What's at stake
Coming off tough losses last week, the Jayhawks and Sooners have similar needs. KU lost one to Colorado that was penciled in as a victory, so it has to get one back against a team like Oklahoma to make up for it in the Big 12 North race. Oklahoma can afford a loss to Texas, but the Sooners will likely have to win out to have a chance of winning the South.
The Jayhawks slow the Oklahoma running game. KU has no chance to win if DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown get going for the Sooners. The Jayhawks have to force freshman quarterback Landry Jones to beat them.
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KU fails to establish Jake Sharp. Sharp ran for 103 yards in 12 carries last season at Oklahoma, and he'll need a similar performance. Sharp finding some running lanes will force the dominant Oklahoma defensive line to hold back its pass rush just a little bit, which could be the difference for QB Todd Reesing.
Three things about Oklahoma
1. Oklahoma's three losses are by a combined five points, all coming on road or neutral fields.
2. The Sooners haven't played in Lawrence since 2001. Oklahoma is 31-15-4 in Lawrence.
3. Oklahoma has played the second-toughest schedule in the nation. Its opponents have won 78.3 percent of games.
Kansas' defensive line vs. Oklahoma's offensive line. The Jayhawks are tied for ninth nationally in sacks per game with 3.17, and they'll need to be able to take advantage of a young Sooner line. Jones is a traditional pocket passer, so KU could have success getting to him.
J. Brady McCollough's pick: Oklahoma, 24-17
Even without Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, the Sooners' talent, top to bottom, will overmatch Kansas.