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Bedlam football: Talent gap between OU, OSU has all but disappeared

BERRY TRAMEL COMMENTARY — When Oklahoma and Oklahoma State squared off in the past, there was a clear talent gap that favored OU. Now? Not so much. Oklahoma State has advantages all over the board as the two prepare to square off on Saturday.
by Berry Tramel Published: December 6, 2013

Just look at OSU's senior class. We ran a list in The Oklahoman the other day, 28 strong, counting non-scholarship players.

More than 20 are heavy contributors. Some are stars. Like Justin Gilbert and Clint Chelf and Daytawion Lowe and Caleb Lavey and Parker Graham and Calvin Barnett.

This is a talented, deep, experienced team. That's why the Sooners, 9-2 and still mentioned as a BCS bowl contender, find themselves double-digit underdogs Saturday.

“Our talent level's improved in the last six years,” Mike Gundy said. “We've gotten considerably better athletically.”

A few examples:

* OSU has better defensive backs than do the Sooners, notably Gilbert and Lowe.

* OSU has better receivers than do the Sooners, with some of them freshmen (Marcell Ateman, Jhajuan Seales) who look like future stars.

* OSU has a better defensive line than does OU. This is the real stunner. There haven't been five seasons since the Depression when the Cowboys had such a clear Bedlam advantage up front. But they do now.

James Castleman and Calvin Barnett “are probably two of the best we're going to play all year,” said OU center Gabe Ikard. “They control the line of scrimmage. That's set ‘em up in the back end. They're playing the best on defense since I've been here.”

OSU is not assured of winning. The Sooners are good, too.

But gone are the days when the Cowboys have to play over their heads to win. Saturday, that mission falls to the Sooners.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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