image via sportsday.dallasnews.com
Last night’s upset in Houston has officially opened the window for a Big 12 team to make it into the College Football Playoff. So, now the outcome in Morgantown will now have both the Big 12 but also the CFB Playoff implications. However, weather could play a big part as it will be in the 30’s at kickoff and potentially raining. If you’re an Sooners fan, you’re more worried about precipitation than the cold.
- I mentioned this last night on Twitter, but if I’m Stoops (or any coach who’s team is in contention), I’m telling my team this win over Louisville means absolutely nothing. At this point in the season, you cannot be distracted by what is happening in the world around you. Quality of coaching down the stretch is huge, as we saw last night with Houston and Tom Herman.
- If you’re wondering what the atmosphere in practice is, Kegan passed along some info today that this has been the best week of practice Oklahoma has had in awhile. Baker Mayfield has taken charge repeating, “leave no doubt” all week long.
- I’m checking out the latest weather predictions right now, it looks like it will be right around freezing at kickoff with a potential rain/snow mix. This bodes well for the WVU defense who loves the bring pressure. This also poses a potential disadvantage for Oklahoma’s offensive line should field condition deteriorate.
- It isn’t a lie to say Oklahoma’s offensive line has regressed as of late. They’ll need to return to form as WVU ranks 50th in the nation in defending the run. Take that with a potential grain of salt due to the fact WVU has not faced a balanced offense like Oklahoma’s.
- This is a game tailor made for Mayfield’s Heisman campaign. Mayfield has been exceptional on the road however Morgantown is unlike any road game they’ve had this season.
- The environment alone is not the only thing that will challenge Mayfield. WVU sports talented athletes across their defense but none may be as threatening as Kyzir White. He is tenacious off the edge but can also make big plays by sitting on passing lanes.
- The two back set may be huge in Morgantown. WVU will likely stack the box and force Mayfield to throw against the conditions. This would have worked a couple games ago, but now having both Mixon and Perine back, Oklahoma has options to exploit the pressure.
- Dede Westbrook, Mark Andrews, Geno Lewis will likely enjoy one-on-one situations at times, especially with the conditions. This game points to a strong run game, but Riley will still committed to staying balanced.
- Which Skylar Howard shows up? He’s certainly been great against unranked teams but struggled against OSU and Texas. The key here is pressure. Howard doesn’t make the best choices when under pressure or throwing on the run, hence his 9 interceptions on the season.
- If/when Howard does make mistakes, can Oklahoma take advantage of them? So far this season the answer is no, but it is November and stranger things have happened in the CFB world so far.
- WVU has a few running backs, the name you’ll recognize most is Rushel Shell however he did not play much against Texas, I have no seen whether he will be out against Oklahoma but at this time assume he will be available. At the same time, WVU sports two more potentially impactful backs in Justin Crawford and Kennedy McCoy.
- Biggest rushing threat this weekend? Skylar Howard. Oklahoma has not been great on defense, even less so against QB’s that can run. This is on Jordan Evans who has taken a big step up in the couple weeks, but still struggled to find the QB in the gap. It would make it a long day for WVU if he can stay with Howard.
- DB’s will need to be sharp as WVU has two go-to wide receivers in Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts. Both are over 700 yards on the season and have combined for 10 TD’s. They’re built similar to Texas Tech’s wide receivers.
- Kevin White’s brother, Ka’Raun White is quietly becoming a big part of this offense. Not quite the playmaker as the two mentioned above, but can certainly needs to be accounted for. Oklahoma has been gashed a few times this season by team’s third or fourth wide receiver option.