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Big 12 Championship: What They're Saying

Homerism hit up some of the best minds on the 'Net and airwaves for their thoughts on the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game pitting the Oklahoma Sooners against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Much love to all who participated.

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*Bomani Jones, Host of "The Morning Jones"

I suppose I could get scientific about this, but a tacit understanding of Big 12 football tells us the following: you can smell a game Oklahoma's going to win from a mile away. Neutral site against an opponent who, aside from being down to its backup quarterback, wet the bed in two of its three biggest games of the season? Just another step closer to naming the Big 12 Championship trophy after Bob Stoops, whose had it so much that it may as well be his. 

The Skinny, Contributor, BlatantHomerism.com

Can Nebraska defend OU without doubling Ryan Broyles? Further, can the rest of OU's receivers make plays? If not, it is going to be pretty easy for the 'Huskers to shut down an improving, but still average, OU run game. This will be the best defense the Sooners have faced this season.

On the other side of the ball, I believe OU's defense will get the better of NU's offense. OU's defense has been playing its best football lately, and the return of Austin Box has really helped solidify the middle of OU's defense. I can't figure out NU's offense. I've seen them look great at time,s and then they put up 6 points at Texas A&M. The 'Huskers scored a total of 19 points against the two best defenses they faced this season in A&M and Texas.

In the end, I think this will be a very low-scoring contest, which makes turnovers critical. Given Landry Jones propensity to throw one or two bad picks a game, that doesn't bode well for OU. I think OU will struggle to find balance on offense, which will prevent the Sooners from consistently sustaining drives and getting the 95-100 snaps they want on O.

My head says Nebraska is a tough matchup for the Sooners and the Huskers will want this one more. But my gut says OU is playing its best football of the season. I like OU, 17-16.

*Darren Carlson, Big Red Network

Everybody at Big Red Network is excited to see the renewing of hostilities between Nebraska and Oklahoma. It is as it was and as it should be. Sadly, after Saturday, it comes to an end. All of the Big 12 BS aside, we tip our caps to Sooner Nation and look forward to an epic game that will do past generations proud.

To the game itself this appears to be an even match up of teams with an startling clash of opposing strengths. If both teams play to type, the battle between the Sooner passing game and the Husker pass defense should be outstanding to watch. Regardless of whether Martinez plays for Nebraska or Murray starts for OU, the principles and keys to the game are the same.

The game will hinge on the turnover battle. Will Landry Jones give NU gifts? Will the Huskers leave the ball on the ground? It will also depend on which team is more aggressive early and willing to take a chance to get points when they can. It will also boil down to the kicking game. Field position and points from a distance can turn the tide. We see NU prevailing (of course!) in a tight contest, 24-21, on the strength of a last second field goal by Alex Henery, the best kicker in college football.

*Aaron Torres, AaronTorres-Sports.com

You know what I'm most excited about for this game? The 700 references that Brent Musberger is set to make about the Pelini brothers and Stoops brothers growing up together in Youngstown, OH. Don't forget to set the DVR!

In all seriousness though, this point spread scares me for a few reasons. Sure, Oklahoma is playing significantly better than they were just a month ago, and for the first time all year, I do feel like this is a Top 10 team. At the same time, isn't trusting Landry Jones to avoid mistakes against this opportunistic Nebraska secondary, like sending Tiger Woods to a flight attendant training seminar and expecting him not to chase tail? I mean, it could happen, but should we expect it? Can Jones play mistake free for 60 minutes? I'm not sure.

Still, begrudgingly, I'll take the Sooners. As good as Nebraska's running backs have been the last few weeks, the key is Taylor Martinez. And honestly, with the quarterback at less than 100 percent, I just can't see the Cornhuskers keeping up offensively. Maybe for a quarter. Maybe for a half. But not for 60 minutes. And if Martinez can't play? Well all I'll say is, "Cody Green, you're not in Colorado anymore."

*John Kasher, Better Off Red

It's difficult to predict how successful Nebraska will be on offense without knowing who the starting QB will be, but for the sake of this prediction let's assume it will be Cody Green. And let's also therefore assume the Huskers won't move the ball very much. On the other hand, I don't see OU having any real success throwing the ball and the hobbling of Murray will have some impact. I'm sensing a battle of FG attempts, something Husker fans are comfortable with. I'll say 19-13 Huskers, the only Husker TD being a Rex Burkhead wildcat keeper and the only OU TD being a pick-6.

