On Saturday, No. 5 Oklahoma State will square off against No. 9 Baylor for what is probably the most impactful game of Mike Gundy’s 17-year tenure. There’s more than just a Big 12 Championship on the line.
The last time the Cowboys (11-2) and Bears (10-2) faced off, it was for little more than pride as each team tried to remain unbeaten in early October. This time around the stakes are much higher.
The Cowboys will be trying to earn their second Big 12 title and first since 2011 while the Bears go for their third after winning back-to-back conference crowns in 2013 and 2014. Both teams can keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive with a win, but the Cowboys have the clearer path to the Final Four with just one loss on the season and after landing at No. 5 in the committee’s penultimate ranking.
Here’s how we see things shaking out in Arlington.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Baylor 14
Thoughts: The only thing that I think could stop OSU is the emotional drain that took place last weekend. Baylor is stuck, in my opinion, between two wrong decisions at QB. If the Bears play Gerry Bohanon, he might not be as elusive with the hamstring injury. If they go with Blake Shapen, Jim Knowles will likely turn him into Chandler Morris or Donovan Smith. Plus, Spencer Sanders threw three picks in these teams’ regular season meeting, and the Cowboys won by 10. It’s just hard to see this going any other way.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 35, Baylor 21
Thoughts: If you can’t get fired up for this game you don’t love college football. The Big 12’s two best teams butter their bread with their defense and their balance on offense. That being said, if the Cowboys can get things going on the ground early with Jaylen Warren and Spencer Sanders, it could be a long game for the Bears. Baylor’s got a stout defense but, especially with the injuries at QB, the Bears aren’t build to come from behind.
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