There Will Be Blood: Beer Available For The First Time at Red River

For the first time in history, beer will be available in the seating area of the Cotton Bowl for OU-Texas.

According to the Dallas Morning News, beer sales will expand from the isolated beer garden to 26 full beer carts throughout the stadium.

From a general perspective, this deal makes a lot of sense. Both Oklahoma and Texas sell beer to the general public in their stadiums.

However, this is a move that will turn the atmosphere up to the next level. While I am okay with throwing hot oil on the most intense rivalry in college football, one has to imagine that things might get pretty intense after the traditional wild Friday night followed by the early morning pregame, a few wax cups and now we are keeping things heated through the game?

Overall, I’m all in favor of this. But please make sure you are aware of what you are getting into. This is a game not for the faint of heart, the elderly or young children.

Expect an atmosphere unlike any other on October 12th.

March Madness: #1 Virginia

Columbia, South Carolina

7:00 CT

truTV (Cox 48/760, DirecTv 246, Dish 148)

Well, that was shocking.

Even though most who looked at the Ole Miss game Thursday saw a great opportunity for Oklahoma to get their first tournament win in three seasons, the manner in which they got that win was simply astonishing. The Sooners were dominant in all facets of the game, racking up a season high 95 points. It went beyond just hitting shots; the offense was dynamic in ways we haven’t seen this season and multiple players had season defining games, with four players scoring over 18 points. It was like watching a different team.

The prize for this monumental accomplishment? The #1 seed Virginia Cavaliers. Gulp.

State of the Sooners

It’s hard not to get excited about this Oklahoma basketball team after last Friday. Pretty much, we got everything we could ever dream of: a consistent Brady Manek, a confident Christian James, a properly utilized Rashard Odomes and our undersized king Kristian Doolittle doing work. It was a perfect game.

The problem now is figuring out how do you replicate perfection when your previous high level is “moderately good”?

Oklahoma will have to figure that out in order to have a chance against the ‘Hoos today.

Meet the Cavaliers

Underneath the cover of undeniable shame of losing to a 16 seed last season, the Virginia Cavaliers have operated as a bit of an underrated team despite only having three losses. Lead by head coach Tony Bennett, the ‘Hoos possess an unrelenting defense with more than enough shooting to bury the Sooners.

Imagine a team with Iowa State’s Marial Shayok, Kansas State’s Barry Brown and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. That’s Virginia.

The trio of Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter not only are incredibly effective scorers, they are suffocating defenders. The Sooners will have to shut out UVA from easy shots and prevent second chance scoring to come out on top.

Tayler’s Take

One of my friends went to UVA and graduated from there recently. Here is Tayler Kehs’ in depth look at his prediction for the game.

Win.

The Matchup

For as favorable as the matchup was against Ole Miss, the matchup against UVA is quite the opposite. 16-seed jokes be damned, this team will be a real problem for Oklahoma. Their defense grinds their opponents into a fine powder and their offense picks apart defenses with the precision of a world class surgeon.

When looking for comparisons between UVA and opponents the Sooners have faced this season, the list of names are frightening: Kansas State (both embarrassing blowouts), Texas Tech (home blowout), Wisconsin (Bahamian blowout). The Oklahoma offense probably isn’t good enough to overcome the Virginia defense and star power.

The only reason I put “probably” in there is because I saw what happened Friday and realized that reality makes no sense with this basketball team. The Friday Sooners could definitely beat Virginia; the problem is they might be an illusion.

It was like the Trevor Knight game against Alabama, but every player was Trevor Knight and Alabama was just a middle of the road SEC team (so just Ole Miss I guess). If Knight had another game to play after, he’d doubtlessly be not as good.

This is somewhat the same case here. However there are a few keys to Oklahoma coming out on top.

  1. Do exactly what they did Friday. This will be nearly impossible as there will actually be some semblance of defensive pressure today, but maintaining the hot hand will be the first step in completing an upset bid
  2. Diversify the offense. Like Friday, OU was able to overwhelm their opponent with a flurry of options. This will be crucial in stretching the UVA defense thin.
  3. Pray for a poor Virginia shooting night. The Hoos struggle most when their offense sputters, rendering their defense moot. However, with the bevy of options available, someone will be open. At that point, pray.

