Kansas State Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears
Saturday – December 6 – 6:45 pm
McLane Stadium – Waco
Depending on who you talk to, the Baylor Bears are on the doorstep of making the College Football Playoff or they need a hope and a prayer to make it. No matter how you slice it, they must defeat the No.9 ranked Kansas State Wildcats at McLane Stadium no matter which scenario you are look at if you are a Baylor fan.
The winner between Baylor (10-1, 7-1) and K-State (9-2, 7-1) will earn at least a share of the Big 12 title. If TCU loses earlier Saturday to last-place Iowa State, they would be playing for the outright title. Their Saturday showdown Saturday would have taken on a different tone if the Bears were without Bryce Petty, but No. 5 Baylor’s quarterback plans to play with another Big 12 title on the line — though he’s still experiencing some concussion-related symptoms.
Petty woke up with a headache Monday but practiced Tuesday after getting knocked out of Saturday’s 48-46 win over Texas Tech with a mild concussion.
“I’ll be fine,” the fifth-year senior said Monday. “I think it’s more exercise-induced kind of stuff, go through things, make sure everything’s OK. But as far as practice schedule, I should be able to go.”
Baylor owns the nation’s top-ranked offense, averaging 49.8 points per game, and one of the biggest reasons for that is the play of its quarterback. Petty has been lighting up opposing defenses all season long, completing 59.3 percent of his passes for 2,893 yards, 25 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Kansas State was 10-0 two years ago when it visited Floyd Casey Stadium, which has since been replaced by the glittering new facility. The Bears were stumbling along around .500, but on that bizarre night in which everything seemed to go awry, the Wildcats allowed 342 yards rushing, 580 yards of offense and watched Baylor pick off then Heisman candidate Collin Klein three times.
It was no surprise, then, that after rolling to a 51-13 rout of Kansas last weekend, thoughts immediately shifted to the Wildcats’ trip to Baylor.
“It’s going to be huge going down there, playing the best team in the Big 12, arguably,” said K-State defensive end Ryan Mueller. “We’re going to be ready to go. We’re going to prepare like we’ve never prepared before. We know what’s on the line.”
Mueller wouldn’t use the word “payback” to describe his feelings heading into Saturday’s game at glitzy McLane Stadium. But is excited his Wildcats have a chance to capture a share of the Big 12 title and that they can also ruin the Bears’ national title hopes.
I’m expecting a big time atmosphere in Waco, but when the dust settles Baylor will show once again why no one wants to come to Waco and will beat K-State rather easily to give themselves a chance to qualify for the first ever College Football Playoff.
Prediction: Baylor 41, K-State 17
Kendrick Johnson writes for a daily newspaper and is an independent print journalist and sports television reporter who has covered the NBA Finals, NFL, NCAA football, MLB, NHL, championship boxing and UFC Fights. He’s done numerous one on one interviews with some of the biggest names and personalities in sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kendrickjohnso