TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (7-0)
at OKLAHOMA SOONERS (6-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma -6.5, Total: 59.5
No. 10 Texas Tech has been one of the biggest surprises all season, as it brings an undefeated record into Norman to take on No. 17 Oklahoma Saturday in a huge Big 12 showdown.
Last season these two teams met in Lubbock, with the Sooners winning in dominating fashion 41-20. In that game, it was all about the Sooners defense, forcing three Red Raiders turnovers. However, that was a different Texas Tech squad, as new coach Kliff Kingsbury has the team playing at a high level despite playing freshmen at quarterback. Davis Webb has been terrific the past two games with 877 passing yards and 5 TD, while taking over for the injured Baker Mayfield, another freshman. Both quarterbacks have shown the ability to lead the offense at a high level, so the Red Raiders will be able to score some points. However, this game will be determined by the defense, which appears to be the best in recent memory for TTU, but the Sooners will be a great test. While he wasn’t the go-to quarterback for Oklahoma last year, Blake Bell scored two touchdowns on the ground against Texas Tech. The offense really struggled early in last week’s victory over Kansas, but eventually got it going by rushing for 235 yards. The special teams unit played a huge role in the game for Oklahoma, both in a positive and negative aspect. The Sooners blocked a punt and an extra point for two points the other way, but also had a punt blocked that allowed the Jayhawks back in the game. The Sooners will need to play error-free football, as they will be facing a much more talented team in Texas Tech. Although underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points coming off two straight conference wins facing an opponent following a double-digit road win are just 10-38 ATS (21%) in the past 10 years, the Red Raiders benefit from the fact that home favorites after being beaten by the spread by 35+ points in the past three games facing an opponent going over the total by 28+ points in the past three games are just 4-25 ATS (14%) in the same timeframe.
Can Texas Tech pull off the mild upset in Norman on Saturday? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts are a combined 58% ATS (82-60-5) in college football Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary who is 72% ATS (13-5-1) in college football Best Bets over the past six weeks and 64% ATS (14-8-1) this year. StatFox Brian is 9-3 ATS in the past two weeks and 61% ATS (20-13-1) in Best Bets this season, while StatFox Dave is 57% ATS (26-20-1) and StatFox Scott is 54% ATS (22-19-2) for yearly CFB Best Bets.
Kliff Kingsbury, the former Red Raiders quarterback, has gotten his coaching career off to an amazing start. With Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel his last two quarterbacks as an offensive coordinator, he has shown the ability to produce great quarterback play. Through the first eight weeks, the Red Raiders rank 2nd in passing yards (416.YPG) and 15th in scoring with 41.1 points per game. TE Jace Amaro is playing as well as any tight end in the country with 56 catches and 742 yards on the season, and has had at least exactly nine receptions in each of his past five contests. He has great size at 6-foot-5, but has the ability to run away from linebackers, creating a mismatch nightmare. His play has been huge, as any quarterback’s best friend is a reliable tight end, especially a young quarterback. The Red Raiders offense has been very good for seasons, however it is the defense that has Texas Tech fans dreaming of a BCS bowl. The defense is giving up only 18.7 points per game, which ranks 16th in the country. Sophomore cornerback J.J. Gaines has two interceptions on the season, averaging 29.5 yards per return. This is a very fast defense that is flying all over the field looking to make plays, but after 11 takeaways in a four-game stretch, the defense has forced just two turnovers in the past two games. The Red Raiders have not seen an offense that is as complete as the Sooners, so they will definitely be tested.
Oklahoma QB Blake Bell has had his ups and downs this season as the quarterback, but he brings toughness and an ability to make plays with his both legs (201 rush yards) and arm (1,099 pass yards, 7.1 YPA, 8 TD, 3 INT). His favorite target on the season has been sophomore WR Sterling Shepard, who has 28 catches for 348 yards and five touchdowns. He is a dynamic playmaker with the ball, with the ability to take it the distance on any play. The defense has played well all season, and has the playmakers to slow down the Texas Tech offense. Oklahoma has rushed for 228 YPG (18th in nation) thanks mostly to the duo of Brennan Clay (496 rush yards, 6.3 YPC, 3 TD) and Damien Williams (315 rush yards, 4.0 YPC, 3 TD). The Sooners' scoring defense currently ranks 9th in the country, giving up only 17.1 points per game. Aaron Colvin is a very talented cornerback that has the ability to shut down the opponent’s best receiver. Oklahoma must find a way to try and contain Amaro, as no team has been able to do this season. The Sooners must also make game-altering plays on defense, having forced just six turnovers in the past five weeks combined.