It's becoming a little strange to preview a game with Oklahoma when the Sooners aren't ranked. At 2-2, the Sooners are looking to get their season back on track and while a victory vs. Texas helped, they're back on the road to face TCU.
In their own way, the Horned Frogs are also trying to inject some life into their season after a 1-2 start. Close calls have been the story through three games. The defense hasn't been as stingy as you'd normally expect and offensive line play has been hit or miss. This team has the talent to make a run at the Big 12 Championship Game, but it needs to put everything together. So far, it hasn't done that.
The Sooners need to get on a run quickly if they want to remain in the national conversation. This may not be the Oklahoma of the last couple of years, but this team is still capable of putting its pieces together with a redshirt freshman at quarterback.
While this game falls outside the top 25, it still carries high stakes with ramifications that could be felt for the rest of the season. Let's take a closer look at the storylines to follow in this one before making some expert picks both straight up and against the spread. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook.
Oklahoma: In many ways, the Texas game acted a stabilizer for Oklahoma. The offensive line, which had a slow start to the year, played better. As a result, Oklahoma rushed for a season-high 208 yards even without Seth McGowan. Coach Lincoln Riley's decision to bench Spencer Rattler in the first half helped reset the young quarterback to make better decisions in the second half. And while the defense still suffered a fourth-quarter collapse, it generally played well for most of the game, getting a pass rush on Sam Ehlinger and playing tight coverage down the field while slowing the run. Put another way, there were things to build on even though the game ended up getting out of hand. Now the question is whether the Sooners can take those building blocks and apply them to TCU.
TCU: If TCU is going to upset Oklahoma, it needs to protect its quarterback better. Kansas State had three sacks, six tackles for loss and all kinds of other pressure in a 21-14 win over the Frogs two weeks ago. The Wildcats were in the backfield a lot. Quarterback Max Duggan is a legit dual-threat, but he also needs time and space to make things happen. When he has that, good things happen. TCU's pass catchers are extremely productive down the field, with Blair Conwright and Taye Barber averaging more than 12 air yards per reception. Oklahoma's pass defense has been vulnerable, so the development of that part of TCU's offense is paramount.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 24 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium -- Fort Worth, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Game prediction, picks
This is probably the Big 12's best coaching matchup of the weekend. Lincoln Riley and Gary Patterson know how to exploit opposing weaknesses as well as anyone. Don't be surprised if the Sooners hit TCU's defense over the middle with a steady dose of tight end Austin Stogner. If Duggan gets the time he needs, he'll pick apart Oklahoma's defense. The over is probably the better play, but with Oklahoma's fourth-quarter problems, the Horned Frogs might, at worst, be able to hit a backdoor cover. Pick: TCU +6.5
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