Bedlam football: A week out, who wins Bedlam?
We’re only a week away from Bedlam, so after analyzing this game for much of the season, we’re getting the clearest of pictures on these teams. And the picture we got from last week was, both are flawed. OSU failed to maintain the standard of performance it had produced for 10 straight games, getting up 37-31 in double overtime at Iowa State, amid tragic circumstances. OU’s pass defense was completely torched in a 45-38 upset loss at Baylor.
So what does this mean for Bedlam? Mentally, who knows? A fog seemed to hover over the Cowboys in Ames, for good reason. I was at the team hotel just before the Cowboys left for the stadium last Friday, and it was a somber place. OSU didn’t seem like a team ready to play a football game. But does that mean the Cowboys can get back mentally? You would think so, but you never know.
Are the Cowboys like the 2008 Texas Tech Red Raiders? That Tech team had a fabulous season, went 10-0, rose to No. 2 in America. Then Tech got steamrolled by the Sooners 65-21 in Norman, went home to Lubbock and had to scratch to get a 35-28 victory over a bad Baylor team, then Ole Miss whipped Tech 47-34 in the Cotton Bowl. Or will the Cowboys recover from their only stumble, finish strong and produce the greatest season in school history?
OSU created some problems for itself at Iowa State. Joseph Randle’s fumbles are a major concern, not just his fumbles, but whether or not he’ll even be allowed to carry a full load. He had to be benched at ISU. Quinn Sharp’s missed field goal. Does that damage his psyche? Is he a guy who can be counted to nail a 40-yard field goal at game’s end? Even Brandon Weeden, who you would seem to think would mentally tough enough to recover from a three-interception game that all but wiped out his Heisman Trophy campaign?
But the questions at OSU are nothing compared to the questions at OU. Robert Griffin and his blazing receivers lit up the Sooners; four pass plays of over 50 yards, another called back by penalty. OU gave up a school record 616 total yards. The Cowboys can pass as efficiently as the Bears.
Free safety Javon Harris was lit up, and the obvisou solution, move Tony Jefferson back to free, means the Sooners don’t have a rover they can trust on all those short crossing routes. What is Weeden’s favorite pass route? The short crosses to Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper. OU’s running game continues to be just so-so. And while OU’s pass rush remained solid against Baylor, now Ronnell Lewis is lost to injury.
The Sooners can try to correct some things against Iowa State, but the Cyclones can’t challenge OU the way Baylor did or the way OSU will. The ISU game can help OU mentally, but it won’t answer many questions.
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