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Colin: First off, have you ever seen a worse play call than Tulsa putting it in the air with 30 seconds left in the half, in the worst conditions I've ever seen in the horseshoe. I think a quick kick on 3rd down would have been a better play. How stupid was that decision?
Baver: A Baylor disciple lives and dies by the sword….very stupid call indeed.
Colin: Before that though, both the O and D lines seemed to be getting pushed around by Tulsa. How big of a concern is this heading into face the Sooners this weekend?
Baver: Somewhat concerning. Although, I think part of that amounted to Ohio State simply not wanting to show anything on either side of the ball prior to the trip to Oklahoma. Some of that strategy then had to be thrown out the window when the score was tied 3-3, late 2nd quarter.
Colin: Historically, it doesn't get any bigger than the Buckeyes on the road in Norman. And for a night game no less. How bad does Stoops and company want this one and when was the last non-conference game this big in Oklahoma?
Baver: 15 years ago, Stoops earned the nicknamed “Big Game Bob” because he won the big ones. Now, he still has the nickname, but it’s used sarcastically. As I mentioned a week ago, I think he gets too much criticism, but losing to Ohio State certainly isn’t going to help his reputation.
Last big non-conference game in Norman? Notre Dame visited in 2012. Phil Steele tells me it was the 8th ranked Sooners vs the #5 ranked Fighting Irish. Notre Dame took home the victory in that one.
Colin: What does Ohio State have to do to win this game?
Baver: Winning the turnover battle goes without saying. I think the Bucks need a true WR to step up and have a big game. Curtis Samuel has to keep making plays. The pass rush has to be better…with Lewis, Hubbard, Holmes and Lil’ Bosa, the ends have to provide more pressure than they have gotten in weeks one and two.
Colin: Is Malik Hooker this good, or lucky, or both?
Baver: Both. I think Malik covers as much ground as any safety that I ever remember playing here, and his ball skills are insane. He had only played a few years of football when OSU offered him a scholarship, but the OSU coaches saw what Hooker had on the basketball court, and that was all they needed to see.
Colin: What can the Sooners do that worries you?
Baver: (1) Perine and Mixon running it down Ohio State’s throat. The Sooners abandoned the run way too early against Houston. (2) Mayfield scrambling and young Buckeye defenders over-pursuing. (3) A defensive backfield taking Ohio State’s X and Y receivers out of the game.
Colin: The Buckeyes are talented, but very young; can we really be disappointed if this game goes in the loss column?
Baver: We probably shouldn’t be. If you analyze the units and look at experienced depth, Ohio State shouldn’t be favored in this game. But, we certainly will be if we don’t come home with a win.
Colin: What games and/or lines will you be watching this weekend?
Baver: Third Buckeye game in a row that I would say: stay away from if you’re a bettor. But I have to make a pick here. I chalked this up as a loss prior to September, but I am starting to sip the Kool-Aid. Urban is a road warrior and I think the Bucks make enough big plays to get it done Saturday night. So, if you have to pick the game, I’d say take the Bucks and lay the point and a half.
Two more games….Gotta like Texas A&M getting 3 ½ at Auburn. Should be a close one and I was thinking the spread would be about even. And I like Southern Cal getting 8 ½ at Stanford. aThe Trojans are better than what they showed against Bama and that line is inflated.