1. Holgorsen. May have the most distinctive hairline in the Big 12 but he’s an eccentric, offensive guru who showed little last week in a lackluster home win against Bill & Mary. The man who lived in a hotel in Stillwater for a year will be looking forward to playing mental chess with Mike Stoops. Sooner secondary must be able to process wacky info quickly.
2. Charles Sims. WVU’s running attack centers around Sims, who’s older than some NFL rookies. OU’s defensive front seven must win their battles and tackle decisively and with malice. Neutralizing RB Charles Sims is a viable key to this game. Coach Montgomery’s D-Line should continue to evolve and exceed preseason expectations.
3. Trevor Knight. Sooner fans who are leery of QB Knight’s throwing skills need to exhale. The redshirt freshman’s throwing against the “One’s” in practice has been impressive. Now…breathe. (Hopefully, WVU will load the box on defense to stop OU’s running game…and then suffer the consequences.)
4. Noise. Some pundits are making an issue of how well WVU’s QB’s will react to a ‘hostile’ crowd in Norman. Hmmm. Hostile. Really? Let’s cut to the chase, the Sooner faithful can help the OU cause with their loudness when Mountaineers are on offense and trying to communicate at the line of scrimmage. If it’s too loud for some fans, then they’re likely too old.
5. Bedenbaugh. Luckily for OU fans, the new Sooner offensive line coach has swapped teams after being in Morgantown last year. The offensive line is much more physical and, seemingly, much more focused. Coach B’s no nonsense approach is noticeable. I’m thinking the O-Line will be running on JR’s HOT BBQ sauce this week (cheap plug) looking to impose their will. If they succeed, the ‘must win’ Big 12 opener will have a happy ending. Look for Sooners to top 250 yards rushing Saturday night….maybe more. (I’d like some more Keith Ford, please.)
6. Jalen Saunders. The unequivocal leader of the Sooners' deep, receiving corps. Small frame, big in stature ala Ryan Broyles. Defenses have to game plan around #8. With that said, what other receivers could have big nights? Pick your poison….Metoyer, Jaz, Sterling, Bester, Neal…..Coach Jay Norvell’s group is a team strength.
7. Special Teams. Couldn’t have gotten better results last week. Huge phase of the game and a significant factor in the Sooner chances of winning the Big 12. Coach Jay Boulware’s a great hire. He likely has flown under the radar. Anxious to see his coverage teams blow people up.
Massive, early season, Big 12 game in Norman Saturday night on Fox TV nationally. By the way, when are these league games NOT ‘must win?’ The thought of being taken to the wood shed at home by a conference foe is sobering and something that I choose not to consider. The K-State loss in 2012 was devastating. Last year’s ‘video game’ in Morgantown that OU luckily escaped no doubt has WVU looking to return the favor. That cannot happen.
OU 35 WVU 14
Editor’s note: Native Oklahoman Jim Ross is a two time New York Times Bestselling author, former broadcaster for the Atlanta Falcons, the XFL on NBC, and is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. His made in Oklahoma, family line of JR’s BBQ Sauces, Chipotle Ketchup, Main Event Mustard, All Purpose Seasoning/Rub and Beef Jerky can be found at the four, Norman Homeland Stores, the three, Country Mart Stores in Lawton and can be ordered online worldwide from http://www.wweshop.com.