December 1, 2007

Part 5: Big 12 Championship's Big Questions

Each day leading up to the Big 12 Championship game, our resident experts will break down one of the key questions surrounding the matchup between the Tigers and the Sooners.

Today's Question: How do you see the game playing out and what is the final score?

Josh McCuistion of In big games, I can usually get a pretty good feeling for the game, but this one is really tough for me to read. I can honestly say with Auston English at full health I'd think the Sooners would be pretty close to the 10-point choice that they won by in Norman in mid-October. With his absence this game becomes a lot tighter because I feel that Chase Daniel has a much greater chance to be an effective, and potentially lethal, player. That being said, I don't see anything that has changed in the Missouri defense that indicates to me that the Tigers will slow down Sam Bradford and co. I think the biggest thing that I'd like to see from Missouri is a situation of beating one of the conference's 'big boys'. There is no doubt that they've made massive leaps as a program and are starting to produce the players that great programs do. However, there is something to be said of knocking off the supposed 'king' of the mountain, and for the past decade that's been Oklahoma in the Big 12 conference. Much as I said prior to Texas ending Oklahoma's five-game winning streak, I'll have to see it before I believe it. Oklahoma 35, Missouri 24.

Gabe DeArmond of I will be up front: If Oklahoma came into this game fully healthy, I'd pick the Sooners. To go further, if OU had been healthy through the last few weeks, I think they'd be playing for a spot in the national title game as well. Tech doesn't win with Bradford in the game all night. But the fact is injuries are a factor and I think they benefit Missouri greatly here. While Pig Brown is out, Missouri has now had a month to get used to playing without him. On the Oklahoma side, their best running back, in my opinion, misses this game and that could have a huge effect on the offensive attack. More important, though, is the loss of English. He was the best defensive player on either team the last time they met and he changed the game because he allowed Oklahoma to pressure Daniel without bringing too many blitzes. I don't think they can get to Daniel without bringing more pressure, in part because English was that good and in part because the Tiger offensive line has been better the last few weeks, outside of a few lapses. Oklahoma pretty much manhandled Missouri up front and I don't think that will be the case this time. In the end, this pick for me comes down to Daniel. If you give me the choice of any quarterback in the country to win one game right now, I'm going with the guy calling the shots for Mizzou. I think he gets it done. Missouri 41, Oklahoma 34. and will answer a different question each day this week

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