Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds
Spread: Oklahoma -20
Game Time: Saturday, October 30, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: ABC
Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech Prediction
Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech - Out of the Tunnel
They’re unbeaten, yet no one believes they’re among the best four teams in college football. They’re ranked No.4 in the nation, but don’t come close to passing the eye test.
They’ve benched their preseason All-American quarterback, and replaced him with a true freshman.
They’ve had to come from behind in two of the last three games against Texas and – are you ready for this? – Kansas. Yes, Kansas.
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Oklahoma Sooners. Believe in them at your own risk.
All those years rolling through the Big 12 and lighting up scoreboards, rout after rout, has been reduced this season to an average winning margin of 8.7 points in games against FBS opponents.
Every game is an adventure, every week the great unknown.
Until this week. For the first time this season against a team not named Western Carolina, it looks like Oklahoma might have a breather.
Texas Tech fired coach Matt Wells on Monday despite a 5-3 start to the season, and the Red Raiders will ride into Norman, Okla., with a new coach and a load of uncertainty.
Sonny Cumbie, a former star quarterback at Texas Tech and current offensive coordinator, is the interim coach. He’ll coach the last four games (or five, if the Red Raiders qualify for the postseason), a stretch that includes games at Oklahoma and Baylor, and home games against Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
The combined Big 12 record of those four teams: 14-3.
The top candidate to replace Wells is SMU coach Sonny Dykes, whose father, Spike, was the second-winningest coach at Texas Tech behind Mike Leach.
When Texas Tech has the ball
The season began to go downhill when starting quarterback and Oregon transfer Tyler Shough broke his collarbone early in the teams’ first loss of the season against Texas.
Until then, Shough had led a resurgence in the offense, running Cumbie’s variation of the Air Raid offense – a similar offense used by Leach with so much success in Lubbock. Shough had 6 TDs and was completing 70 percent of his passes before he went down.
Since the injury, Texas Tech has averaged 29 points a game and the passing game has been hit and miss under backup QB Henry Colombi (4 TD, 4 INT).
Leach sees the run game as a necessary evil to prevent defenses from dropping eight in coverage. Cumbie sees it as a weapon, rushing more times than throwing this season (277-237).
Tech likes to run TBs Sarodorick Thompson (361 yards, 8 TD), Tahj Brooks (317 yards, 4 TD) and Xavier White (238 yards, 2 TDs) from the spread, stretching the field with zone runs and forcing defenses to case in space.
Despite having problems in pass defense much of the season, Oklahoma has been stout against the run. The Sooners are 21st in the nation against the run (111.75 yards per game), a strong interior front forcing teams to throw to score.
The Sooners will overload the box and force Colombi to make plays in the passing game, and Tech must win individual battles on the outside with WRs Erik Ezukanma and Kaylon Geiger.
When Oklahoma has the ball
This was supposed to be QB Spencer Rattler’s breakout season, a move toward the top of college football and a potential No.1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Now he’s watching freshman Caleb Williams run the offense and win games, and move Oklahoma closer toward another appearance in the College Football Playoff. An appearance that seemed unlikely while trailing by 18 to Texas before Sooners coach Lincoln Riley did the unthinkable: inserted Williams and changed his wildly successful offense.
Riley went from spreading the field and throwing the ball with Rattler, to running the ball with zone-read principles with Williams. That’s doesn’t mean Williams is a liability in the passing game – he’s completing 70 percent of his passes and has a TD/INT ratio of 8/1.
More revealing: he throws a more accurate, catchable deep ball than Rattler and the Sooners are averaging more yards per attempt with Williams.
Williams’ presence in the run game (285 yards, 11.0 ypc., 4 TD) has prevented defenses from focusing on TBs Kennedy Brooks (767 yards, 9TD) and Eric Gray (298 yards, 1 TD), both of whom struggled early in the season when the Oklahoma offensive line was still developing. The line is playing better, and Brooks has rushed for 449 yards and 5 TDs in the three games Williams has played.
Brooks isn’t the only player who has benefited from Williams’ emergence. Sophomore WR Jason Haselwood has 12 catches and 4 TDs since Williams took over as the starting quarterback.
Texas Tech is 99th in the nation in scoring defense (30.6 ppg.), and that number looks better because of non-conference wins vs. Group of 5 schools (Houston, FIU) and FCS Stephen F. Austin. The run defense has been shaky all season and is giving up a whopping 210 yards per game in Big 12 games.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech - The bottom line
This is a big ask of Cumbie, who must stabilize a program rocked by the loss of a coach who won five of his first eight games in 2021. It’s not just a reflection on Wells, it’s on the players, too, who had a fourth-quarter lead last week against Kansas State and lost by 1 – in what could’ve been their sixth win of the season.
Oklahoma has been wildly inconsistent and must prove to voters – and the College Football Playoff selection committee – that they’ve turned the corner with Williams leading the way. This is another opportunity.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech Pick
Prediction: Oklahoma, 37-21
Pick: Texas Tech +20