When the season started, a bowl matchup between the Oregon Ducks and the Oklahoma Sooners would have made one heck of a national semifinal. However, late-season losses took both teams out of national championship contention.
The two teams put on quite a show in the last meeting, a 34-33 Oregon win back in 2006.
There will be a Thibodeaux taking part in the bowl game, but it won’t be Oregon’s All-American defensive end Kayvon. He’s opting out of the game, however Calvin Thibodeaux is one of three assistant coaches returning to help Oklahoma prepare for the bowl game. Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops returns for one last game..
Oregon suffered two losses to Utah, but the Ducks did top their expected win total of nine coming into the season. Oklahoma finished under its expected regular-season win total of 11.
- Game: Oregon (10-3) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
- Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
- Day/Time: Wednesday, December 29, 9:15 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
|Oregon||+4½ (-110)||+170||61 (-110o)|
|Oklahoma||-4½ (-110)||-200||61 (-110u)|
Young Oregon defenders get a chance to shine
There are defenses across the country full of upperclassmen making tackles, recording sacks and picking off passes. The Oregon Ducks, however, built their defense around talented freshman and sophomore classes.
Sophomore defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux receives much of the attention, understandably so since he could very well be the first player selected in the 2022 NFL draft. However, rather than risk injury and put his very promising professional future at risk, Thibodeaux won’t be playing in the Alamo Bowl. His absence will shine the spotlight on some of Oregon’s other young defenders.
Leading the way is redshirt freshman linebacker Noah Sewell. He not only played immediately at Oregon in 2020 but was the only true freshman from a Power-5 Conference team to lead that team in tackles. This past season, he again led with 106 tackles, along with 8½ tackles for loss and four sacks.
Heading into the bowl game, two dozen Oregon players had more than 10 tackles, with 11 of those players either true or redshirt freshmen.
Passing-game coordinator Bryan McLendon is serving as the interim head coach for this game, with Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning taking over next season,
The college football odds total has gone under in four of Oregon’s last five games against Big-12 opponents as well as four of the last five games the Ducks played in December.
Safety Steve Stephens is questionable. Running backs Sean Dollars and CJ Verdell, linebackers Jonathan Flowe and Dru Mathis, tight ends Patrick Herbert and Cam McCormick, receivers Johnny Johnson and Jaylon Redd, offensive linemen Bram Walden and Ryan Walk are out. Cornerback Mykael Wright and defensive end Thibodeaux have opted out of the game after declaring for the NFL draft.
Three Players to Watch
Junior running back Travis Dye has rushed for 1118 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also has 41 receptions for 374 receiving yards. Senior quarterback Anthony Brown has thrown for 2683 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. He is second on the Ducks with 637 rushing yards (nine TD’s).. Aforementioned Sewell has 106 tackles to lead Oregon.
Familiar face back on the Sooner sidelines
Stoops is back on the sidelines, once again coaching the Oklahoma Sooners.
He went 190-48 in 18 seasons as the OU head coach from 1999-2016 while never having a losing season. He guided the Sooners to 11 conference championships and the 2000 national title.
It didn’t look like Stoops would return to coaching, but when Lincoln Riley bolted Norman to take the job at Southern California, Stoops stepped in for this encounter at the Alamo.
Stoops said he is counting on the assistant coaches and team leaders to have the Sooners emotionally invested in the game, even if it wasn’t one of the bowl games that Oklahoma was shooting for when the season began.
Oklahoma failed to reach the Big-12 title game in Riley’s final season. A 9-0 start had SEC-bound (in 2025) Oklahoma in a position to play in the College Football Playoff, but losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State ended that.
Former assistant coach Brent Venables, who comes back after a successful run as the defensive coordinator at Clemson, takes over the program.
Oklahoma is 6-1 in its last seven games against Pac-12 opponents.
NIne of the Sooners’ last 11 games have gone under the college football picks total in the month of December.
Receiver Drake Stoops and Theo Wease are questionable. Defensive back Kendall Dennis, receiver Cody Jackson and defensive end Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge are out.
Three Players to Watch
Freshman quarterback Caleb Williams threw for 1670 yards with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 401 yards and six touchdowns. Junior running back Kennedy Brooks has rushed for a symmetrical 1111 yards. Junior linebacker Brian Asamoah leads Oklahoma with 56 solo tackles and 86 total stops. He has four of Oklahoma’s 91 tackles for loss.
Betting on the game
Oklahoma is tied for 10th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 38.4 points per game. Williams was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate for several weeks, despite not beginning the season as a starter.
Oklahoma is 4-2 in its last six games against the spread when listed as a favorite by the Las Vegas odds. Oklahoma has won 18 of its last 20 games.
Oregon is only 6-12 in its last 18 games against the spread.
The Sooners are tied for seventh in Division I in turnover margin.
Oregon’s 35 rushing touchdowns are tied for seventh nationally.