Tramel college footbal predictions: Can Mike Yurcich keep scoring on the Sooners?
The last two times Mike Yurcich coordinated offenses against OU, his teams scored 52 and 47 points.
And lost both games.
Yurcich was Mike Gundy’s stealth pick to become the OSU offensive coordinator in 2013, and Yurcich spent six seasons churning out high-achieving offenses. From Clint Chelf to Mason Rudolph to Taylor Cornelius, the Cowboys scored at a great clip.
Then Ohio State hired away Yurcich for the 2019 season, and Texas did the same for 2020. Yurcich is Tom Herman’s coordinator at UT.
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“We've got a chance to obviously compete against Mike several years and … he’s a really, really good coach,” Lincoln Riley said. “He's always able to produce some really good offenses there at Oklahoma State, develop some really good players and here early into his time here at Texas has done a good job with this group.”
Texas beat Texas Tech 63-56 in overtime, then lost to TCU 33-31.
Yurcich went 1-5 in Bedlam games, winning 38-35 in overtime courtesy of Tyreek Hill’s famous 2014 punt return. In 2017, OU won 62-52. In 2018, OU won 48-47.
Riley said there are similarities between Yurcich’s OSU offense and his Texas offense, as well as Texas’ offense from a year ago and what the ‘Horns are doing now with quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
But the most noticeable link from Yurcich in Stillwater and Yurcich in Austin is tempo. His Cowboys played fast. These Longhorns are playing fast.
“They use tempo very well, and obviously Coach Herman is a tremendous offensive coach as well, so I think you see a real good marriage between the two approaches,” OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said. “But just put a lot of stress on you defensively, the ability off the run game to have run-pass options, which makes it very, very difficult.
“We use the phrase defensively ‘kinda zeroes you out.’ You can’t have an extra in the pass game and have an extra guy in the run game, so you’re constantly doing that math in your head to try to put yourself in the best situation to be successful. So, that’s something they do a great job of, but also the ability to stretch you and throw the ball down field.”
Let’s get to the predictions.
Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas: Sooners 41-40. I always pick whoever won the year before in OU-Texas. But this selection comes with no guarantee. The average score of the five most recent OU-Texas games is Sooners 39, Longhorns 33. Not as high-scoring as you might have thought, but still.
Kansas State at TCU: Horned Frogs 32-24. If K-State wins here, it’s time to get serious about the Wildcats as potential Big 12 champions.
Texas Tech at Iowa State: Cyclones 38-23. It’s already time to get serious about Iowa State as a potential Big 12 champion.
Florida at Texas A&M: Aggies 24-23. A&M has been underwhelming, but something tells me the Gators are a tad overrated.
Tennessee at Georgia: Bulldogs 38-14. Part of a brutal Georgia schedule. Auburn last week. The Volunteers this week. Alabama next week. Kentucky is a breather, but after that is Florida.
Alabama at Ole Miss: Crimson Tide 55-14. I know no one but me and people down in Dixie remembers this, but time was, this was a fabulous Old South rivalry. Johnny Vaught/Archie Manning days.
Arkansas at Auburn: Tigers 31-10. Give Sam Pittman a ton of credit. The new Razorback coach has the Hogs playing well. Stuck with Georgia, then beat Mississippi State.
Mississippi State at Kentucky: Wildcats 27-24. Stoops vs. Leach. We’ve seen it before. Mike Leach beat Bob Stoops three times during Texas Tech days, but Kentucky and Mark Stoops are desperate after an 0-2 start.
LSU at Missouri: Bayou Bengals 38-28. This is the first trip to Columbia, Missouri, ever for Louisiana State football. Mizzou began SEC play in 2012. And it took a pandemic AND a hurricane to get the Bayou Bengals to Missouri. They weren’t scheduled to play this season, and with the coronavirus-induced rescheduling, this game was supposed to be in Baton Rouge. Then Hurricane Delta forced a change.
South Carolina at Vanderbilt: Gamecocks 30-10. The Commodores made news this week by being rated, by Pro Football Focus, the nation’s worst tackling team. But Vandy is atrocious offensively.
Miami at Clemson: Tigers 51-31. The game of the day. But will it be a good one? Miami’s resounding success has been built on the back of woebegone Florida State, plus Louisville.
Florida State at Notre Dame: Fighting Irish 38-7. This sounds like a great game, but the Seminoles are a mess. They would finish above only Kansas in the Big 12 and might not finish above anybody in the ACC.
Pittsburgh at Boston College: Eagles 20-17. If you can distinguish between these middle-pack ACC teams, you’re a better prognosticator than me.
North Carolina State at Virginia: Cavaliers 28-21. Not enough credit goes to George Welsh for lifting UVA football to credibility. Al Groh and now Bronco Mendenhall have kept the Cavs competitive.
Virginia Tech at North Carolina: Tar Heels 31-20. Wouldn’t it be fun if Mack Brown really has turned around UNC? What a story.
Louisville at Georgia Tech: Cardinals 41-17. Remember when we got all fired up about the Yellow Jackets beating Florida State? We didn’t know Florida State stunk so bad.
Duke at Syracuse: Orange 33-21. Call me when it’s basketball season.
Tulane at Houston: Cougars 47-22. Finally, Dana Holgorsen’s UofH gets to start its season. We’re pretty sure. There’s still a few hours to kick off.
East Carolina at South Florida: Bulls 25-17. Both schools have had some serious success in the past, but neither is anywhere close to that now.
Temple at Navy: Owls 24-19. For all the talk about Houston’s scheduling problems, Temple hasn’t started either. Until this one.
Texas-San Antonio at Brigham Young: Cougars 52-10. BYU needs some better games. I wish the Big 12 had worked out a scheduling agreement with the Cougars.
The Citadel at Army: Black Knights 48-10. The Cadets played Virginia Military Institute last season, so might as well play The Citadel this season.
Charlotte at North Texas: Mean Green 28-24. What are these two schools doing in the same conference? I mean, really?
Marshall at Western Kentucky: Thundering Herd 44-17. Marshall is 2-0 and, with a win over Appalachian State, could be headed for a quality season.
Florida Atlantic at Southern Mississippi: Golden Eagles 27-26. Southern Miss is 1-2 since firing coach Jay Hopson.
Texas-El Paso at Louisiana Tech: Bulldogs 39-24. In the vast expanse of Conference USA, UTEP and Louisiana Tech are neighbors, from border states. It’s 888 miles from El Paso to Ruston, Louisiana.
Middle Tennessee at Florida International: Panthers 28-27. Oklahoman Butch Davis still coaches FIU. He’s not doing a bad job; 0-1 this season but 23-17 overall.
Texas State at Troy: Trojans 35-33. Almost every Texas State game is interesting and close. You could do worse than following Jake Spavital’s Bobcats.
Louisiana-Monroe at Liberty: Flames 38-10. Hugh Freeze’s Liberty squad is 3-0 this season.
Central Arkansas at Arkansas State: Red Wolves 35-20. The team that beat Kansas State lost at Coastal Carolina 52-23 last week but still should handle the Division I-AA Bears.
Last week: 21-10. Season: 83-27.