(3) Oklahoma vs

(15) Houston

at NRG Stadium, Houston
Sat, Sep 3
9:00 AM Pacific
Odds: Houston PK, Total:

Game Analysis

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Oklahoma (-12)  39   Houston  23

Houston had an amazing season last year, going 13-1 and capped off by a 38-24 bowl win over #9 Florida State. The Cougars have just as many starters returning (11) as last season, including quarterback Greg Ward, and they are still the team to beat in the American Athletic Conference. However, Houston is not going to replicate last year’s magic unless they can go +21 in turnover margin again, which is highly unlikely. I fully expect the Cougars to limit turnovers on offense with Greg Ward throwing accurate balls and mostly safe passes, but 21 interceptions on defense is not going to repeat itself with star CB William Jackson (5 interceptions and 23 other passes defended) now in the NFL – and they wouldn’t be likely to have 21 picks again even if he was back.

Houston was only 0.3 yards per play better than average offensively last season (6.2 yppl against FBS teams that would allow 5.9 yppl to an average team) and the Cougars were average on a compensated yards per play basis on defense (5.5 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average team). So, without the huge turnover differential I just don’t see this team being great. Good? Yes. Great? No.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, should be great again. The Sooners were 1.4 yppl better than average offensively and 1.3 yppl better than average defensively last season and return 13 starters. The offense should be nearly as efficient this season with quarterback Baker Mayfield back along with both star running backs, Perine and Mixon, and a talented offensive line. The absence of top receiver Sterling Shepard will hurt some, as his 11.0 yards per target was considerably better than the rest of the wide receivers last season (they combined for 8.7 yards per target). But, the Sooners will still be nearly as potent offensively.

The Oklahoma defense will probably drop off some without two time All-American LB Eric Striker and 3rd team All-American CB Zack Sanchez, who picked off 7 passes and defended 7 others last season. Other stars will emerge given the high level of talent but my algorithm calls for a 0.4 yppl regression towards the mean defensively for the Sooners D.

Overall my ratings favor Oklahoma by 16 points in this game, with a total of 62 points, so I’ll lean with the Sooners minus the points and the Under (68 points).

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Oklahoma
  • Houston


  • Run Plays 35.0 33.8
  • Run Yards 203.0 130.8
  • YPRP 6.4 4.4


  • Pass Comp 22.5 21.5
  • Pass Att 32.8 35.5
  • Comp % 68.7% 60.6%
  • Pass Yards 293.8 298.5
  • Sacks 3.3 2.3
  • Sack Yards 19.8 17.8
  • Sack % 9.0% 6.0%
  • Pass Plays 36.0 37.8
  • Net Pass Yards 274.0 280.8
  • YPPP 7.6 7.4


  • Total Plays 71.0 71.5
  • Total Yards 496.8 429.3
  • YPPL 7.0 6.0


  • Int 0.5 0.3
  • Int % 1.5% 0.7%
  • Fumbles 1.3 0.5
  • Turnovers 1.8 0.8
  • Points 39.5 35.3
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