Cleat Geeks

Big 12 Game of Week: Houston vs Oklahoma

 

The defending Big 12 Champs Oklahoma open their season against the defending AAC Champs Houston at NRG Stadium (home of the Houston Texans). Both teams are looking to make an early statement as national title contenders. No. 3 Oklahoma is looking for redemption after a 37 – 17 loss in the first round of the College Football Playoffs, while Houston is looking for validation. Houston finished a 13 – 1 season with a New Year’s Six win over Florida State and currently is in the process of trying to gain an invitation to the Big 12. A win in this game won’t grant them that, but Houston fans would definitely like to see their team prove it belongs in the Power Five conference.

Oklahoma is returning 14 starters (7 offense, 7 defense), including All-American and Heisman finalist QB Baker Mayfield, who passed for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns last year. Returning alongside Mayfield is Heisman candidate running back Samaje Perine 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns. Last season these two offensive weapons aided in the Sooners scoring 44.0 points per game in conference play, leading the Big 12.

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But Oklahoma won’t be the only team on the field with a star quarterback. Houston’s Greg Ward Jr. was one of two quarterbacks last season to pass for more than 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 – the other was Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. Ward accounted for 38 total touchdowns, 21 in the air and 17 on the ground. Needless to say Oklahoma’s defense will need to come prepared.

 

Prediction: This match up is set to be one of the best games to kick off the college football season. Oklahoma is supposed to be the best team out of the Big 12 this season, but they’ve got their work cut out for them with the Cougars. Even though Brady Maxwell will be able to find the soft spots in that young Cougars’ defense, Houston will be able to keep it close enough for the Sooners not to cover -11.5 spread.

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