Week 12 – Oklahoma at West Virginia

Posted Nov 15, 2012

Week 12 Fearless Prediction – Oklahoma at West Virginia

Oklahoma (7-2) at West Virginia (5-4) Nov. 17, 7:00, FOX

Here's The Deal: It's the first time the two programs have met since the Mountaineers' stunning 48-28 win in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, and out of the four meetings all-time, it's the first time it's being played in West Virginia. Of course, it's also the first time the two are playing as Big 12 brothers.

Has any team fallen further, faster than West Virginia? On October 6th, Geno Smith had won the Heisman and the team appeared to be a lock for the BCS championship, and then the Mountaineers actually played someone decent and the wheels came off in a four-game losing streak that has put the entire season in jeopardy. A loss this week means the road trip to Iowa State will be a big deal to get bowl eligible. Otherwise, it's going to come down to the regular season finale against Kansas, who might seem like a layup, but it has the running game to potentially barrel on a miserable defense.

Oklahoma needs to prove itself. The 63-21 blowout over Texas seems like a lifetime ago considering the two key home losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame have come to define the season. However, the offense has geared it back up with two nice performances against Iowa State and Baylor to stay alive in the Big 12 title chase. The Sooners need Kansas State to lose twice to be back in the race for the Fiesta Bowl, but at the very least, by winning out against WVU, Oklahoma State and TCU, they'll almost certainly end up with an at-large BCS bid.

Why Oklahoma Might Win: West Virginia can run the ball a bit, but its offense needs to shine by throwing the ball – which it hasn't been able to do well enough over the last month. The problem is that the OU secondary is playing at a high level, leading a defense that ranked eighth in the nation against the pass and second in pass efficiency defense shutting down the high-octane Baylor attack and keeping Texas Tech and Texas under wraps. On the year, OU has yet to allow a 300-yard passer and has given up just three touchdowns all year. How strong has the pass defense been? It hasn't given up a touchdown pass in the last four games, and the three scoring passes allowed came in the blowout against Texas and Florida A&M.

Why West Virginia Might Win: Landry Jones doesn't always react well under a ton or pressure. For all the problems and all the issues, West Virginia can pressure the passer generating 21 sacks on the year with five over the last two weeks. While most of the production came early on, the defensive front is just quick enough and just active enough to potentially rush the OU passing game. In a perfect world, Jones is able to sit back, go through his progressions and let the deep routes develop. The Sooners haven't been bad in pass protection, but the bumps and bruises are starting to pile up and Jones might have to rush his throws. However …

What To Watch Out For: Landry Jones, enjoy yourself. The West Virginia secondary has put on a weekly clinic on how to get torched. The pass rush has been fine, and the defensive front hasn't been bad against the run, but any quarterback who can throw the ball overhand has been able to put up massive numbers. The Mountaineers rank dead last in the nation in pass efficiency defense, giving hp 27 touchdowns so far and getting beaten like a drum week after week. Jones and the Oklahoma passing game have been terrific, throwing for 364 yards in the loss to the Irish and being efficient and effective throughout the season. There might be a few too many picks, but Jones should be a mortal lock for 300 yards.

What Will Happen: The Sooners will roll at will. West Virginia will come out throwing a few haymakers, and Smith will come up with a decent day against the great OU defense, but Jones and the offense should be able to keep the pressure on all game long with scoring drives at key moments, and WVU won't be able to throw to get back into the hunt.

CFN Prediction: Oklahoma 44 … West Virginia 31
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oklahoma -11 O/U: 74
Must Watch Rating (5 – Killing Them Softly, 1 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2): 3.5