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Football is facing its largest challenge of the year

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This is a David-Goliath situation where we don’t have any rocks.

Houston v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Do you remember the 21st night of September?

Love was changing the minds of pretenders;

While chasing the clouds away.

Our hearts were ringing;

In the key that our souls were singing;

As we danced in the night,

Remember – how the stars stole night away, yeah, yeah, yeah;

Ba de ya – say do you remember?

Ba de ya – dancing in September

Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day

Weird song to start this week’s preview, right? Well, actually you’d be wrong.

You see, I’m about to drop some really TOUGH truth on all y’all (proper way to refer to several readers in Texan) below and it’s not going to be fun. It’s probably going to ruin your weekend.

You know what, though? I’m here to tell you that it is going to be okay. Because once Oklahoma does what they probably want to Texas Tech, you can save this website and press play on the video below and - BOOM - like magic, your Saturday afternoon is going to get instantly better.

Earth, Wind and Fire is one of those groups that put out feel-good hit after hit in the late 1970’s, when Disco began to die and we went through…whatever the hell the 80’s was. The group’s 1978 hit September is one of their most well-known hits, but you’d be remised if you didn’t also listen to 1979’s “Boogie Wonderland” or 1981’s “Lets Groove”.

First Down - The Enemy:

Oklahoma is led by former Texas Tech quarterback and assistant, Lincoln Riley. The thirty-six year old Riley was a walk on quarterback at Texas Tech in 2002, behind senior starter Kliff Kingsbury. Riley eventually joined the coaching staff as a student assistant and worked his way to becoming a receivers coach.

NCAA Football: Houston at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015, Riley was hired away from East Carolina by Bob Stoops offense and in 2017 was named as head coach when Bob Stoops retired. Since then, Riley has led the Oklahoma to back-to-back College Football Playoff games and coached back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners and first overall NFL draft picks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.

Simply put, Riley fell into an incredible situation at a national power that basically recruits itself, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t earned it and has relished in the opportunity. Riley was a home run replacement for Oklahoma after Stoops, and it doesn’t look like the crimson machine is going to stop being the class of the Big 12 for the foreseeable future.

Second Down - Key Players:

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at UCLA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

OU has found themselves smart enough to poach their third Heisman caliber quarterback in Jalen Hurts. I do not know how they keep doing that, while also simultaneously obtaining 5-star quarterbacks from high schools, who eventually lose their spot to a transfer.

Quick Note: For the life of me, I cannot figure out why other schools are not exposing that habit on the recruiting trail and telling recruits that OU obviously cannot identify and develop talent at the quarterback position, so they just take transfers in from other schools. But that’s why they get paid a lot of money to recruit and I’m stuck writing an article, I guess?

As I mentioned in my preview for Arizona, Jalen Hurts remains as one of only two Power 5 quarterbacks to throw for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 1,500 in a career. Hurts is currently completing 80% of his passes and has tossed nine touchdowns to zero interceptions, and also is passing at an astonishing 17.4 average yards per attempt. Also, it’s a bit scary that he isn’t satisfied with his work thus far in the season.

OU also has two great wide receivers and all-time name team members in CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo. Combined, the two have 480 total yards receiving on 20 catches and seven touchdowns. OU’s offense is averaging almost 22 yards per catch, which tells me a lot of teams sell out on the run to contain Hurts and he just dumps it over the top and laughs in your face while doing so.

Defensively, OU and new DC Alex Grinch have implemented a unique “hockey line style” of substitution on defense. Grinch’s philosophy includes playing almost 22-24 players on defense all game, which allows his best players to play less snaps, but to pretty fresh in those snaps to get the absolute best out of them every time they are on the field. If Texas Tech’s offensive line and wide receivers forget to get off the bus like they did in Tucson, this will be a long day for whoever is playing quarterback.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 South Dakota at Oklahoma Photo by Alonzo Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Third Down - By the Numbers:

• Overall as a program, Oklahoma has an all-time winning percentage of .724, best for fifth all-time and only has 13 losing seasons in 125 years of playing college football.

• OU has a Football Power Index (FPI) score of 22.1, which ranks 6th. FPI calculates expected point margin vs an average opponent on a neutral field. For comparison, Tech’s FPI is 3.4 and ranks 48th.

• Oklahoma is ranked first in total offensive efficiency with a rating of 97.7 (out of 100). They are also 16 for 27 on third down conversion for a 60% percentage. This offense is an absolute juggernaut, even when the defense gets them to third down.

Fourth Down - Prediction:

Even as an admitted optimist, I don’t see any scenario where Texas Tech leaves Norman victorious. In the preseason, any prediction that envisioned a successful year for Texas Tech with a healthy Alan Bowman still had an “L” beside this game. Hear me on this, though: you can still have a successful season with a loss in Norman.

Take this as a chance to see how Matt Wells and David Yost game plan with two backup quarterbacks with different skillsets. A chance to see how this team responds to each of them and a great test for the defense to play against the best offense they will see all season.

But hey, every Saturday anything can happen… I guess? I don’t know. Maybe Jalen’s alarm clock doesn’t go off? Maybe the entire defense gets food poisoning Friday night?*

Texas Tech Red Raiders, 21

Oklahoma People who settled on land illegally but now it’s okay for some reason? 42

*Disclaimer: If this does happen, I didn’t do it.