Amid all the ineptitude, the Jayhawks are showing the occasional flashes of hope, starting with actually winning a game. Once again, KU took TCU down to the wire. David Beaty’s team also hung tough with Oklahoma State before the Cowboys pulled away in the second half.
If KU did manage to beat OU on Saturday, it would mark one of the bigger upsets in college football in recent years. A more reasonable goal for the Jayhawks might be making the Sooners sweat past halftime.
Kansas at Oklahoma
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FS1
Spread: Oklahoma -40
1. Kansas’ Receiving Duo
OU’s struggling secondary will face another test on Saturday. Junior Texas A&M transfer LaQuvionte Gonzalez and sophomore Steven Sims Jr. give KU two solid pass catchers who can function as possession receivers and deep threats in the Jayhawks’ Air Raid offense.
2. Corralling Joe Mixon and Dede Westbrook
In Westbrook, the Sooners have the best offensive weapon in the Big 12 — unless that honor belongs to Mixon, of course. Either way, a tall order awaits KU’s defense in attempting to slow the Sooner superstars.
3. OU’s Defensive Depth
Oklahoma will be without defensive linemen Matt Dimon, Matt Romar and Charles Walker for sure on Saturday. Sack master Ogbonnia Okoronkwo might miss this game, too. That could offer backups such as redshirt freshman Du’Vonta Lampkin and true freshman Mark Jackson a chance to have an impact with extended playing time.
Even though the Sooners won last week, the Oklahoma defense has spent the last week taking flak from media and fans alike for a truly putrid showing against Texas Tech. Maybe that fires up veterans like linebacker Jordan Evans and safety Ahmad Thomas. Maybe the talk further erodes their confidence.
It probably won’t matter much one way or the other on Saturday, aside from the final margin. Baker Mayfield is playing some of his best ball since coming to OU in the last month, and it won’t take much for him to march the offense up and down the field against a KU defense that is allowing 36.9 points per game this year.
If the Jayhawks can find enough little victories throughout the course of the game, it will help them build confidence for a stretch run that could bring their first win in Big 12 play in years.
Prediction: Oklahoma 52, Kansas 20
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.