Game of the Week: Storied rivalry renewed in Big 12 title game
The Big 12 Championship Game will not have an impact on the national title picture this year, something it has had eight times during the game's 14-year history. But there are still some juicy storylines, including the renewal of a storied rivalry that will truly be going into hibernation starting next season. Oklahoma and Nebraska are two of the sport's great programs, so it's fitting that they will battle for a championship in the last year they share a conference. The ghosts of Switzer and Osborne, Pruitt and Rodgers, Sims and Rozier will be in the background at new Cowboys Stadium while the current generation bids farewell and battles for a berth to the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma enters the game as a four-point favorite. Nebraska is 12-5 against the spread under Pelini away from home. Oklahoma is 6-1 against the spread in Big 12 championship games with an average margin of victory of 28 points in its six wins. Oklahoma has also covered in six of its last eight meetings with Nebraska. Slight betting lean toward Oklahoma.
From 1963 to 1988, either Nebraska or Oklahoma won or shared the Big Eight title.
Nebraska and Oklahoma have faced off the last two years, with Oklahoma winning a 62-28 shootout in 2008 and Nebraska winning a 10-3 slugfest in 2009. Sooners coach Bob Stoops is 6-1 in Big 12 championship games, and he should be able to improve to 7-1 if his defense can stop the Nebraska running game. Oklahoma will be held below its average of 37.5 points per game, but it will still be able to score enough to outpoint a Nebraska offense that has a banged up quarterback and is missing its top receiver.
(Note: This column is bowl eligible, but not BCS worthy, having gone 8-5 in the predictions department.)