Oklahoma State vs. (6) Baylor Preview

Baylor Bears fans are on the outside looking in for this year's College Football Playoff. Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch
With three home games remaining, Baylor Bears fans are on the outside looking in for this year’s College Football Playoff. Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch

By Kendrick E. Johnson

Game Info
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Baylor Bears
Saturday – November 22 – 6:30 pm
McLane Stadium – Waco

The Baylor Bears are coming off their second bye in four weeks having moved up four spots after beating the Sooners while remaining seventh in Tuesday’s playoff rankings.

Baylor coach Art Briles understands that the only way to ensure a spot in the first College Football Playoff is to keep stringing wins together down the stretch.

“Winning every time we step on the field,” Briles said at Monday’s press conference. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s going to be all about. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

The defending conference champions begin their final push one-half game behind league-leading and No. 5 TCU (6-1), which lost at Baylor on Oct. 11, and tied with No. 12 Kansas State (5-1), which visits Dec. 6.

After throwing for a career-high 510 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions against the Horned Frogs, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty has an average of 295.7 passing yards with six scores and no picks over his last three games.

The senior completed 28 of 48 passes for 359 yards with two touchdowns in his only career meeting with Oklahoma State, a 49-17 loss in Stillwater.

“Each week, we have to go and prove ourselves,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “You can’t get into the playoffs if you don’t win, so these next three games are huge for us.”

Oklahoma State has won 16 of 18 in the series since Baylor joined the Big 12 in 1996.

The Bears have piled up an average of 56.7 points and 672.4 yards during their 14-game home winning streak which dates to Nov. 3, 2012. This trend doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys, who have given up 38.0 and 493.8 over four straight losses — their worst skid since dropping five in a row in 2005.

“You can come up on them and try to stop them in the flats, but then they’ll throw it over your head,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “If you stay off of them, they’ll throw it in the flat. If you throw too many people back in coverage, they’ll try to run the ball on you.”

Baylor has been especially good in the turnover department, winning the battle in each of the last three games (WVU, 3-0; KU, 3-0; OU, 1-0). The Bears have not surrendered a turnover since an interception with 11:38 left in the fourth quarter versus TCU on Oct. 11

I predict Baylor will add another victory by exploiting Oklahoma State’s weak defense and stop their hot and cold offense.

Prediction: Baylor 51, Oklahoma State 21