On Saturday night in Stillwater, two top-ten teams will battle for control of their conference. With no Big 12 Championship Game, the matchup between Baylor and Oklahoma State will serve as a de facto title game.
The Baylor Bears enter undefeated and ranked No. 4 in the BCS. Outside of a misstep against West Virginia, and a close win over Kansas State, the Cowboys have played sterling football.
This will be a game between two uptempo, well coached teams. Let’s check out the key ingredients for the weekend’s biggest matchup.
Baylor ranks No.1 in the Big 12 (and also the nation) in scoring offense. Coach Art Briles’ squad posts a blistering 61.2 points per game. The Bears’ closest game was a 10-point win over Kansas State. Beyond that, no team has come within less than 29 points of Baylor.
Oklahoma State may score nearly 21 fewer points per game, but they still rank second in the Big 12 in scoring offense. Many teams in the country would love to record 40.4 points per game. It only looks meager by comparison to their competition on Saturday.
Baylor and Oklahoma State rank first and second, respectively, in the Big 12 for scoring defense. Each ranks in the top-15 nationally. The teams’ offenses get all the publicity, but neither squad allows more than 19 points per game on defense.
This is the category where the teams separate a little bit. Baylor is first in the conference in total defense, where Oklahoma State ranks fifth. Essentially, the Cowboys play bend-but-dont-break defense, whereas Baylor hardly bends.
Both teams like to score in droves. This could easily be a game with two teams racing up and down the field. In terms of scoring, Oklahoma State has given up only one more touchdown on the season than Baylor (22 to 21). The difference in the teams’ defenses resides in field goals. The Cowboys have allowed three times as many field goals as the Bears.
The Cowboys’ ball-hawking defense will need to come up big against Heisman candidate Byrce Petty, while knowing that any errant gamble can lead to a quick Baylor score. Considering neither team is afraid of a shootout, this will be a fun game to watch.