The Oklahoma Sooners travel to Waco to take on No. 12 Baylor football in a battle for respect. Here’s a preview, prediction and how to watch.
The queen of soul Aretha Franklin sang one of the most popular songs in the American Songbook: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what that means to me.” That’s what Baylor is playing for against the Oklahoma Sooners Saturday night in Waco.
There’s a brass tax to this game which we all know. The Sooners are looking to stay in the playoff hunt, and the Bears are looking to crash the party and remain undefeated on their way to play for a Big 12 title.
This game, however, is all about respect. No one in the country respects the Baylor Bears. Frankly, the Bears haven’t given the college football world much reason to respect them either. If you look at their results this season, Baylor has one possession wins against Rice, Iowa State, TCU and West Virginia. Not exactly a murder’s row of opponents. That’s in addition to a double-overtime victory against a below average Texas Tech squad.
The Big 12 is infamous for not scheduling super difficult in their non-conference and the Bears followed suit.
Oklahoma, along with keeping its playoff hopes alive, is trying to figure out what’s happened to their defense. Although defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was brought in from Washington State to scheme a defense to play alongside a spread offense, their lack of talent depth is being exposed. You want a smaller quicker defense when they have to be out there for 80-plus snaps per game. The issue is smallish defenses get gashed against teams that like to run the ball like Kansas State.
The Sooners have two issues they’re dealing with simultaneously: they aren’t super talented defensively and they are paper thin.
Can Baylor put up enough points to keep the Sooners at arm’s length? Can Oklahoma finally create some turnovers against an offense that takes care of the ball?
Here’s more info on the game:
Date: Saturday, Nov. 16
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Waco, Texas
Venue: McLane Stadium
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Keys to Victory
The Sooners want this to be an old west shootout. They want to turn this game into a track meet. They have no problem winning this game 49-42. Their defense has been exposed, and it seems as if they’ve resigned themselves to outscoring teams again.
Baylor wants the complete opposite. They have athletes, but would prefer to muck it up a bit. This game has some odd juju to it — and I don’t mean Smith-Schuster. Both teams want to make a statement, but which style wins out in the end?
If the Bears and Sooners scored their season average, the Bears don’t cover the spread. Oklahoma appears to have all the advantages; they have the championship level veteran quarterback, and all the athletes offensively, but this game’s in Waco, not Norman. That means something. The Sooners aren’t as potent on the road as they are at home, and this is the best defense they’ll face this regular season. Baylor covers, keeps it close, but comes up short and under the 67.5.
Final Score: Baylor 21, Oklahoma 31