Final Verdict

This is going to get ugly. Look, I know OU looked unbeatable against Ole Miss, but combine UVA’s superior talent with the fact that they are an atrocious matchup with the Sooners and this one just isn’t going to go Oklahoma’s way. The Cavaliers will likely win big, but that shouldn’t take away from what ended up as a pretty solid season when so many of us (myself included), predicted a down year. So relax, watch some Devion Harmon highlights (he’s gonna be GOOD y’all) and watch our last Big Two sporting event until August. Virginia, -11

Big 12 Tournament Day 1 Spread

Welcome to conference tournament season. It’s March, which means two things: basketball and gambling. Here’s your guide for today’s Big 12 action, starting at 6:00 PM on ESPN U.

#8 TCU vs. #9 Oklahoma State (TCU -4)

 I cannot emphasize this enough: hammer the Frogs here. I know TCU has completely stumbled down the stretch, losing six of their last eight (including a bad loss in Stillwater), but this is a team fighting for their tournament lives.

I know, Oklahoma State has shown the ability to surprise (they beat SEC champion LSU) but with all due respect to their scrappy band of student managers and mid-season walk-ons, Jim Dixon and the Horned Frogs should easily get this win and the cover. Otherwise, they deserve to get faded out of the Big 12 forever (Sorry, Blake). Frogs -4 is too much of a tasty treat to not take. TCU, -4.

#7 Oklahoma vs. #10 West Virginia (OU -6.5)

Vegas is weirdly high on the Sooners, as evidenced by this relatively high line. I know the Mountaineers are bad, but Jesus do we really trust this OU basketball this much with 6.5 points? I felt the same way a few weeks ago during the last matchup between these teams and Oklahoma pulled off a comfortable cover.

With that being said, I still feel more comfortable with this game being a closer win from OU or a West Virginia upset. Neutral court matters and I think the Sooners cool off a bit away from the LNC. From here on out, the biggest thing for the Sooner success is hoping that any combination of Jamal Bieniemy, Aaron Calixte, Brady Manek and Christian James get hot and help out Kristian Doolittle for once.

Figuring out if this Oklahoma team shows up against decent competition is nearly impossible, but thankfully we have that overzealous Vegas line. Go with West Virginia here and consider sprinkling some cash on the moneyline for the highest value upset bit of the tournament. West Virginia, +6.5

Big 12 Tournament Preview

I know I dropped a Welcome to March article on March 1st, but on Wednesday the real show begins. The start of conference tournament season ushers in the official coming of March Madness, where college basketball games are played from early morning until midnight and the drama could not be higher.

As conference tournaments go, you couldn’t ask for a better one than the Big 12 Tournament. With eight teams currently projected to make the Big Dance and two of them barely teetering on the bubble (per ESPN), this will be a highly competitive tournament. Hell, even Oklahoma State and West Virginia, the two weakest teams of the conference, are capable of making a wild run and upsetting the order of things.

from the Big 12 Conference
Via Big 12 Conference

The Favorite: #1 Kansas State

Kansas State was one of two teams to do the impossible; win a Big 12 regular season basketball title as a non-Kansas team. Yes, the Big 12 finally changed, thanks to the combined efforts of the Red Raiders and Wildcats, however, Kansas State is the team I think is most likely to come out on top in Kansas City.

The K-State side of the bracket lines up fantastically. Their first opponent is the winner of Wednesday’s Oklahoma State/TCU matchup, two teams Kansas State handled with ease in the regular season. In the semis, K-State would play the winner of Baylor and Iowa State, who the Wildcats went a combined 3-1 against.

kstate champs
Via K-State Sports

Not only does Kansas State have a highly favorable road to the finals, but they have strong motivation too. The Wildcats are currently projected as a four seed, bogged down by bad non-conference losses to Texas A&M and Tulsa. Winning the tournament could possibly boost the ‘Cats into a more favorable seed and potentially a better first/second round location in Des Moines or Tulsa (currently projected in San Jose by ESPN).

The Wildcats will be a highly motivated, highly talented team that no one will want to face. The senior duo of Barry Brown and Dean Wade are as good as any in the country and will be a massive problem for anyone in their way. Texas Tech will also be a tough out, but with a tougher side of the bracket and less upward mobility, the favorite edge goes to Kansas State.

