December 1, 2007

Preview and prediction: Big XII title game

SAN ANTONIO, TX--All week long, has teamed up with to give Tiger fans the most comprehensive breakdowns of the Big XII Championship game. But today, we take things in-house. Here is the exclusive breakdown of today's game against the Sooners.

Missouri Keys to the Game
First of all, they have to start fast. Many people are questioning whether or not the Tigers are going to be ready to play in a game this big, in an atmosphere this big. If they start slow, if OU gets out to an early lead, maybe the doubts start to creep in. Next, the Tigers have to do what they did not do in Norman and hang on to the ball. I'm not one that says the Tigers gave that game away, but they didn't give themselves much of a chance to win. You turn it over four times here, it's a loss without a doubt. Finally, I think Missouri needs to get Temple going. The last two times they've played the Sooners, Missouri has given up on the run before they really even tried it. If Temple runs for 100, I've said it all year, there is no one on the schedule that can beat Missouri. That includes the Sooners.

Oklahoma Keys to the Game

Number one, they have to find a way to pressure Daniel. Really, that could be numbers one, two and three. But with Auston English out, who steps up to do that? If Oklahoma consistently has to blitz to get to the quarterback, Daniel will eventually figure it out and put points on the board. If you can get to him with just your front four, you can put the clamps on this Tiger offense--or at least slow it down significantly. Finally, OU needs to win the special teams battle. Maclin is a flat out game changer. Oklahoma kicked to him one time in Norman and he almost broke it. I would not be surprised at all to see Bob Stoops employ the same strategy Missouri used against Kansas to just completely keep the ball out of Maclin's hands in the return game.

Final Analysis

If both teams were healthy and played their best games, I'd be going with Oklahoma by seven to ten. But the fact is the Sooners are not healthy. Not really even close. With English out and some serious depth questions along the defensive front, I think the Tigers can put up points more easily than they did in the first matchup. I think Oklahoma will have to hit 38 to win this game. Certainly, the Sooners are capable. But for six weeks now, William Moore has made a huge play at a huge time. I think he does it again. It's a shootout and it's one hell of a football game, but I think Daniel and Moore make big fourth quarter plays to put the Tigers in the national title game.

Prediction: Missouri 41-Oklahoma 34

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!