First things first -- as one of maybe 7 people who didn't think CU was a threat over the summer, allow me to gloat for one sentence. I never really get to gloat.
Yeah! Told you!
Sorry, that was two sentences. Onto the show:
1. Their scheme on offense is not sophisticated -- far from it, in fact. They've never run complicated stuff, as least not since Mangino left, they mostly stick with the basics and rely on brute force to make it work. This is why they beat Baylor 200-3 then lose in their bowl games against decent teams.
It's no different this year. They rely on a very strong (literally) OL to push people around and hold them (literally) in place, allowing Demarco Murray to bounce 70% of the running plays outside for 5 yards. Because everyone on that offense is strong, and everyone blocks, their skill players only have to juke one guy at a time, making them look a lot better than they are.
2. Sam Bradford makes that team go. About 80% of this throws are within 2 inches of perfect, and his WRs get a shit ton of YAC because of it. This, along with the mammoth OL, are what frighten you about OU, because there is no schematic defense against them. We have a good DL, so I'm less worried about their line, but there is no defense against a QB who can thread the needle so often. You kind of have to just get all up in his face like OU, and everyone on Earth, used to do to Chris Simms. It'll be a waste of time to cover the WRs, you really have to cover the QB.
We need our pass rush to come through in the worst way.
3. We won't be able to run the zone. Our guards are weak, and their DTs are great. Last year we used a lot of misdirection, and we'll have to do the same thing this year. Of course, relying on Greg Davis to bust out a ton of misdirection is like having to rely on Matt Stafford to win you a football game. It's a desperate existence.
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, seeing as how we couldn't even run it against UTEP. Last year we used a draw and a sprint out counter to great effectiveness. I hope they still have the notes from that one.
Other than that I have no idea how to score on OU, because nobody's done it yet. They are overaggressive and fast again, just like every year, so every play should be playaction or misdirection. They were pretty vanilla in their alignments last year, going almost exclusively with a 6 man front/2 deep shell look. If they gives us that again, we need to be able to run. We don't have a Jamaal Charles anymore, so someone is going to have to decide that they want to be the man.
4. Their LBs suck. The good news is that Blaine Irby is hurt and our running game makes it easy for LBs. So . . . at least we have that going for us.
I don't know how we are supposed to take advantage of the LBs in the passing game now, but every play call has to be made with them in mind. On running plays, make them find the ball and don't let them pursue in straight lines. We won't win that battle. In the passing game, we just need to really hammer the middle of the field. I don't know much about this OU secondary, but I know enough to see where the weakness is.
All in all, it's a game we can win. If we can come that close with the 2007 team, you certainly can't count us out. Of course, if we keep improving on defense at the same pace, I wouldn't count out a 17-0 win where we allow -54 yards.
I put it at 65/35 OU right now. It can move closer to 50/50 depending on how well the game is called from the booth. So . . . 65/35.