Kickoff: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Booth Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas
Radio: WHB (810 AM) in Kansas City, KFH (1240 AM) in Wichita
The line: Oklahoma by 32.
Let’s repeat the mantra that has appeared in this space nearly every week: It’s best to not overreact to the previous game’s result.
That’s important this time when looking at both teams. KU is coming off its most disappointing game of the year in a lopsided loss to TCU. And Oklahoma looked like world-beaters again in a dominant 55-16 home victory over Texas Tech.
There are obvious reasons to be concerned with the Jayhawks defense in this matchup, starting with the fact that Oklahoma is averaging a mind-boggling 10.4 yards per play. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has been dynamic in both the rushing and passing games, and KU’s defense has never really recovered the last two games after losing Dru Prox for the foreseeable future because of a shoulder injury.
Offensively, though, I could see KU having at least some success against Oklahoma’s defense. Keep in mind that the Jayhawks made their best scheme changes after their most embarrassing moment earlier this year (a 12-7 home loss to Coastal Carolina), and perhaps last week’s ineffectiveness will lead the Jayhawks’ coaching staff to do some quick soul searching once again.
Some other small factors also would seem to give KU a chance at a cover here. They include:
• The bad weather (thunderstorms/rain/wind are expected), which could keep scoring down
• Turnover luck, as KU has not had a takeaway in four games — a trend that shouldn’t continue much longer
• Oklahoma hasn’t been great on special teams this year (97th in ESPN’s SP+ measure), meaning KU might be able to gain a few points there
Add it all up ... and this game probably still won’t be competitive. But the pick here is for KU’s offense to be slightly better than expected with perhaps some better giveaway fortune. That would result in an Oklahoma win but a KU cover.
Oklahoma 45, KU 20
Last game prediction: TCU 35, KU 14 (Actual: TCU 51-14)