Two games into his career and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley hasn’t lost.
Riley, who won the summer with a combination of recruiting, humility and personality, went into August undefeated and with the full support of everyone who’s ever been an Oklahoma fan, regardless of resume that would have been questioned if he was at Texas or basically anywhere else.
Yet, here we are. Riley has been perfect – on and off the field. A master at Twitter. Masterful against Ohio State.
But can Riley gain any more ground this week? (1). Uhh, no.
There’s one prediction for Oklahoma this week when the No. 2-ranked Sooners take on Tulane, and here are 18 more, plus a bonus prediction on Oklahoma State’s game against Pitt.
No one’s talking Tulane. No one. More time has been spent (2) and will be spent talking about Baker Mayfied, the flag-planting, the Ohio State victory and your underwhelming hummus at the weekly tailgate. It’s OK, Tulane isn’t particularly newsworthy. No one is issuing any blame. It’s fine.
And Mayfield will be just fine, too. (3) He’ll have a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter and (4) you won’t see him on the field in the second half. (5) You might just wonder if playing only a half will affect his Heisman chances before you realize (6), stats against Tulane can neither help or hurt a player. It’s Tulane.
You will be talking about:
(7) CeeDee Lamb’s ability and his (8) 100-plus receiving yards.
(9) The fact Mark Andrews is healthy enough to play, but won’t, after that first-half injury against Ohio State.
Meanwhile, Tulane leads the AAC in total defense and also averages 243 yards per game rushing. But junior quarterback Jonathan Banks is out with an injury. Banks had four touchdowns, 185 yards passing and 69 yards rushing against Grambling. The Green Wave ran for 191 yards last week in a loss to Navy and have rushed for more than 100 yards in 17 games in a row. (10) Tulane will get to 100 yards rushing against the Sooners, but that (11) won’t happen until the fourth quarter. As far as the defense, which is giving up less than 300 yards per game? Well, (12) OU gets to 300 total yards by halftime.
Which is when (13) Kyler Murray will come in for Mayfield. Murray (14) won’t run any trick plays but will (15) throw and run for a touchdown in the second half.
The second-ranked Sooners won’t win any public relations points this week, even if they score 50-plus points on the field. That’s OK, though. They got enough from their win last week against Ohio State. Not even the Big 12 Conference’s lack of sharp teeth matter now for Oklahoma.
And Tulane certainly won’t matter much either. (16) OU won’t cover the 35-point spread against the Green Wave because Riley has already gained enough. (17) Sooners get to 35 points by halftime, though and (18) hold Tulane to less than a touchdown before the break, too. Figure it for a 44-14 Oklahoma win.
And here’s a bit of a bonus pick for you: Oklahoma State has been a two-touchdown favorite all week for its game against Pitt. The line slipped to 11.5 by Saturday morning. (19) It’s plenty. Pitt shows up for this one. (20) Oklahoma State wins, but it’s a fourth-quarter kind of game. Cowboys, 30-28.
Last week: 9-11. Check my math and my picks against Ohio State here