*Ty Hildenbrandt, Co-host of "The Solid Verbal"

Quite frankly, I'm just not convinced that Nebraska's offense can score enough points to beat Oklahoma, especially a one-dimensional offense led by a quarterback who is either injured or hated by his teammates... or both. Nebraska's defense is formidable, but I still think Oklahoma has too much firepower to lose this game. Plus, if we know anything about Bob Stoops, it's that he'll lose a BCS bowl game, not this one. I like Oklahoma 34-17.

*Amanda Morris, BCS Chick

What a fantastic match-up for the last Big 12 Championship game. Oklahoma and Nebraska. Two of college footballs BIGGEST rivals.

With Nebraska yet to release information on to which QB will be starting, Oklahoma needs to be prepared for whoever they go with. If healthy enough, Taylor Martinez will most likely be in the starting position, and in the past Oklahoma has had issues with a running QB. But within the last couple of weeks, the Sooner defense has stepped up big to stop big 3rd down situations. Oklahoma will need to continue holding strong on crucial downs in order to keep momentum in their direction. Another key for Oklahoma will be giving Landry Jones plenty of protection and time. Jones is known for big mistakes under heavy pressure. The O-Line needs to step up and keep Jones protected. Nebraska takes great advantage of QB turnovers and against a defense like the Huskers, Oklahoma will need to tighten up.

Landry Jones is also known for passing, and the Husker defense is one of the best pass rush defenses in the country. Coverage will be all over Ryan Broyles Saturday night. Jones could possibly give a couple more glances in Kenny Stills direction, but I would look for the Sooners to probably use their backs more. According to Stoops, Murray has been practicing and is expected to play this weekend. Even if he does end up starting, I would expect that Roy Finch and Mossis Madu to be in the Sooner backfield quite a bit. The Sooners have been using their backs in the flat and it seems to be working out well. The Husker run defense has had issues with coverage and once Oklahoma goes with the run combined with the hurry up offense, I think there will be issues with the Husker defense keeping up.

With all that being said, I think the Sooners are going to come out on top of this one. I don't see the Sooners going "Switzer" on this one. They are not going to "hang half a hundred on em". Nebraska will give them a run. I also don't see the game being a complete shootout like last week's circus known as Bedlam. Good Luck next year 'Huskers, the Big Ten is waiting for you.

Boomer Sooner.

Oklahoma 28, Nebraska 21.

John Stansberry, LonelyTailgater.com

In my mind, it's only fitting that the current amalgamation of the Big 12 will come to an end with a rivalry game that was killed when the league formed. It's a damn shame that Oklahoma and Nebraska didn't keep their annual tilt going, but at least we get this.

This game will come down to whether or not Good Landry Jones (the one we usually see in Norman) or Bad Landry Jones (the one we see on the road) will show up in Arlington. I've got a feeling that in the optimal conditions and fast track of Cowboys Stadium, with a bunch of Sooner partisans on hand, Good Landry is going to show up.

The Nebraska defense is salty, but for all their great numbers, they rank only 104th in the nation in tackles for loss. That tells me that if Oklahoma can establish the line of scrimmage early, they can score enough to win this thing. Nebraska not having quarterback Taylor Martinez at 100 percent won't help matters at all. Call this one 20-10, Sooners.

Saturday Spirit

This year's Big 12 Championship game between Oklahoma and Nebraska has an old-school kind of feel to it ... all that's missing are Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer roaming the sidelines. We've found the Big 12 to be a rather perplexing and muddled conference this season without a dominant team. Texas A&M – winner of six in a row, including big W's over the Huskers and Sooners – might be playing the best football in the league right now. But the Sooners grabbed the chance to give their old Big 8 rivals a parting shot on the way out the door to the Big Ten with last week's high-octane win over Oklahoma State. We think Oklahoma's overall talent level is a notch above Nebraska's and that will be the difference at Cowboys Stadium this weekend. Our pick: Oklahoma 24, Nebraska 14.

Matt Zemek, CollegeFootballNews.com

Oklahoma, 27-17. 

Jay Beck, Turfburner.com

Saturday night's game is going to be about defense. Nebraska will likely be without Taylor Martinez on Saturday making their offense much easier to defend without the threat a true quarterback run. Oklahoma's offense has done most if its damage through the air, which plays right into the strength of the Husker defense. What's going to give?

The turnover battle is always critical, but it will be even more so Saturday night. Oklahoma is +11 in turnover margin this year while Nebraska is +4. Whatever defense gets a few take-aways, setting up their offense with a short field will be the difference in the game. Nebraska has put the ball on the turf 37 times this year and if OU gets a few, a big advantage goes over to the Sooners.