The Dark Horse: #6 Texas

Sure, the Longhorns have faltered down the final Big 12 stretch and their non-conference was awful. However, with the return of leading scorer Kerwin Roach from suspension, Texas is poised for a much-needed conference run. While the ‘Horns are projected in the NCAA Tournament, they are without a doubt on the bubble. An opening win against Kansas (who the Longhorns have played very well this season) would solidify their case, but I see Texas as a team that could potentially get hot if things get weird elsewhere around the bracket.

tcuUT.jpg

The Team With the Most to Gain: #8 TCU

The Frogs desperately need a win over Oklahoma State to even stay alive in the tournament. Without that, it’s time for ol’ Jim Dixon to prep for another NIT run. They should beat Oklahoma State as they are coming off a big win in Austin over Texas and are playing desperate, but they’ll find no breaks in round two against Kansas State. I think they keep that one close, but I don’t see them pulling it off.

Fade ‘Em: #3 Kansas

Look, I know it’s a bad idea to bet against the Jayhawks. But Kansas is just not the same team they’ve been in the past. The losses of two stars in Udoka Azubuike and Legarald Vick have made KU merely mortal. The shooting has been mediocre at best in the back half of the season. Not only that, the Jayhawks are in a side of the bracket riddled with matchup issues, as they have looked abysmal against both Texas and Texas Tech.

If you believe in logos, go for it, pick Kansas. I dare you.

Be Afraid: #7 Oklahoma

I really do hate to say it, but I don’t know if I can trust this OU team in this tournament. In mind, the Sooners got an awful draw against West Virginia. Despite being the worst team in the conference, there is just something scary about Bob Huggins’ tiny stool, the full court press and, of course, Country Roads. Plus, last time we played in KC, the above video happened, which still makes me upset.

Other than superstition, I just think these Sooners don’t match up well against the Mountaineers. They’ve lost one game against West Virginia already in Morgantown and in their recent win against the ‘Neers they shot lights out from three. Shooting tends to die away from homecourt, which makes this neutral site game worrisome. A win here for Oklahoma would be big going into the NCAA Tournament, where momentum is key.

Around the Big 12: Week 13

Last Week: 3-2

Overall: 43-17

 

Ah shit. Thanksgiving week got the better of me. With that being said, the show must go on with picks, so here is what I thought about the last week of the regular Big 12 season.

Baylot @ #12 TCU (TCU won, 45-22. The spread was TCU -25.5.) 

I had TCU winning this game, but failing to cover. And, by the grace of Gary Patterson, the did exactly that! See you in Arlington, Frogs.

Kansas @ #19 Oklahoma State (OSU -41.5)

OSU really laid an egg last week against K-State.  The fact that they are a measly 2-3 at home is both sad and hilarious for what was supposedly their best team ever. Don’t expect them to drop this one to the Jayhawks though; they will be out for blood. OSU, 45-3

Texas Tech @ Texas (Tech won, 27-23. The spread [that I got, anyways] was Texas -10.5)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Iowa State @ Kansas State (KSU -1.5)

I’ve honestly forgotten about both of these teams. This one is going to be a real snooze fest. I’ll go with Iowa State I guess. ISU, 21-17

West Virginia @ #4 Oklahoma (OU -23.0)

Can we just kickoff the Big 12 Championship already? OU will win, but not without it being needlessly difficult against a mediocre Mountaineers squad without their best player in Will Grier. OU, 35-20

Around the Big 12: Week 12

Last Week: 5-0

Overall: 40-15

Hey! An undefeated week! Not too bad, especially with how tight the matchups were.

Championship November takes a break this week as the contenders are playing the mediocre and downright bad teams of the league. But don’t dismiss that 5-5 teams just yet; the fight for a bowl berth is still in play. Look for these games to be closer than the experts think.

#12 TCU @ Texas Tech (TCU -7.0) 

This is actually a tricky spot for TCU. How are they going to handle the death of their playoff hopes from last week? Going into a rivalry game (or at least that is what the TCU kids last weekend told me) on the road, especially in Lubbock is hard. However, it’s 11 am so absolutely no Tech kids will be there in the first place. I’m 1-0 on this theory. TCU, 24-10.

Kansas State @ #13 Oklahoma State (OSU -20.5)

Whooooooa the disrespect towards the Wildcats! OSU favored by freaking 20.5? I know the Wildcats aren’t great, but that’s a high line, even when going against that Oklahoma State offense fighting to stay in the Big 12 championship race. Expect Kansas State to keep this one close, but not too close. OSU, 28-14.

