Big 12 pick: Sooners should cruise to record three-peat title

December, 4, 2008
12/04/08
7:03
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma 52, Missouri 31 -- The first rematch in Big 12 title game history from the previous season will take place at Arrowhead Stadium. And the streaking Sooners appear to be ready.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford has the offense humming as the Sooners have scored at least 61 points in each of their last four games. They have the balanced kind of attack that will pose problems to a Missouri defense that has struggled this season despite returning 10 starters from last season. The Sooners' offensive balance will prove difficult for Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus to contain.

Bradford has a torn ligament in his non-throwing hand that will be braced for Saturday's game. That injury could affect the Sooners' rushing game as he could be forced to take the majority of his snaps from shotgun formations like he did last week against Oklahoma State after the injury. But Bradford should be effective against a banged-up Missouri secondary that will be missing its best cornerback after Castine Bridges went down with a season-ending knee injury last week.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel has struggled recently with interceptions, throwing at least two in three of his last four games. He can't afford that in Saturday's game as he must be more patient and avoid throwing the ball into tight Oklahoma coverage. The Tigers are going to have to do a good job of keeping Daniel from being pressured against an Oklahoma defense that should be getting top pass-rushing threat Auston English back from injury for spot duty.

The Tigers needs to exploit their advantage in the special teams and will need some big plays for Jeremy Maclin to nab the upset. And they also have an advantage at kicker, where Jeff Wolfert is more consistent and has better range than Jimmy Stevens.

But when everything is considered, the Sooners have too many weapons. And the controversy about their legitimacy of playing in Saturday's game should spur them to a strong performance. A victory will provide them with a shot at a history-making third straight conference title and a likely berth in the BCS Championship Game next month.

My record for last week: 4-1 (80 percent)
My record for the season: 83-13 (86.5 percent)

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