Fox college football analyst Charles Davis is seeing more Big 12 games and OU and OSU, in particular, than he had expected this season. He will broadcast his third OU game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday when the Sooners host Texas Tech and his second OSU game at 6 p.m. Nov. 2 when the Cowboys play at Texas Tech. He discussed the teams and the Big 12 in a phone interview.
Are you surprised Texas Tech is unbeaten?
“Yes. And a big reason why is we're still trying to wrap our heads around the idea that young quarterbacks can win big and early. I think we have more than enough evidence now that maybe we should be able to get past that thinking. But it's still one of the great stories. We're talking about two freshmen quarterbacks, one who went through spring ball, Davis Webb, who came in early; Baker Mayfield did not. Look at the production; look at what they've done and they continue to get better each time they go out. Now, they're hitting the meat-grinder of their schedule. But they're still 7-0 with those two at quarterback, I don't think many people would have seen that coming.”
Are you expecting an improved performance from OU on Saturday?
“I would be shocked if they don't play a lot better in this game than in the last two. I think Oklahoma has to play with a little bit of an attitude. ‘We're using to being physical. We're used to going ahead and coming off the ball and smacking somebody.' I think that's what they have to do in this game. It's got to be a real physical, get to the ball, a lot of crimson shirts on every tackle, that kind of game. We've seen a lot of one guy tackling in the open field.”
What's your assessment of OU's offense and quarterback Blake Bell?
“Just like I expect them to be physical on defense, I think the offensive line is going to replicate the Notre Dame game. There is not going to be a better nose tackle they are going to play all year than Louis Nix. Stephon Truitt is a big-timer at defensive tackle/end for Notre Dame. That's a pretty good defensive front. And they answered the challenge from the year before when they didn't run it well and didn't look like they were physical enough. And in that game they were. I think they have to approach it in this one. (Texas Tech DL) Kerry Hyder is quality inside. (Texas Tech DL) Dennell Wesley is a big load to try to move inside. They don't have the same names as a Nix and a Truitt and it's not Notre Dame. But I think the mentality needs to be the same. Maybe press the running game a little bit more and go ahead and pound it. ... Now that helps Blake Bell if you're able to press the running game. Now you're throwing off of play action, much more throwing it when everyone expects you to throw it. Their wide receivers are good and dynamic, but we have not seen enough dynamic plays. When are they going to shake people and get additional yardage.”
Who do you expect OSU will go at quarterback?
“Your guess is as good as mine. (Clint) Chelf played so well last year. It's a surprise to me in two series this season, he lost his job. (J.W.) Walsh comes in and they don't look back until last week at my game (against TCU). Then Chelf comes in and first play in throws an interception. It was one of those days. I don't know which way they are going to go. This is just me — an outsider's perspective — I feel like they think Walsh gives them more at the quarterback position because of his ability to move it with his legs. You can go more offense. ... Chelf is probably a better pure thrower. But when you put it all together, if Walsh is accurate enough and with his legs, I think they feel their offense is a little more diversified with him.”
Who is your favorite in the Big 12 race?
“I think Baylor, strictly because they are playing defense right now. The same thing I said about Texas Tech, they're hitting that portion of the schedule, so is Baylor. This is when it turns serious because it's still out ahead of them, Oklahoma in the Thursday night game, which is going to be a monster. They still have to play Texas, TCU and Oklahoma State. This thing has a long way to go before it's decided. On my AP poll last week, I voted Baylor No. 4 in the country. I voted them ahead of Ohio State. And to me, it's their defense. But everyone is still in it. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Plus, there are other people in it who are going to gum up the works. TCU is going to beat someone and wreck their season.”