Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM
It’s become comically inevitable…the mainstream media LOVES the Oklahoma Sooners at the start of a new season…insists that the team is on the short list of national championship hopefuls…only to see stunning mediocrity at the worst possible time when OU has to step up and play a real team.
The fact that Oklahoma crushed disinterested Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last season has given that contingent the confidence to do it again! And, now we have the Sooners riding high in “Final Four” discussions as they prepare for a national TV appearance Saturday Night against Tennessee.
The Volunteers are 21-point underdogs…which might mean they’re not in the class that is good enough to embarrass Bob Stoops and the Sooners. Maybe it’s only two-touchdown underdogs that can do that! But, Tennessee has opened the 2014 season better than expected, and this potential SEC spoiler has a chance to make things interesting Saturday night.
Let’s run some numbers to see who, if anyone, will get a wakeup call in this ABC prime time matchup…
2013 Record: 5-7
2013 Rankings: 102 on offense, 83 on defense
Returning Starters: 4 on offense, 5 on defense
Quarterback: Justin Worley (Senior, effective thus far)
This Year: Opened with a surprisingly easy 38-7 win over Utah State as a 4-point favorite, then beat Arkansas State last week 34-19 as a 16-point favorite.
They weren’t quite as dominant against Utah State as the score would make it seem. But, they were clearly more dominant than the market was expecting. They moved the ball with confidence, and played with enthusiasm and athleticism on defense. Sometimes a lack of returning starters is a good thing on a rebuilding team that has a new coach fixing what a prior coach messed up. At the very least, this is a promising start for the Vols.
2013 Record: 11-2 (beat Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl)
2013 Rankings: 52 on offense, 20 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 9 on defense
Quarterback: Trevor Knight (Sophomore, blossoming?)
This Year: Beat Louisiana Tech 48-16 as a 34-point favorite (non-cover), then routed Tulsa last week 52-7 as a 24-point favorite.
It has to be said that beating Louisiana Tech 48-16 looks A LOT better now than it did at the time. Tech has since earned monster covers with road blowout wins at Louisiana Lafayette and North Texas. That being said, bullying mid-majors has always been a specialty of Stoops. It’s when he has to lay points to decent teams from major conferences that his weaknesses get exposed. Possibly a decisive edge created by 9 returning starters on defense, hosting an offense that has yet to deal with road pressure.
Las Vegas Line: Oklahoma by 21, total of 56.5
Oklahoma games are very volatile. You’ve already seen that they won by 32 and 45 points to start the season. If Tennessee’s defense is outmatched, and the offense becomes turnover prone under pressure…we could see another blowout of that size here. But, good teams that don’t blink when staring the Sooners in the eye can’t just play with them…they can beat them! That’s why Oklahoma HASN’T been winning the Big 12 as much as expected in recent years, despite being ranked as a national superpower in most Preseasons.
This one may or may not be part of the final Saturday mix for JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK. It’s a busy schedule and customers only get BEST BETS! You can purchase those right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office Saturday morning before kickoff at 1-888-777-4155.
Back to the NFL tomorrow and Monday as we continue to preview prime time football. Here’s the upcoming NOTEBOOK schedule…
Sunday: NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Chicago at San Francisco
Monday: NFL Monday Night TV Preview…Philadelphia at Indianapolis
Tuesday: College Football Notes or MLB Pennant Race Game Preview
Wednesday: NFL Notes or MLB Pennant Race Game Preview (some big MLB matchups early next week, including Washington/Atlanta, Milwaukee/St. Louis, Seattle/LA Angels)
It looks like we’ll be releasing our biggest play so far of 2014 on Saturday in college action. And marquee matchups like Georgia/South Carolina and UCLA/Texas are very much on the radar. The season is now moving along at full speed. Don’t make a move until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!