It’s been a while since Houston beat Oklahoma in 2016. The Cougars had a chance at the College Football Playoff that year, and have a shot this year as well (even if it’s a long shot). It’s highly unlikely an upset occurs, but you can’t count this team out with the talent on the roster. Dana Holgorsen’s brought confidence back to the program, and that could make a huge difference.
How to watch: ABC
Start time: 6:30 pm CT (Sunday)
Line: Oklahoma -23
Location: Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK)
Houston Cougars Outlook
For Houston’s offense, it’s simple. Just do your thing, and you’ll be successful. D’Eriq King knows he can compete and succeed against any defense, and the Sooners defense doesn’t bring anything Houston hasn’t seen already. A key to the game is the Cougars wide receivers matching up against the Sooners secondary. Holgorsen exploited Oklahoma’s defensive backfield last year at West Virginia, and has a deep group of receivers to do so again. Houston needs their offense to keep up with the Sooners offense, and they’re more than capable of doing their part. It just comes down to the other side.
Joe Cauthen inherits a group that is looking to bounce back. Instead of seemingly sitting back and reacting, Cauthen’s scheme allows his players to attack more. Every level features new starters, so they’ll need to build confidence. Players like DE Isaiah Chambers, and safeties Deonaty Anderson and Gleson Sprewell become leaders who must help their new teammates out. Oklahoma’s offense will win a lot of matchups, but this group can still have an impact on the game.
Oklahoma Sooners Outlook
Lincoln Riley’s proven he can coach and develop quarterbacks. His last two won the Heisman and were both selected first overall in the NFL Draft the last two years. He can make it three in a row with Jalen Hurts. The former Alabama quarterback finally decided to transfer, and gives the Sooners something they haven’t seen under Riley: a playoff win. Hurts has three playoff wins to his name, and also has a national championship under his belt. He’s also the most poised quarterback in college football. Along with all of the talent Oklahoma possesses, those traits make the Sooners offense much more dangerous.
Oklahoma’s the better team, and they know it. Playing this game in Norman gives them an extra edge as well. Houston can compete, but the question becomes how long they can keep up. OKLAHOMA 56 HOUSTON 42