No. 9 Oklahoma is back in action on Saturday night after getting a week to think about the upset loss in Manhattan from Kansas State. While the Sooners still have life in the Big 12 and College Football Playoff, they can’t afford any more slip ups from here on out, starting with Iowa State in Norman.

The top of the Big 12 is a circus with most of the teams in contention for the Big 12 Championship Game set to play one another over the next three weeks. Any more losses moving forward and Oklahoma would not only likely be out of the College Football Playoff race, but shuffled back into the Big 12 standings. What a disappointment that would be.

Iowa State, meanwhile, is right in the thick of it as well but in need of a key victory to maintain its standing. Who wins on Saturday night in Norman, Oklahoma? Let’s take a closer look at what to expect in this showdown and make some picks both straight up and against the spread. The Sooners still have a shot at the CFP, but its effort to get into the four-team field must begin with haste this evening.

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 9 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Memorial Stadium — Norman, Oklahoma
TV: Fox  | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Storylines

Oklahoma: The Sooners still lead the FBS in points per game and yards per play — the latter by a considerable margin, too. But something’s quietly been off over the last few games. Against Kansas State specifically, Oklahoma’s running backs took a back seat. This offense needs to get Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon involved again, provided they’re healthy. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is great, but I have doubts about whether he can carry the load of this offense by himself. After an open week, don’t be surprised if Riley gets back to more of the bread-and-butter run game that sets up everything else in this high-powered attack. 

Iowa State: The Cyclones are 10 points away from being undefeated, which goes to show you how close this team really is to being one of the top two in the Big 12. But it’s lacking that signature win. To pull the upset here, Iowa State needs to do two things. First, it has to neutralize Sooners linebacker Kenneth Murray. Kansas State did a great job of taking him out of plays two weeks ago with their blocking scheme. Second, it needs to get pressure on Hurts. It sounds simple enough, but he’s such a threat to take off and gain huge yardage with his legs. If you can penetrate the middle of Oklahoma’s offensive line, there are opportunities to take plays away from Hurts. It’s when he gets out of the pocket that he’s most dangerous. 

Game prediction, picks

Iowa State is probably a little better than 5-3 would tell you and they have the tools to beat Oklahoma, including a legit dual-threat quarterback in Brock Purdy and a well-coached defense. This is a battle of two of the best teams in the Big 12, though a rematch in Arlington probably only happens if Iowa State wins in Norman. I like the Sooners straight up coming off a loss and an extra week to think about it, but if you can get two touchdowns on this game, take the points. Pick: Iowa State +13.5

So what picks can you make with confidence in Week 11? And which line is way off, making it a must-back? Visit SportsLine to see which college football teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past four seasons.

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