The Bears have fallen off since losing their staff, star receiver, and now nearly the entire 2019 defense that really drove their run to the Big 12 Championship Game a year ago. So they aren't quite the obstacle for Oklahoma that they were when they forced the Sooners to wage a massive comeback in the regular season or took them to overtime in the title game. Nevertheless, the Bears aren't a complete doormat either and just pulled off an impressive 32-31 comeback win last week against Kansas State.

That comeback was managed by senior quarterback Charlie Brewer, who was 31-for-39 passing with 349 yards at 8.9 yards per attempt with two touchdowns to zero interceptions. Brewer also took seven sacks, and on top of those losses added another 16 carries for 79 yards at 4.9 yards per carry with a pair of rushing touchdowns. The Bears scored on their final three possessions and won the game with a field goal as time expired that gave them the one-point margin and comeback win. Brewer's ability to stay healthy was a major issue a year ago, and his ability to spin the ball has clearly alternated this season based on apparent injuries to his hand. However, right now he's about as healthy as he has been in the last couple of seasons, and the Bears are dangerous as a consequence of that fact.

Brewer is effective in the quarterback draw game, running quarterback power in short-yardage, and then executing the quick passing game. His best trait is probably hitting RPOs to the short side of the field attached to runs; those quick reads and accurate throws are a specialty of his game and difficult to defend when surrounded by good skill talent.

Oklahoma has an aggressive style on defense that often leaves RPOs open to face man coverage, but they also teach their hard-charging defensive backs and linebackers to be wary of RPOs and get their hands up when they see the quarterback looking downfield trying to make a read and throw. They picked off Oklahoma State on an RPO when 6-foot-4 middle linebacker David Ugwoegbu got his hands up and not only deflected an RPO pass but then managed to catch it off the bounce for an interception in Cowboys territory. Baylor's ability to handle Oklahoma's pressure and get the ball out in space against the one-on-one matchups the Sooners will surrender with their cornerbacks and nickel corner Brendan Radley-Hiles will determine how well they fare on offense.

The Bears have played good defense under new head coach and former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, despite the considerable turnover of their roster and the loss midseason of star linebacker Terrell Bernard. Nickel Jalen Pitre has had a big season with 6.5 tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions patrolling the wide flat, and the Bears defensive backs have had a solid season. Their biggest challenge against Oklahoma is the Sooners' interior offensive line and backfield.

Oklahoma has 6-foot-5, 340-pound left guard Marquis Hayes; 6-foot-5, 320-pound center Creed Humphrey; and 6-foot-3, 330-pound right guard Tyrese Robinson, all of whom started for Oklahoma in 2019 when their power run game with Jalen Hurts won the title. This year instead of Hurts they can insert fullback Jeremiah Hall (6-foot-2, 250 pounds) to lead block for running back Rhamondre Stevenson (6-foot-0, 235 pounds). It's just a lot of size and beef in the middle of the field, and quarterback Spencer Rattler has a big arm for hitting play-action outside and down the field when defenses try to load the box.

Baylor may have to load the box because their own defensive line has struggled to rebuild after losing three terrific starters in 2019. Their path will hinge on Aranda and his staff managing to thwart the Oklahoma running game without doing so in obvious fashions that allow Lincoln Riley to draw up ways for his young quarterback to punish them with the play-action passing game.

The other worry for Oklahoma is the effect COVID absences will have on their roster. This game was nearly canceled because of Oklahoma's COVID issues amongst both players and staff. Apparently Bob Stoops was called back in to help Oklahoma field enough coaches to run successful practices.

Watch for:

  • Can Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer run and throw the Bears to another tight battle with the Sooners?
  • Oklahoma's massive interior offensive line and power run game against the Baylor interior defense.
  • Bob Stoops watch! What role will Bob Stoops play for the Sooners as they try to secure their trip to the Big 12 Championship Game?

FEI Outright Pick: Oklahoma by 16.5


FEI PICKS: WEEK 14

Favorite Spread Underdog FEI Pick FEI Pick
Against the Spread
Ian's Pick
Against the Spread
Texas A&M 7 at Auburn Auburn Auburn Auburn
BYU 10 at Coastal Carolina BYU Coastal Carolina BYU
Wisconsin 14 at Indiana Wisconsin Indiana Wisconsin
at Iowa State 7 West Virginia Iowa State Iowa State Iowa State
Alabama 29.5 at LSU Alabama LSU Alabama
at Oklahoma 22 Baylor Oklahoma Baylor Baylor

FEI picks against the spread in Week 13: 3-3

FEI picks against the spread this year: 39-30-1

Ian's picks against the spread in Week 13: 3-3

Ian's Picks against the spread this year: 38-31-1

Comments

7 comments, Last at 04 Dec 2020, 10:58pm

1 That win also likely ceiled…

That win also likely ceiled the fate of Tom Herman

Was "ceiled the fate" a pun, or should that read "sealed"?

2 BYU at Coastal Carolina (-7)…

BYU at Coastal Carolina (-7)

ESPN has BYU -10.
https://www.espn.com/college-football/game/_/gameId/401237514

 

3 Despite BYU's unbeaten…

Despite BYU's unbeaten record, obviously the playoff committee isn't seriously considering the Cougars for the playoff, nor Coastal Carolina.

And it's embarrassing that we just sit back and accept that. Sports journalism was always somewhat of an oxymoron, but have some pride. 

5 Last week's Northwestern…

Last week's Northwestern performance in which the Wildcats scored 17 points was an absolute slapfight with five Badgers turnovers.

Two weeks ago. Northwestern lost to MSU last week, because MSU lives for wins as an enormous underdog and has for 30 years now.