Can Nebraska Beat Oklahoma For The Big 12 Title?


Aaron Babcock via Flickr

Big 12 Championship: #13 Nebraska at #10 OklahomaChad Millman of ESPN has reported that many “sharps” like Oklahoma this week in their Big 12 Championship game so much so that the line of this game has jumped from Oklahoma -3.5 to Oklahoma -6.5 in some books during the week.

Unlike many of our peers in the industry, we at The Skulldog Show do not get caught up in a lot of the hype surrounding Vegas “sharp” plays and conspiracy theories when handicapping games.

The bottom line is that we have a system that we have refined to much success over the last 20 years to consistently pick winners in spite of what is happening in Vegas or with the other handicappers out there.

And this brings me to this week’s Big 12 matchup with #13 Nebraska and the 10th ranked Sooners from Oklahoma. No rest for the weary Sooners here as they are coming fresh off their marquee win of the year in taking down Oklahoma St. last week 47-41 in a game that really was not as close as the score indicates.

Oklahoma will be leaning heavily on its “Joe Dirt” look alike, QB Landry Jones, who has thrown for over 3,000 yards on the season and 34 touchdowns with only 10 picks on the year.

On the other side of the ball, Nebraska showed some resiliency in taking out an inferior Colorado team last week 45-17 and clinching the Big 12 North title. All the buzz in this one is on QB  Taylor Martinez  and his health as he has been battling an ankle injury and is listed as day to day.  

Key to the Game

While most will focus on these two top QB’s matching up in this Big 12 showdown, we think that defence and special teams are the key to this one. Who could forget this game last year when Nebraska limited Oklahoma to 3 points in a 10-3 win in Lincoln and baited Jones into 5 interceptions in the game.  Another tough day against the Cornhuskers isn’t out of the question for Jones. Nebraska had the nation’s No. 1 pass efficiency defence last season — allowing 5.11 yards per attempt — and it’s second this season, yielding 5.26 per throw behind shutdown cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard.

The Pick

While this game is being played on a neutral field in Dallas we think there will be no significant advantage for either team as both of these historic programs travel well and will show up to represent their respective teams. While some are concerned about QB Taylor Martinez’s health, we are not, as overall defence will dictate the outcome in this one. We believe that Oklahoma will struggle to move the ball consistently against the country’s best defence and a combination of Martinez and backup Cody Green should give the Huskers enough offence to keep the Sooners offence on the sidelines. Also, watch out for a big game from kicker Alex Henery who is the nation’s best kicker (and all around tremendous athlete) who is 16-17 on the year for FG’s attempted with a 52 yarder on his resume.  In the end the Huskers should cover and maybe even leave the Big 12 in style with a big win here…. 

Nebraska +4.5

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