TV Schedule: Saturday November 14, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Stadium: McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
Line: Baylor (-2.5)
The Oklahoma Sooners (8-1) roll into Waco to battle the Baylor Bears (8-0) in this ultra important Big 12 game. Baylor still has a legitimate chance to reach the playoff if they run the table undefeated. Meanwhile, Oklahoma may have a case if they finish the year with just the one out of conference loss and run the table in conference play. Count this game as a de facto elimination tilt.
Although freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham had a tough task on the road already this season since taking over for the injured Seth Russell, this will be his first real test. Even though the game is at home in Waco, Stidham is going up against his first elite opponent in Oklahoma. It is a pressure packed game that will surely test the mental strength of Baylor’s young QB. Lucky for him, he has plenty of players around him to help make his job easier.
Star wide receiver Corey Coleman is having a monster year with 20 touchdowns already and over 1,100 yards receiving. Secondary receiving options like KD Cannon and Jay Lee are no slouches either. However, what Baylor really has this year and has committed to is a running game. Shock Linwood has over 1,000 rushing yards and nine scores. It’s the threat of the run that will really help out Stidham in this game and the rest of the season.
For Oklahoma, newcomer Baker Mayfield has been terrific for them at QB. He’s been a major upgrade over prior QBs like Trevor Knight. Mayfield’s 28-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio is absolutely outstanding. Just like Baylor, Oklahoma has a trio of receivers who can burn you. Sterling Shepard leads the pack with over 800 yards and seven touchdowns. However, Dede Westbrook and Durron Neal can’t be forgotten about either as they both have over 470 yards themselves. Also just like their opponent, the Sooners have a great run game that causes teams headaches because they don’t know what to scheme for on a given play. Samaje Perine has over 800 yards and 10 scores this year, and he isn’t alone, as Joe Mixon is also over 500.
Waco will certainly be rocking with College Gameday heading down there for the weekend prime-time game. If you like lots of noise and a lot of points, this is the game for you. The players will be racing up and down the field all night. The end zones might need to be redone at halftime since they’ll be stepped on so many times in this one. Both teams are so similar that this one is hard to predict. In the end what could make the difference, which often does in college sports, is the home crowd. It will relax Stidham a bit and perhaps rattle the Oklahoma offense once or twice to allow Baylor to get the edge.
Prediction: Baylor 52, Oklahoma 41