Though both teams won last week, West Virginia and Oklahoma should enter Saturday's matchup feeling very, very anxious.
The Mountaineers barely snuck by William & Mary, 24-17, and trailed at the half, too. Despite a solid yardage total of 409, they looked very lost at times, and went only two of 10 on third down. Some of these struggles are understandable -- West Virginia was replacing its top running back, its top two wide receivers, and its quarterback -- but will obviously need to be corrected if the Mountaineers are to compete in the Big 12 this season.
While Oklahoma looked good on paper in its 34-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe, new quarterback Trevor Knight was inconsistent, going 11-of-28 for 86 yards in the opener. His highly touted mobility was on full display though, as he rushed for 103 yards against the Warhawks. Still, there is no question that Knight will have to develop further as a passer if the Sooners hope to win a fairly open Big 12.
Rankings and records: Saturday's game marks the beginning of conference play for both teams, who have played five times. Oklahoma leads the series 3-2, and won last season in Morgantown. West Virginia will have their shots, though -- they'll play much more often now that the Mountaineers have joined the Big 12.
Three names to know
Paul Millard (West Virginia quarterback): Florida State transfer Clint Trickett led the offense absolutely nowhere while he was on the field Saturday. The job appears safely and firmly in the hands of Millard, who looked fairly effective last week, going a coolly efficient 19-of-25 for 237 yards.
Corey Nelson and Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma):The former is a senior linebacker, who led the way last week with eight tackles (2 for loss), and a sack. He'll hold down that unit with his tremendous speed and athleticism. Senior cornerback Colvin made All-Big 12 first team last year, and will anchor a very young and inexperienced secondary -- he led the team in passes defensed last year, and added another last week.
Charles Sims (West Virginia running back): The transfer had a strong debut against William & Mary with 120 yards and a touchdown. Can he do it again against a better Sooners team?
Two things at stake
For West Virginia, this Big 12 matchup is huge -- not only because all conference games are, but because it now has something to prove, after needing to come from behind to beat an FCS team. That kind of performance won't fly against better opponents, and certainly not No. 16 Oklahoma. By giving up only 17 points, the defense already looks to be improved a bit over last season's awful play, but needs to continue to do so. A better performance in the run game would also help -- all running backs not named Charles Sims struggled last week as the Mountaineers only rushed for 3.9 yards per carry. The bad news is that they'll face better competition, too -- Oklahoma's front seven was outstanding last week, giving up only 38 yards rushing to Louisiana-Monroe.
The Big 12 doesn't have a definitive favorite just yet, so getting a win here will be crucial for Sooners, who have been pegged as contenders in the conference, despite all their question marks behind center and in the secondary. They'll be looking to snag a ninth Big 12 title for Bob Stoops, who also coached his 150th career game last weekend.
How to witness
TV: 7:00 ET on FOX.