This is going to be really, really, close. I will be surprised if either team wins by double digits, although if that happens, it's more likely to be Oklahoma than Nebraska. The Husker defense is starting to peak as they did last season. The offense, however, is going the other way. The Sooner's meanwhile, have been clicking on all cylinders since the Texas A&M game.

The Blackshirt defense will play lights out against Landry Jones and the Oklahoma offense, but the inexperience at quarterback for Nebraska will come back to hurt them whether it's Martinez or Green. Jones won't be great, but just good enough. Oklahoma 20, Nebraska 17.

MoMo, Style and Culture Writer, BlatantHomerism.com

This Saturday in Dallas, the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners take aim at their biggest rival north of the Red River as the take on the Big 12 North champs, the No. 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers. This matchup marks the end of not only the Big 12, but the end of a truly great rivalry. For decades, OU and Nebraska battled it out on the gridiron to determine the champion of the once-proud Big 8. Saturday will be no different, as both teams plan to showcase their talents for a chance to represent the Big 12 in its final BCS game.

OU is coming off an impressive road victory against a talented Oklahoma State team. That showed that OU may have its road woes figured out. Nebraska is coming off an impressive win at home against Colorado where starting quarterback Taylor Martinez did not take a snap. OU is not without uncertainty in its backfield, as senior RB DeMarco Murray sat out the second half of last weekend's contest. It is uncertain whether Martinez or Murray will play, but with so much on the line, one would think that all hands will be on deck for this marquee matchup.

The key matchup for this game will be OU's offense versus Nebraska's defense. The Sooners shown that they are not just a pitch-and-catch team of Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles, as several other receivers have stepped up to make their names known to the college football world. Nebraska brings one of the nation's top overall defenses to Dallas, where they expect to shut down the Sooners.

This game will be bittersweet for the fans of the rivalry: OU by 10.

Mark Ennis, The Collision Course

While I've certainly enjoyed my fair share of "Big Game Bob" jokes at Bob Stoops' expense, the Big XII Championship Game is not a game he's typically struggled in. The Oklahoma offense is hitting its stride and matching up against the Nebraska defense will provide everyone a fitting farewell to the Big XII title game. I know everyone has concerns, or perhaps just enjoys joking, about the officiating sticking it to Nebraska as they exit the league, but, I don't see that happening. Landry Jones and the Oklahoma offense will be the best offense the Cornhuskers have faced all season and they'll do more than enough to beat a Nebraska team that, frankly, seems to me to be heading towards a crack-up. With coaches melting down at officials and reporters and players apparently unhappy with their treatment, I think Oklahoma wins rather handily.

Kevin McGuire, College Football Examiner

This is the matchup I've been anticipating since the start of the season. Oklahoma versus Nebraska – does it get any better than this? Given the fact that Nebraska is heading out of the conference next season I wouldn't think so.

I'm really looking for Nebraska to prove something to me in this game. If you look at some of their biggest games this season, the 'Huskers have come up short time and time again. Lost to Texas and Texas A&M. Gave up a ton of points against Oklahoma State. How can I trust this team right now?

I'm leaning toward the Sooners in this game just because I think they have hit their stride at the right time, and Nebraska has not come through in the clutch this season.
 

Wide Right & Natty Lite

Oklahoma still has not improved its defense from when the Cyclones saw the Sooners almost two months ago. Ranking 63rd overall in both rushing and total defense, this Oklahoma team is going to have to rely on minimizing big plays against a Nebraska team that has been known for explosive plays this season. However, with Taylor Martinez still nursing an ankle injury, his effectiveness will be limited. If Cody Green starts, then expect a heavy dose of Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead.

A one-dimensional Nebraska team will eventually faulter like in previous games. Oklahoma's 3rd ranked passing game going against Nebraska's 2nd ranked pass defense will be a very intriguing matchup to watch, and expect DeMarco Murray to get touches both on the ground and through the air to keep the Nebraska defense honest.

This game has the potential to be a classic, but in the end I expect to see chants of "Boomer Sooner" echoing throughout Dallas Saturday night, while Nebraska wipes their tears knowing they still can't beat teams from the South.

Final Score: Oklahoma 21, Nebraska 13.

