December 1, 2007

Big 12 Matchups: Granger vs. Spieker

Throughout the week, and will break down every angle of this weekend's Big 12 Championship game. In this feature, we will take a look at five key individual matchups which could go a long way toward crowning the winner. In today's matchup, we examine Tiger center Adam Spieker and Oklahoma defensive tackle Demarcus Granger.

Adam Spieker
Demarcus Granger


The first time around, there is not a single doubt I'd have gone with Oklahoma in this one. I thought the Missouri offensive line was okay, but nothing special. I also thought they played a little intimidated in Norman. That won't happen this time around, I don't think. The Tigers have gotten better along the offensive front and have really run the ball well for the last three or four games. Spieker has been a huge part of that. He was voted all-conference and tabbed him as third-team all-American. His leadership on the line and that unit's improvement as a whole is one of the biggest reasons the Tigers find themselves in this position headed into the game. With all that said, OU's defensive duo inside is by far the best Missouri has seen. Spieker did a very good job against James McClinton from Kansas, who I might have tabbed as the league's defensive player of the year. He's going to have to be just as good--if not better--against Granger.

This one is the match-up of the game for me. If Oklahoma can't slow down Missouri on the ground than the rest is a foregone conclusion in my opinion. Chase Daniel is going to have some success throwing the ball Oklahoma's pass defense has too much of a track record to anticipate them stopping a quarterback who has put up his lofty numbers. With that in mind it's hard to ignore that Granger has been mentioned as the best nose tackle in the Bob Stoops era, and seems to only be improving game by game. That being said Spieker was voted by the Big 12 coaches as the conference's top offensive lineman and is the most formidable opponent Granger will have faced. In the first game I felt this one was something of a stalemate with Granger being stymied in the passing game but helping to hold the Tiger ground game to 57 yards rushing.

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