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FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts throws during an NCAA college football practice in Norman, Okla. Houston plays at Oklahoma on Sunday, Sept. 1. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts throws during an NCAA college football practice in Norman, Okla. Houston plays at Oklahoma on Sunday, Sept. 1. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)|Associated Press
NCAAF

Free Big 12 Pick: Eckel expects a shootout as the Oklahoma Sooners, with Jalen Hurts, host the Houston Cougars and new coach Dana Holgorsen

Game time is 7:30 pm EDT

Mark Eckel

Houston at #4 Oklahoma (-23), 7:30 p.m., ABC

New Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen certainly knows Oklahoma. He just doesn’t know how to beat the Sooners.

Holgorsen, as head coach of West Virginia, faced Oklahoma seven times in Big 12 battles and went 0-7.

Now in his debut with the Cougars, who does Holgorsen open with in a non-conference game? The Sooners.

Tonight’s nationally-televised matchup features two highly-touted quarterbacks in two high-powered offenses.

Oklahoma, after having the past two Heisman Trophy winners and past two No. 1 overall picks, in Baker Mayfield and Kyle Murray, turns to Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts under center.

Hurts, you might recall, was pretty good before Tua Tagovailoa rolled into town for The Tide.

Houston has D’Eriq King, who threw for 36 touchdowns and ran for 14 touchdowns a year ago and is now under Holgorsen who has always gotten the most out of his quarterbacks.

Expect this game to be an old-fashioned Big 12-style shootout. In the seven previous games a Holgorsen team has faced Oklahoma, the Sooners scored at least 44 points six times and at least 50 points four times. The last three years the Sooners scored 56 against Holgorsen’s defense.

Expect more of the same Sunday night, and also look for Houston’s offense to answer with some points against an always-questionable Oklahoma defense.

While we’re leaning a little toward the Sooners, as our AAC counterpart Ben Geier did, the bet here is the total.

The Pick: Over 80 (yes, 80 and it’s that high for a reason).

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