P$, Homerism Associate

Neither of these teams ended up where they wanted. Both would love nothing more than to stick it to their old rivals and they both obviously want to be crowned champs. But this game requires more of a bowl game analysis than a championship one in my view. OU's defense has improved, even though the scoreboard hasn't shown it and regardless of the recent competition. Ironically, Nebraska's offense without Martinez could play directly into the Land Thieves' hands. Green is mobile but probably the weakest of the bunch of QBs that OU has seen over the last five weeks. Nebraska has a decent secondary and the defense has played pretty well all year. And for some reason OU's running game has not been as good as it should be, which plays to the Husker strength. Landry Jones should perform better than last year's game, but I'm not sure how much better.

With all of this hedging in the previous paragraph, it's obvious I will not be picking a side in this game. However, I will make a play on the total. Nebraska has played solid D all year, so I'm not sure there is much need to overanalyze. Both defenses are undervalued coming into this game, even though OU's has been bad most of the year and Nebraska's has slipped at various times. Both defenses will be fresh coming into the game with generous offensive time of possession in the respective games last weekend, and both are coming off solid performances. OU, in fact, has not given up over 400+ yards since the Missouri game. Last year's game was very low scoring (10-3), which is always a worry. But I think that says something about the matchup, and I'm not sure both teams will make up the difference. The posted total, 54, is low for an OU game this year, which tells me something.

Lastly, the one common denominator between these two? They both went to Oklahoma State and won, and both gave up exactly 41 points in the process. Long-time capper E$ always told me, "When all else fails, use the anti-transitive property." Both teams went to OSU and had monster overs. Therefore, this guy recommends under the 54.

Adam Kramer, Kegs 'n Eggs

Although it's hard to assess the health of Cornhusker QB Taylor Martinez, I get the feeling that Bo Pelini will have him on the field once it's time for the actual game. In any event, I'm expecting this game to be a much more defensive battle than most might think. Nebraska's defense is still very good and Oklahoma's defense is capable as well.

I do feel, however, that Oklahoma's offensive weaponry will come up with at least one big play in this game that could be the difference. I'm not crazy about taking Oklahoma as nearly a 7-point favorite, but I do feel the Sooners win the game and I'll lay the points for the sake of taking a side.

Could be the best game we have all day. With Stoops and Pelini both wanting this one bad, I'm expecting entertainment from sideline to sideline.

Randall Simon's Sausages

How fitting that Nebraska's final game in the Big XII will be against one of its most bitter rivals, Oklahoma. Both teams have injury concerns in Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez and Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray. But, the difference will be the Blackshirt D, who picked off Sooner QB Landry Jones five times last season. Conspiracy theories aside, Nebraska goes out of the conference as champion.

Zach "Blue Horseshoe" Rosenfield, AccuScore.com

Lets be honest here, this weekend's Oklahoma-Nebraska game is nothing more than two old friends being forced to have dinner one more time who have nothing left to talk about and even less in common. Memories of showdowns in the mom n' pop environments of Owen Field and Memorial Stadium have given way for one last awkward reunion in the upscale Starbucks of venues, JerryWorld.

The helmets will be the same, but really the only way for opposing fans to recognize their childhood rival. Nebraska is nothing more than a cheap imitation of the blue-collar grit from my childhood, and the Sooners haven't changed much either; only updating the flash of the wishbone for the glam of the spread. The two will wear the same old outfits, argue over tortilla chips instead of oranges, and write it all off as progress.

In many ways, the final meeting in this storied rivalry presents nothing more than the sad reality that maybe you just outgrow your friends. Nebraska was tired of trying to fit in with the upstart changes of the 21st century. Oklahoma is that cutting-edge conformist that always seems to have the updated gear to cover up petty insecurities.

Johnny Rogers isn't fielding punts Saturday and Brian Bosworth won't be lending run support, either. When I think about Big Red vs. Big Red, I remember Keith Jackson tipped caches, double-reverse passes to crush dreams, Tim Lasher dog piles, Steve Taylor's mouth, Mickey Joseph's lacerated calf, Andre Woolfolk circus catches and the smooth sailing of Patrick Collins down the near sideline.

ABC is sure to bring up those memories while failing to convince me that this game is anything more than the right to play UConn in a half-empty stadium far away from home.

Physics reminds us chips don't fly with the same velocity of oranges, and my head reminds me that we said goodbye to this competitive friendship with Nebraska on a cold Lincoln morning in 2002. Nebraska won't wear "red on red" uniforms Saturday like they did in the '80s, because you don't summon help from the gods to reinvent the past. Sooner Magic will be saved for a time when it is really needed.

Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 10.