Oklahoma (8-2, 7-0) at West Virginia (8-1, 5-1)
When: Saturday, November 19th 2016
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ABC
The Oklahoma Sooners and West Virginia Mountaineers will play what is virtually an elimination game for the College Football Playoffs on Saturday night in Morgantown. With three undefeated teams going down last week, West Virginia now looks pretty good with only one loss – a 37-20 setback at Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers have bounced back from that loss with two straight victories including a tough 24-20 road victory at Texas last week. WVU still needs help to win the Big 12 Conference with the Cowboys sitting at one loss as well. They would need Oklahoma to beat OSU in the season finale, but that’s assuming West Virginia can cool-off a hot Oklahoma team on Saturday first. The Mountaineers put their eight-game home winning streak on the line Saturday and are led by senior quarterback Skyler Howard, who has completed 64.5% of his passes with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions while recording a team-high six rushing scores. He has a couple of good weapons to throw to in Daikiel Shorts (14.8 yards per 51 receptions, four touchdowns) and Shelton Gibson, who averages 20 yards per catch to go along with his six touchdowns. Senior cornerback Rasul Douglas is tied for second in the nation with six interceptions and tied for 21st with 12 passes defended for the top-ranked Big 12 defense.
Oklahoma has won eight straight games since losing to Ohio State in September and moved up to number nine in the CFP rankings this week. The Sooners have won all four meetings since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 in 2012 and are at full strength as running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine played together for the first time in four games last week and each rushed for 100 yards in a 45-24 victory over Baylor last Saturday. With Mixon (937 yards, six touchdowns) and Perine (575, eight) in and out of the lineup, senior wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Dede Westbrook has stepped up to lead the Big 12 with 68 catches, 1,254 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is also putting together a solid season with a 72% completion rate – second in the nation to Washington State’s Luke Falk – and 33 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. Senior linebacker Jordan Evans recorded nine tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and two pass breakups against Baylor, becoming the first Sooner to record two interceptions and two sacks in a game. Oklahoma has won 10 consecutive ‘true’ road games.
I expect a high-scoring affair between these two quality teams. West Virginia has the defense to stop Oklahoma a couple of times to get the advantage in this game. Morgantown will be rocking Saturday night and I smell a small upset.
Pick: West Virginia +3.5