Four Reasons Why OU-Baylor Will Go the Way of the Home Team


There isn’t a better game in the country this weekend than OU-Baylor, featuring the No. 6 team in the latest College Football Playoff rankings vs. No. 12 Oklahoma.

Yesterday in this space we offered four reasons why Oklahoma will win the game. In the interest of fairness and objectivity, here are four compelling counterarguments and reasons why Baylor will come out ahead when the final whistle blows on Saturday night in Waco, Texas.

Nov 5, 2015; Manhattan, KS, USA; Baylor Bears return specialist Corey Coleman (1) carries the ball past Kansas State Wildcats defensive back Kaleb Prewett (4) and linebacker Elijah Lee (9) during the first half at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears are dominant at home: Not that long ago the laughing stock of Big 12 football, Baylor has won 21 of its last 23 Big 12 games, including 13 consecutive conference wins at home. The last two times OU and Baylor played in Waco, the Bears prevailed 45-38 in 2011 with Robert Griffin III at quarterback and again two years ago, when QB Bryce Petty and then-freshman running back Shock Linwood mowed down the Sooners 41-12.

Baylor is arguably the best offensive team in the nation. The Bears lost their starting quarterback two games ago, but replacement Jarrett Stidham was billed as one of the country’s most sought-after quarterback recruits, and he lived up to that reputation in leading Baylor to a 31-24 win on the road over Kansas State last week. Coach Art Briles and his son, offensive coordinator Kendall Briles, are only asking their freshman backup quarterback to manage games, which is a nice luxury to have when you have an outstanding running back in Shock Linwood and an army of talented big-play receivers as pass targets. Senior Corey Coleman, with 58 catches this season, 20 of which have been for touchdowns, is a matchup nightmare for any defense, and he is being talked about as a Heisman candidate. To beat Baylor, teams are going to have to be able to outscore them, and that is a very tall order given the Bears’ offensive mindset and the depth of their talent, especially at the skill positions.

Baylor doesn’t just try to outscore and outgain their opponents. They play solid defense, as well. The Bears lead the Big 12 in scoring, rushing offense and total offense and are third in the league currently in passing offense. That is enough to win most, if not all, of your games. But they have also been getting it done with a solid, stubborn defense. The Bears are second in the conference in pass defense and total defense (behind Oklahoma in both categories) and third in scoring defense.

Baylor is very good at helping opponents beat themselves. The Baylor defense is one of the most opportunistic in college football this season. The Bears are tied for seventh nationally in forcing turnovers and turning those mistakes into points. Baylor has 21 takeaways (11 interceptions, 10 fumbles) while giving the ball away just 10 times in eight games this season.