1. Game Atmosphere. There's no reason for the OU students to be late with a 6 p.m. kickoff. The stadium needs to be rocking. Home field advantage should mean more in Norman and is especially an asset for this evolving, young and impressionable OU team.
Gary Patterson has beaten OU once in Norman, and the Sooners will try to prevent that from happening again on Saturday.
2. OU Receivers vs. TCU DB's. Big time match up and who wins this one will greatly influence the outcome of the game. The Horned Frogs' Jason Verrett is TCU's version of Revis Island. Coach Jay Norvell's guys caught, ran and BLOCKED well at Notre Dame. Sooners have lots of weapons so pick your poison, Frogs.
3. Tackling. OU must tackle crisply, especially with the power running of TCU RB's and their elusive QB Trevone Boykin. Efficient tackling prevents big plays and big plays take the crowd out of the game, which can be devastating at home. Kill shots have been largely eliminated this year and getting the opposition on the ground by wrapping people up has replaced the SportsCenter moments.
4. TCU Defense. An underrated unit that's well coached. They had four interceptions last week and logged seven sacks. TCU has had 15 sacks (OU has four) and 12 takeaways this season. Another stout test for Coach Bill Bedenbaugh's brisket eaters. TCU's D-Line isn't as talented up front as Notre Dame but likely the Frogs aren't aware of that assumption. No unit on the Sooner team has been more improved or consistent than OU's offensive line but TCU's quickness could provide Coach B's Boys some issues.
5. Run the Ball. Until someone proves that they can consistently stop the Sooner running game, expect OU to keep running the pigskin and why not? The run sets up play action passes that facilitates the OU play makers to make big plays. Execution on short yardage plays must improve. OU QB's being under center on 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1 wouldn't hurt my feelings.
6. Déjà vu. Over the years, the Sooners seem to be susceptible to receiving tight ends, covering backs out of the backfield and mobile QB's who can throw. Gary Patterson, who knows what it's like to beat OU in Norman, is a great football coach who will look to exploit the Sooners where they have shown previous weaknesses. Expect Mike Stoops and company to have their team prepared to play technically sound, smart football. If not.....
7. Trevor Knight. While Blake Bell has evolved as the Sooners' starting QB, without question, in my view, I'd expect Trevor Knight to get some playing time Saturday. Knight posses a change of pace for any defense a la an NBA team bringing in a different point guard for a few minutes. One has to love the 'no fear' mindset of both Bell and Knight. However, dealing with a 6'6"-255 pound QB like #10 can't be replicated in practice.
Describe this game any way that you choose, 'sandwich game,' 'trap game.' etc but when all the descriptors are said and done it is a MUST WIN GAME. Losing a Big 12 game, at home, to a team desperately fighting to stay in the title hunt would be disastrous. This game isn't going to be easy and I expect it to be in the 4th quarter before it's decided. Continued, great special teams play and ball protection are huge. Take nothing for granted.
OU 27 TCU 17
Jim Ross @JRsBBQ
Editor's note: Jim Ross is an Oklahoma native living in Norman. JR is a two time, New York Times best selling author, former NFL and XFL broadcaster, and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. Check out JR's BBQ Sauces, Chipotle Ketchup, Main Event Mustard, All Purpose Seasoning and Beef Jerky. All are made in Oklahoma and available at the four, Norman Homeland stores and in Lawton at the three, Country Mart stores. JR's can also be ordered online at http://www.wweshop.com.