3. Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma 10/22
This week also features one of Tech's biggest rivals. Tech will look to take down the defending Big 12 Conference champions at the Jones in what should be a compelling matchup. Not to mention this is the first time a former Tech QB will start against them at his old stomping grounds.
Last year the Oklahoma Sooners went 11-1 in the regular season, won the Big 12 title, and played in the Orange Bowl as part of the College Football Playoffs. Oklahoma was no match for Clemson as they lost 37-17 ending their chances for a National Championship.
The Sooners are losing talent from last year's team. Four players were drafted to the NFL and six signed as undrafted free agents. Receiver Sterling Shepard, DE Charles Tapper, DB Zack Sanchez, and LB Devante Bond were drafted while players such as receiver Durron Neal and LB Eric Striker signed free agent deals.
Despite the loss of some talented playmakers, Oklahoma still has plenty of firepower. Their second-leading receiver from last year Dede Westbrook is returning along with RBs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Perine ran for over 1,000 yards for the second straight year and has become one of the best backs in the nation. Oh and not to mention Baker Mayfield returns at quarterback.
As far as a team, Oklahoma was 10th in the nation in total offense (18th in passing and 22nd in rushing). Despite their offense being worse than Tech in terms of total offense and passing, Oklahoma's defense was ranked 28th in the country last year. Far better than Tech at 126th. This was a big reason why the Sooners beat Tech so easily last year.
Similar to Tech vs. Baylor, this rivalry has been one-sided in recent years. Oklahoma has won the last four games against Tech by huge scores. Tech's last victory against the Sooners was in 2011. Last year's game was a blowout from the beginning. Mahomes had probably his worst game of the season as he only threw for 233 yards while throwing four interceptions. RBs Perine and Mixon combined for 355 yards on the ground wearing out Tech's porous defense. A powerful running game and a boatload of turnovers led to an easy 63-27 win for OU.
Like Baylor, Oklahoma has a stable of talented running backs and I give them an edge there. I also give an edge to their defense, but not a huge one due to the talent they lost to the NFL. I do give an edge to Tech's passing game. Mahomes was better than Mayfield statistically last year and he has more talent returning at the receiver position than Mayfield.
As I mentioned last week, if Tech's defense can slow down Oklahoma's offense just a little, this game could be close. Mahomes and the rest of the offense have to be on point as well. Texas Tech has a great home-field advantage at the Jones and they always seem to play very good teams well at home.