No. 3 Oklahoma and Kansas State will meet Saturday in the Big 12 opener for each team, and the fact that it will be a revenge game for the Sooners only adds to the intrigue. The Wildcats were the only team to beat Oklahoma in the regular season in 2019, winning 48-41.
This year, the song is the same: Oklahoma enters as the favorite to not only win the Big 12, but make the College Football Playoff. Kansas State will try to play spoiler.
Whether it can is a different story. Coach Chris Klieman has indicated his team’s depth chart has been hurt by not only by the COVID-19 virus, but the contact tracing associated with the testing for it. As such, there’s some concern as to whether this game will even make it to kickoff. It’s not unprecedented for games in 2020 to be postponed or canceled within 24 hours of their scheduled start time.
Both programs, like practically every one around the country, have been hit by COVID-19 in some form or fashion. That makes picking games especially difficult. Still, bookmakers see this as a big win for the Sooners and anything otherwise would be an upset once again. Here’s what to watch for when Oklahoma and Kansas State kick off.
Oklahoma: Yes, all eyes will be on quarterback Spencer Rattler. The redshirt freshman dazzled in his debut against Missouri State, throwing for more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three) in a 48-0 win. But that was Missouri State. Kansas State certainly poses more of a challenge, although by how much remains to be seen. However, the more interesting storyline will be Oklahoma’s defense. Even though defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has done some good things with a once much-maligned group, last year’s loss to the Wildcats showed it had some ways to go before it truly turned a corner. This time around, Oklahoma must keep its eyes on quarterback Skylar Thompson while getting pressure against a relatively new-look offensive line.
Kansas State: Can the Klieman Cats find lightning in a bottle two years in a row? It’s no secret that Klieman can coach, but another impressive showing against the Sooners would further cement this team as a Big 12 giant killer. The thing is, no one’s really sure what the depth chart is going to look like. The Big 12 has a 53-man guideline with certain position minimums that must be filled in order for a game to be played. Testing and contact tracing have put K-State at a real disadvantage and already difficult task just got that much harder.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 26 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium — Norman, Oklahoma
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Game prediction, picks
Assuming the game can be played, the Wildcats are up for a big challenge. Both teams could have players missing, but it would seem as though K-State is the one closer to not being able to field the minimum players needed. That’s not a great start and after getting beat by an undermanned Arkansas State in Week 2, the forecast for this game isn’t much rosier. A blood-thirsty Oklahoma wins big. Pick: Oklahoma (-28.5)
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