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Posted Nov 6, 2013
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Week 11 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Oklahoma at Baylor
Oklahoma (7-1) at Baylor (7-0) Nov. 7, 7:30, FOX Sports 1
Why You Should Give A Hoot: There’s a reason why it was such a huge, gigantic, Heisman-clinching deal with Robert Griffin III came up with the game-winning plays late in Baylor’s 45-38 win over Oklahoma two years ago – it was the only Bear win in the series.
Just four hours apart, it seems like Baylor and Oklahoma should have a long-standing rivalry that dates back into the late 1800s, but they’ve only met 21 times starting in 1973. Now, not only does Baylor come in with a big chance to win; it’s expected to come up with a blowout.
It has been a fun ride so far on the way to a 7-0 start, putting up massive numbers and plenty of highlight-reel plays, but it really matters now. Buffalo will end up in a bowl game, and ULM and Kansas State will probably end up in the post-season, but it’s not like Baylor has extended itself. With Oklahoma this week, Texas Tech up next and Oklahoma State to follow – they’re the three BCS-ranked teams on the schedule. That doesn’t count Texas or a date at TCU, meaning that if the Bears are going to get to the Fiesta Bowl, they’re going to have to earn it.
Oklahoma is still in the hunt for the Big 12 title after coming up with back-to-back wins over Kansas and Texas Tech following the stunning loss to Texas. The offense hasn’t been consistent and the defense is shaky, but last week’s win over the Red Raiders might have been the spark. The Sooners were challenged and pushed, and they came up with the big plays when needed. This might not be the smoothest of rides so far, but if they can end the BU dream, 8-1 should turn into 10-1 with Iowa State and Kansas State up next. Win those two, and the Oklahoma State showdown could be for a BCS appearance.
Why Oklahoma Might Win: Can the Sooners generate any pressure into the backfield? Baylor’s offense gets way too much time to operate, and while the offensive front has had a lot to do with that, it’s not like it play a slew of dangerous pass rushing teams. OU doesn’t fly into the backfield from all angles, but it picked up the intensity over the last few weeks with three or more sacks in three of the last four games, the lone aberration coming against Texas.
Last week, Texas Tech’s passing offense worked, but when OU really needed to make something happen, it did. On the other side of the ball, only Kansas State got physical on Baylor, and the running game came up with 327 rushing yards and three scores. Oklahoma is going to power it and power it some more.
Why Baylor Might Win: Does Oklahoma have the scoring ability to keep up the pace if needed? The passing game has had its moments, and it showed some pop against Texas Tech, but this isn’t a high-octane offense that bombs away. To put the OU air attack into perspective, it has only averaged more than eight yards per attempt in two games – wins over Tulsa and Texas Tech. Baylor’s deep passing attack has yet to average fewer than 10.8 yards per shot in any one game.
No one has pushed the ball deep on OU on a regular basis, but few have tried. Almost everyone has tried to dink and dunk more than take deep shots, and if the Baylor line can hold up and give quarterback Bryce Petty time, the big plays should be there. Texas Tech gave a glimpse of what a receiving corps can do against the Sooner D, and now the Bears should get things rolling,, especially if the O gets a big day from …
Who To Watch Out For: Lache Seastrunk, who has rushed for 100 yards more in 11 of the last 13 games. Over the span, he has rushed for exactly 1,700 yards with 17 touchdowns. One of the two games under 100 came this season against Kansas State, and the other was against Oklahoma last year. However, he ran for three scores and averaged over six yards per carry against the Sooners.
- Oklahoma hadn’t gotten too much out of receiver Jalen Saunders, scoring twice in the opener against ULM and scoring just once up until last week. He has been decent on short-to-midrange passes, but last week he took off with his first 100-yard game of the season catching six balls for 153 yards and two scores. While he doesn’t have to be the best receiver in the game, he has to be close.
- It’s not like the offense has dipped on the road, but oddly enough, Baylor went under 60 points in the two games away from Waco, scoring 35 against Kansas State and 59 against Kansas. Most teams would kill to put that many points on the board, but Baylor has scored 70 points or more in four of the five home games, taking its foot off the gas in a 69-3 win over Wofford in the opener.
- Oklahoma’s record-setting offense of 2008 finished the 12-game regular season averaging 53.3 points and 556 yards per game. This year, so far, Baylor is averaging 63.9 points and 717 yards per outing.
What Will Happen: Is Baylor for real? Does this offense really and truly work against the better defenses? Absolutely, but it’s going to have a hard time getting going in the second half against an Oklahoma secondary that will keep everything up front. There might not be a great pass rush on Bryce Petty, but he won’t get the time to let the deep plays develop. Meanwhile, OU will play ball control with a balanced attack and good, strong ground attack.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38 … Baylor 34
Line: Baylor -14.5 o/u: 72.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 5
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