“Ride All The Way To Texas”

Saturday Spotlight

(10) Oklahoma Sooners at (13) Baylor Bears

Oklahoma: I honestly thought they’d be one of the remaining undefeated teams left. But the Kansas State Wildcats had something to say about that a few games ago. That was the second of some major upsets that took place in college football. Lincoln Riley has established himself as the premier offensive mind in the country. In his four years in Norman, his offenses have included Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and now Jalen Hurts. Lincoln has crafted offenses that have consistently been the best in the game, and it hasn’t been close. Jalen decided to transfer to Oklahoma for his senior year. It’s been incredible to see how he’s been in command of this offense which he had to learn in six months. This is a unique team. They lost four starters on the offensive line; wide receiver Marquise Brown decided to go pro, yet Lincoln has still been able to implement guys to keep the offense going which says a lot about him. For most of the season, I said the Sooners defense had improved. They have done the little things on a more consistent basis. That’s finishing tackles in the open field, not missing gap assignments (which can hurt a team), they’re covering guys down the field and they’ve been able to rush the passer without having to show blitz. They’ve shown potential this year but have faltered some in their last two games. I watched a bit of their game against Iowa State last week. I almost thought they were on the verge of being upset. The Cyclones scored late to put them within a point. It came down to one play and the defense stepped up when they needed too. This is a primetime game for this group. Waco, Texas is the place to be tonight.

Baylor: No matter what happens during a season, there’s always going to be that team that comes out of nowhere. This year, we were fortunate to have two of them: The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Baylor Bears. The Bears are undefeated through nine games. Because of the success, the program has decided to reward head coach Matt Rhule with a contract extension that will keep him with the program until 2028. I don’t think anybody had them as one of the five remaining undefeated teams standing in college football. They’ve been able to win games in different ways. They beat Kansas State by 19 in one game then beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys by 18. Their last few games within the conference have been tight ones since Big-12 play started. Baylor won its other four conference games by an average of 3.5 points, with two of those victories (Texas Tech, TCU) coming in multiple overtimes. Speaking of their last game, let’s talk about it. Against TCU, they struggled early on to get into their rhythm. Baylor has been one of the better defenses’ teams in the country this year. They’ve allowed 19 points a game this year. The Horned Frogs gave them all they could handle. But in the end, it was too much Baylor. They escaped with the win. Some conference games will be more challenging than others. It doesn’t matter what a teams’ record is, that gets thrown out the window. The Baylor offense is also good. It starts with quarterback, Charlie Brewer. He’s a shorter quarterback at 6’1 but has the footwork to help him be successful. He knows exactly where to put the ball for his receiver. They faced a challenge last weekend. Tonight, the class of the conference is in town.

Oklahoma Player to Watch: Trey Sermon– Baylor isn’t the best when it comes to stopping the run. Some games they can, some they can’t. I sometimes think Trey is a forgotten piece to this offense. With all the weapons they have on display, he’s another piece that can hurt your defense. I expect Oklahoma to try and throw Baylor’s defense off their rhythm.

Baylor Player to Watch: Denzel Mims– He’s Charlie’s go-to receiver. He’s a possession guy standing at 6’3 and weighing 215 pounds. He’s a receiver that feels he can win every one on one battle. He just has to get free and he’s getting the football. That’s the trust Brewer has in him. He should have a field day against the Sooners especially since they are known to give up big plays down the field.

Final Analysis: This was becoming a rivalry a few years back. When they played last year, points were scored in this one. The final score was 66-63, an Oklahoma victory. It’s key for Oklahoma to get a pass rush on Brewer early on. Take a page out of TCU’s book. Make him move around to his weak side (left). I need to see more discipline from the Sooners defense. Get back to the defense you were playing at the beginning of the year. I have a feeling we will see these two battle for the conference title in a few weeks.

Prediction: Oklahoma 38 Baylor 28

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