[Jon J - Edited a bit to make for easier reading, bold and paragraph breaks, then bumped to the front page to generate more discussion. And BTW, Sooner fans are welcome here. The real ones at least. Don't worry, we'll know who you are.]
First off, I'm a Sooner fan. I don't want to offend anybody here and I'm going to give my best guess what is going to happen next Saturday based off the information I have right now. That being said, anything can happen (and usually does) in the Big 12 title game. Feel free to offer your 2 cents opinion or predictions. Try not to get too personal. We all love this game and have strong opinions so let's keep it civil!
OU offense vs NU defense:
OU has the best offense the Huskers will have faced thus far. Landry Jones has the strongest and most accurate arm in the Big 12. He's also still young and occasionally makes poor decisions. Facing the Sooners will be a Nebraska defense with good speed on the perimeter. NU has a tough pass defense, (although their stats are somewhat misleading due to their very weak nonconf schedule). NU's run defense, on the other hand, has been very average in the Big 12 this year, just barely ranking over the Sooner's average run defense. OU could expect success running the ball against most teams, but NU can match OU's speed on the outside and the Sooners will have to get their rushing yards the hard way (up the gut).
The pass will have to open up NU's defense for OU to run. Oklahoma can't run the bubble screen constantly on NU, Pellini will be ready for that. The Sooners have to throw the ball vertically. OU has too many excellent receivers on offense for NU to shut them down. Jones can, and will, throw for over 300 yards against NU. NU should try to keep the receivers in front of them and make Landry throw as often as possible, hoping for a mistake. Blitzing has been successful against Jones this year and it offers NU their best success to stop him. OU will counter with draws and screens. It'll be a chess match.
NU offense vs OU defense:
OU has been a mixed bag on defense this year. Usually they play soft and give up tons of yards and plenty of points. Sometimes they show up and look like world beaters. Mizzou gashed OU all night long as Venables failed to make the necessary adjustments to slow them down. On the other hand OU did finish in the upper half of the Big 12 in total defense. OU's run defense is average and faces a very good NU running game. NU will run for well over 200 yards against OU. They'll need every yard of it since NU doesn't have a Qb capable of generating much of a pass threat. If Martinez plays expect the Sooners to use a similar defense to what they used against Baylor. OU shut down Griffin, and he's the best dual threat Qb in the conference.
NU's best bet is to pass just enough to keep the defense honest and run a straight ahead power game...OU is too fast to consistently beat on the ends (same as NU) but if NU keeps pounding the middle eventually they'll make OU's smaller defensive line break. A word of warning on running at the Sooners though....Oklahoma held the powerful Kendall Hunter to only 55 yards rushing, and he got over 200 yards rushing vs NU. If the Sooners bring their A-Game they are perfectly capable of shutting down NU's rushing game.
Oklahoma has the best punter in the conference, which could be big in a game between 2 teams as evenly matched as OU/NU. Tress Way has a cannon for a leg and is a master of pinning teams inside their own 10 yard line. OU also has one of the worst kickoff teams in the country and one of the most inconsistent FG kcikers in the country. I'd have to rate Oklahoma as below average on special teams, despite the excellent punter, giving NU an edge.
OU has played much "cleaner" football than NU this year. NU has consistently been burned by, no offense, stupid penalties. This has hurt them in a lot of games. NU will have to play disciplined heads up football and keep the Sooners from getting short fields. Intensity is great...but bad penalties can kill a team on the road. And this IS a road game for NU moreso than OU.
This game has all the makings of a classic. The teams have identical records. NU has the better defense, and OU has the better offense. NU is a good running team...OU is a good passing team. Each has beaten teams the other lost to. As a Sooner, NU's running game (especially Helu) has me nervous. If I was an NU fan I'd be nervous about Landry Jones arm.
I honestly don't think NU's offense can generate enough of a passing threat to keep OU honest on defense. In that case the Sooners will tee off on the Husker's offense, doing run blitzes constantly. Believe me, Venables will run the same defensive stunts, blitzes, etc into the ground until you burn him. Even after you burn him he'll STILL do the same thing if he's having any success at all with it. Offensively the Sooners will move the ball. Nobody has stopped them this year, the best you can do is slow them down and try to force mistakes. And OU makes lots of mistakes (they are still a young team).
Anything can happen, and usually does. Before my final prediction I'll state my standard disclaimer: I wouldn't be surprised if Nebraska beat Oklahoma 42-0...but I wouldn't be surprised if OU beat NU 50-0. Assuming both teams bring their "A" games...here is my prediction...