CornNation has a nice little comparison of the matchup which shows the two teams are fairly well matched. Oklahoma has certainly played well this season especially after losing both their quarterback to NCAA violations and Adrian Peterson to a shoulder injury. Bob Stoops has certainly earned his coach of the year award (unless it turns out Stoops knew more about Rhett Bomar's high-paying "job" at an Oklahoma City car dealership) this season.
I think this matchup boils down to two questions:
- How balanced will the Husker offense be?
- How will the Huskers tackle on defense?
Defensively, Nebraska must play fundamentally sound football as Oklahoma is going to try to run at and over the Huskers. If they continue to show shoddy fundamentals and allow the Sooners to gain big yardage, they will lose. Nebraska can't "hope" tackling improves, they need to do it.
And what is the motivation of this Husker team? All season long, after a bad game, we've heard that "our goals are still in front of us", pointing towards making it to Kansas City. Mission Accomplished? Perhaps to some. But I doubt that 60,000 Husker fans are making this trip just because they like the balmy breezes coming off the Plaza. Certainly just showing up in Kansas City isn't going to be enough for Nebraska's athletic director.
So what's my prediction? Most of the talking heads don't give the Huskers much of a chance, automatically slotting the Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. Well, I think it's going to be closer than that. But, I still am a little unsure of this game. Is it the cold? Is it the matchup? Is it Sooner Magic? A little of it all, I'm afraid. But this is a classic matchup, so I'll pull up a classic score: Oklahoma 17, Nebraska 14.
Hope I'm wrong.