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Sun Bowl

Stanford vs Oklahoma

Key Release

12/31/09

Bet Jamaica Line - Oklahoma -10 O/U 54.5

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and his Stanford Cardinals football team have had a year to remember. Not only did the Cardinals have their first winning season since 2001 finishing 8-4 their star RB Toby Gerhart had an amazing season and was the runner-up for the Heisman trophy. In Harbaugh’s first 2 seasons as Head Coach his Cardinals finished 4-8 and 5-7, so not much was expected from this Stanford football team, but they surprised everyone by beating USC, Oregon, and then Notre Dame to close out the year.

As long as Jim Harbaugh is the Head Coach at Stanford this program will continue to have success. A win over a team like Oklahoma will only help this program continue in the right direction, and while this might be a down year for Oklahoma Stanford will have their hands full with the Sooners.

Oklahoma’s year started out about as bad as you could imagine with losing their opening game to BYU and losing their Heisman trophy winning QB Sam Bradford. Bradford was able to make it back for the Red River Rivalry against Texas, but he once again injured his shoulder which knocked him out for the rest of the year. The Sooners failed to win 8 games in a season for the first time since Head Coach Bob Stoops’ first year in 1999, so its safe to say this a year that the Sooner faithful would like to forget about, but a win over a very good Stanford football team would at least help soften the blow for the fans.


PRIMETIME MATCHUP

Stanford RB Toby Gerhart is the key to this whole game. Gerhart has put up some sick numbers this season. He has over 1700 yards rushing on the season including an amazing 26 TDs.

The good thing for the Sooners is their defense has been the strength of this team all season especially their front seven. Oklahoma’s defense is ranked 2nd in the Big 12 in scoring defense allowing just 14 points per game and is ranked 3rd in the Big 12 in rush defense allowing just 89 yards per game. Their front seven is going to have to be at their best because Gerhart is most effective when he can wear a defense down, and that’s when he really hurts you, but if the Sooners can get penetration with their front seven and at least slow down Gerhart they should be able to force Stanford into bad situations and get some turnovers.


THE FINAL VERDICT

This is going to be a great matchup between Stanford’s offense led by RB Toby Gerhart and Oklahoma’s defense led by their front seven. I don’t think you can completely stop Gerhart and his 145 yards per game, but you can at least slow him down. In two of the Cardinals losses Gerhart was held to under 100 yards, and if the Sooners are going to get the win that’s what they will need to do.

Stanford QB Andrew Luck will not start today. He had pins removed from a broken index finger this week. The latest news reports state that he "could" play today. His availability is obviously HUGE from a betting perspective. However we like Stanford today, whether he plays or not. Often times there is a huge overreaction to the QB position. If Luck can't go, Senior Tavita Pritchard will get the nod.

Oklahoma is the better team here. But we like the motivational dynamics in this one. Once again, the team more likely to be thrilled to be here is Stanford. For them, to be playing Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl, is exceeding ecpectations while Oklahoma has hopes of much more. This would be a monumental win for Stanford and Jim Harbaugh and it's not as if they can't play at this level. They have beaten some damn good teams this year and more importantly were not soundly  beaten once.

You'd have to conclude that if BYU, Miami and Kansas State can play with Oklahoma, so too can Stanford. 3* Stanford +10 over Oklahoma
 

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