Week 13 - Baylor vs. Oklahoma State

Posted Nov 20, 2013

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Baylor vs. Oklahoma State

Baylor (9-0) at Oklahoma State (9-1) Oct. 23 8:00, ABC

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Who says there's no Big 12 title game? There's still work to do for the winner, with Oklahoma State having to face Oklahoma and Baylor getting TCU and Texas, but at the very least the winner will be in the driver's seat for the Fiesta Bowl. If Baylor wins and Texas can get by Texas Tech, it'll set up a true Big 12 title game when the Longhorns and Bears hook up on December 7th.

Baylor is still shooting for far more than the Big 12 title, with national championship possibilities still in play depending on what happens to Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State he rest of the way. While it might turn out to be a major disappointment to go 12-0 and not play for the BCS championship, it's Baylor. The program isn't that far removed from being known more for its painfully long losing streak in conference play, and now head coach Art Briles has the Fiesta Bowl – at the very least – there for the taking.

This is the big one for the Bears. While they might be an interesting highlight reel team, it hasn't been the featured act yet this year. Now it gets the big, nationally televised stage to unleash the unstoppable offense in an attempt to somehow move up from its No. 4 spot in the BCS standings and past Ohio State to be on the doorstep for one of the top two spots. But Oklahoma State might finally be the test that Oklahoma and Texas Tech weren't.

If it wasn't for a gag against a bad West Virginia team – losing 30-21 in the Big 12 opener – the Cowboys might be the ones in the hunt for the national title. Instead, they can get back to their second Fiesta Bowl in three years by winning their final two games, or with a good showing and a blowout of Oklahoma, they might be in the hunt for an at-large BCS bid. On a roll, winning six straight since the gaffe against the Mountaineers, they've been flying a bit under the radar, blowing out Texas last week and steamrolling over Texas Tech to get into the position to make this one of the nation's biggest showdowns.

Why Baylor Might Win: Overall, the Oklahoma State defense might be doing a decent job, but it's been lit up by the teams able to throw a forward pass. The secondary tightened up a bit after a rocky start, giving up 581 yards and four touchdowns in the first two weeks, but West Virginia's Clint Trickett was able to connect on a few big plays and the team came up with 320 yards. Texas Tech might have been blown out by OSU, but its passing attack clicked cranking up 425 yards. Part of the problem was the lack of a steady pass rush, coming up with just one sack against both the Mountaineers and Red Raiders. Baylor has allowed just 13 sacks all season long. However …

Why Oklahoma State Might Win: The secondary picks off passes, coming up with at least one in every game except for the blowout over Lamar. The Cowboys have come up with two interceptions or more in seven of the ten games on the year, and they've been terrific at not giving up the deep ball. They'll allow teams to dink and dunk, but they're great at limiting the yards after the catch. Offensively, Baylor might have a quick strike attack, but Oklahoma State's is just as fast when it comes to cranking up big yards and plays in bunches. Few teams can keep up the pace with the Bears, and while OSU might be a bit inconsistent, it has the firepower to make this a firefight.

Who To Watch Out For: America, meet Bryce Petty. The statistics have been fantastic, but is he a product of the Baylor system? After all, Nick Florence also put up massive numbers last season and he didn't get a sniff of the Heisman. The difference is Baylor's status in the national title chase, and if Petty - who has thrown for 2,992 yards and 24 touchdowns with just one pick, and has run for a score in every game but the opener against Wofford and has two in his last two games – lights up Oklahoma State on a national stage, he could punch his ticket to New York for Heisman day.

- While he hasn't come up with a tackle for loss in the last two games, Oklahoma State's Caleb Lavey leads the team with 10.5 plays behind the line, and he has been the steady tackler with a team-leading 76 stops. The main man in the middle is a former top recruit who got a little lighter and a little quicker, and it shows. He does everything right on the inside with great smarts and instincts.

- Baylor has been able to fight through a slew of injuries, but it suffered a huge hit with the loss of starting left tackle Spencer Drango to a ruptured disk in his back. The Bears lost star receiver Tevin Reese for the year with a wrist injury, and running backs Lache Seastrunk (groin) and Glasco Martin (knee) missed last week's game against Texas Tech.

- The two programs are just 350 miles apart – not that bad in college football geography – but they've only played 31 times. Baylor won last year but Oklahoma State won the previous six. Before the 44-34 Baylor win in 2005, though, the Cowboys won nine straight. The first meeting was in 1916 – 10-7 Baylor win. BU won 17-0 in 1917 and followed it up with a 103-0 performance against Hardin-Simmons.

What Will Happen: It's Baylor's big moment. It's going to be a fight against a game Oklahoma State team with enough of an offense and a strong defense to keep the game tight, but the storyline coming out of the game will be Petty, who'll be third on everyone's Heisman ballot after pulling out the win.

Prediction: Baylor 45 … Oklahoma State 38
Line: Baylor -9.5 o/u: 78
Must See Rating: (5 Tiebreaker – 1 A Medea Christmas) … 5
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