Iowa State @ Baylor (ISU -9.5)

Poor Iowa State. They had a damn good run, but this Big 12 is just too good to survive in if you lose to teams like Texas before you randomly decide to be good again. Hey, at least they get in a bowl, which would have made most ISU fans season if you told them that in August. They’ll beat the snot out of Baylor this week. 31-7

Texas @ West Virginia (WVU -3.5)

Alleged “best quarterback in the Big 12” Will Grier goes up against a Texas team just trying so hard to get bowl eligible. Texas does have a good defense, but I just don’t see them winning this one in Morgantown. And picking this week is really, really, really boring.

#4 Oklahoma @ Kansas (OU -37.0)

This one is just going to be a bloodbath. However, get excited for Kyler Murray in the 2nd half. I’m actually really excited to see him unleashed. That part is going to be great. The rest? I’d rather watch the OU spring game. OU, 65-3.

Around the Big 12: Week 11

Last Week: 2-3

Overall: 35-15

Not so great week for picking last week. But hey, that’s what happens when the conference you pick is decently inconsistant and Iowa State finally decides to come back to Earth.

This week will decide a lot as far as the conference championship picture goes. Two teams are playing an elimination game (OSU-Iowa State), while another two teams are playing for a virtual lock in the conference championship game (OU-TCU).

Oh and not to mention that second game? It’s #5 vs #6 with playoff implications at stake. Get excited.

Kansas @ Texas (Texas -34.0) 

We gather here today in remembrance of the greatest college football meme that ever was. Last year’s hilarious Kansas/Texas outcome might have been the funniest way for a Texas season to unravel. Yes, we had already known that Texas indeed wasn’t “back”. We knew they were garbage. But does that make one of the proudest programs in the history of the sport losing to one of the worst any less hilarious?

Nope. And while Texas will most likely beat Kansas Saturday, we all will hold this moment deep in our hearts. When the final gun goes off Saturday, keep these words in your mind:

“Don’t let Texas beating Kansas in football distract you from the fact Texas lost to Kansas in football.”

RIP, 2016 Texas/Kansas jokes. You will be missed. Texas, 56-3.

(please win Kansas)

#15 Oklahoma State @ #21 Iowa State (OSU -6.5)

Of course, the week I finally pick Iowa State, they decide to end their miracle Big 12 run. With that being said, i’m not even really sure the Cyclones are even out of this conference race.

With that being said, post-Bedlam Oklahoma State is probably the worst team to attempt to rebound against. The Cowboys didn’t exactly look bad against OU; they just couldn’t slow down Baker Mayfield.

I think this one might be a coin flip, but i’ll take the Pokes and Mason Rudolph in a big response. OSU, 35-24.

West Virginia @ Kansas State (KSU -2.5)

The Big 12 has a mediocre team problem. While most 4-4 teams would give up and roll over, the Wildcats just keep on chugging as a relative threat toward higher mid-tiered teams. That gutty win in Lubbock showed that K-State still has some heart left in them.

This is a huge trap game for West Virginia, who are just coming off a big win against Iowa State. The Mountaineers are somewhere between mediocre and top tier; this game will decide which category they belong in. I’m going ‘Neers. WVU, 21-10.

Baylor vs Texas Tech (Tech -7.5)

Talk about two programs going in different directions. Well, kinda; Baylor got it’s first win and Tech just continues to tumble further down. Tech is on a four game losing streak and what started as a positive season for Kliff Kingsbury is starting to look like his last. Do the Red Raiders have enough heart to get a win? I think so. Tech, 48-21.

#6 TCU @ #5 Oklahoma (OU -6.5)

These games are always a battle. As I’ve covered earlier this week, games between OU and TCU are always close. I honestly think this weekend’s battle will be more of the same.

TCU’s defense is easily the best in the Big 12, holding conference teams to an average of 12.5 points per game. However, is there actually any defense that can stop Baker Mayfield and that Oklahoma offense? Even the best defenses in the Big 12 can only hold OU to at best 30 points.

Does OU’s defense suck? Yeah. But Kenny Hill and TCU’s offense isn’t exactly a unit to be feared. All the defense has to do is hold this anemic offense (by Big 12 standards) to just enough points to fall under what Baker puts up.

I think the most dominant unit wins. OU, 42-38.