1. The Lincoln Riley era seems to be off to a pretty good start. Is the early success and indicator of his coaching ability, or would you say it's too early to tell given the experience and talent that was already in place at Oklahoma?
Lincoln Riley's coaching ability was on full display in Columbus last month. Along with Baker Mayfield's greatness, Riley's ability as a play caller was what enabled OU to come away with a victory up there. Another example of his savvy can be seen late in that Baylor game. Riley could have easily let Baker Mayfield throw it all over the field and simply try to outscore Baylor in the second half, but he wisely decided to feed Trey Sermon, chew clock and keep his defense off the field. It ended up becoming a shootout in the closing moments anyway, but that decision kept it from becoming OU-Texas Tech 2016.
2. Texas brought a high pressure defensive scheme which consistently disrupted the Cyclones' passing game. Do you expect OU to do the same?
I certainly hope so. Mike Stoops often chose to rush three guys down the stretch at Baylor, which meant Zach Smith had all day to throw on many occasions. A lot of people will be disappointed if we see too much of that on Saturday.
3. David Montgomery will most surely be more of a factor in the game than he was in the Texas game. How do you expect the Sooners to counter his ability to get yardage to the outside, even on broken plays?
OU benefits from having a pair of outside linebackers (Caleb Kelly and Emmanuel Beal) who cover the field very well. If those two -- along with MIKE linebacker Kenneth Murray -- cover their assignments, OU should be okay in that area. This defense hasn't given up many big plays in the running game this season with the exception of some early lapses against Tulane's option attack. So I think Montgomery and Warren can have a little bit of success, but I definitely don't expect them to run all over this OU defense.
4. Name someone on each side of the ball that Cyclone fans may not be familiar with that could have a significant impact on the game.
On offense, I'm going with wide receiver and former Kentucky Wildcat Jeff Badet. Of all of Baker Mayfield's targets, he's probably the most electric of the bunch. Look for OU to make an effort to get him the ball in space, and don't be surprised to see him do something notable on special teams. On defense, defensive lineman Neville Gallimore is someone to watch. He played a decent amount in 2016, but his upside is really starting to show early this season.
5. Do you think Baker Mayfield has embraced the "diva" label he's been given by a lot of the national media?
Yeah, kind of. He gave that "apology" for planting the flag following the Ohio State game, but he hasn't held back whatsoever since then. I'm not sure "diva" is necessarily the label that fits here (even though I'm sure many see him that way), but he's basically telling the haters to shove it at this point.
6. What are some weaknesses that Iowa State will need to exploit to have chance at pulling off the upset?
I think Iowa State could potentially exploit OU's youth at the MIKE LB position. True freshman Kenneth Murray has been mostly successful there thus far, but he's sometimes struggled early in games with filling his gaps. I'm confident that he'll do well, but perhaps there will be a window of opportunity in the run game early on.
Also, OU has had trouble applying pressure at times this season, so Jacob Park needs to take advantage if given enough time to throw. Luckily for Oklahoma, the Sooners return multiple defensive backs from injury this week. Therefore, I'm not quite as concerned about the secondary as I was during the 4th quarter of the Baylor game.
7. Prediction Time:
Iowa State's defense definitely isn't bad, but I don't see them being able to slow OU's offense -- at least not consistently. I think OU wins 45-20