First Look: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor's Game of the Century of the Year has arrived. Our Bears will travel to Stillwater this weekend for a showdown with the #10-ranked OSU Cowboys. It's going to be an atmosphere unlike any other we've seen this season.

vs.
3/4/4 BAYLOR (9-0, 6-0) vs. 11/9/10 OKLAHOMA STATE (9-1, 6-1)
Nov. 23, 2013 | 7:00 p.m. CT
Stillwater, Okla. | Boone Pickens Stadium (60,218)

TV: ABC
Listen | GametrackerGametracker | Game Notes Notes | Tickets | In-Game BlogSportStream | Gameday Central


OPPONENT: Oklahoma St. Cowboys
OFFICIAL WEBSITE
: OKState.com/sports | Preview/Game Notes
2013 ROSTER, DEPTH CHART (opens as .pdf, page 3)
LAST MEETING: 41-34 Baylor win | ODB Game Hub
LAST GAME (for OSU): 38-13 win over Texas
SB NATION BLOG: Cowboys Ride For Free
SPREAD: Baylor -9.5 (opened at Baylor -11)
TV COVERAGE: ABC, ESPN's College GameDay will be in attendance.
WEATHER FORECAST: High of 45, low of 23 on Saturday.

SB NATION OKLAHOMA STATE PREVIEW: The Plug and Play Pokes
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Excellent, as always.

There's also this:

Somewhat unusually, OK State's official website has a video preview/interview with Mike Gundy available on Youtube. Here it is. Click here for a full transcript.

Let's Get Something Out of the Way

Oklahoma State fans have a real, visceral hatred for Robert Griffin III. They are also not huge fans of us, as Baylor fans. Those things could be related. Apparently, they feel like RGIII was something of a diva that oversold plays to get penalties, wasn't as good as he was believed to be, and didn't deserve the Heisman. They also think that we are overconfident/overrated this season. If they're following the VTM model, they're probably not crazy about me, personally.

I don't want to argue about any of these things. They are not germane to this game. We're not going to get caught in an internet shouting match about how much the other team sucks, nor are we going to rehash Brandon Weeden vs. Robert Griffin for the thousandth time. Minds aren't going to change, so what's the point? Please do not go over to CRFF to troll their fans or start something.

And we're definitely not doing this (ok, the tweet has now been deleted). Whatever.

Anyway...


Cowboys Football Schedule

Mississippi St. Sat 08/31 W 21 - 3
@ Texas-San Antonio Sat 09/07 W 56 - 35
Lamar Sat 09/14 W 59 - 3
@ West Virginia Sat 09/28 L 21 - 30
Kansas St. Sat 10/05 W 33 - 29
TCU Sat 10/19 W 24 - 10
@ Iowa St. Sat 10/26 W 58 - 27
@ Texas Tech Sat 11/02 W 52 - 34
Kansas Sat 11/09 W 42 - 6
@ Texas Sat 11/16 W 38 - 13
Baylor Sat 11/23 7:00 PM CST
Oklahoma Sat 12/07 TBA

I know what you're thinking -- that loss to West Virginia just doesn't make sense. It's one of those "any given Saturday" deals that happens almost every season and looks totally insane when the season ends. The explanation, so much as there is one, is that though the Cowboys are the far superior team now, they have not always been. The Cowboys have improved tremendously on offense as the season has gone on with Clint Chelf at the helm. Thankfully (or not, I could argue), that loss has probably helped our own rankings, since they might be ahead of us in the BCS without it. Of course, the counter-argument is that this game on Saturday would be even bigger if it was a matchup of undefeated teams. All this to say that they are a one-loss team that probably shouldn't be viewed that way. They are a really good team.

Statistic National
Rank
Conference
Rank
Value National Leader Value Conference
Leader
Value
3rd Down Conversion % 70 6 0.389 LSU 0.577 Baylor 0.524
3rd Down Conversion % Def 12 1 0.320 Louisville 0.273 Oklahoma St. 0.320
4th Down Conversion % 56 5 0.500 Wake Forest 0.800 Iowa St. 0.600
4th Down Conversion % Def 58 8 0.500 Kansas 0.167 Kansas 0.167
Blocked Kicks 12 2 3 San Jose St. 6 Kansas St. 5
Blocked Kicks Allowed 111 9 4 34 teams tied 0 Iowa St.
Kansas St.
TCU
1
1
1
Blocked Punts 12 2 1 Georgia Tech 3 Kansas 2
Blocked Punts Allowed 81 4 1 80 teams tied 0 Iowa St.
Kansas St.
West Virginia
0
0
0
Completion Percentage 86 7 0.567 East Carolina 0.720 Baylor 0.646
Fewest Penalties Per Game 83 5 6.30 Navy 3.00 Kansas St. 4.80
Fewest Penalty Yards/Game 90 6 55.60 Navy 26.00 Kansas St. 41.70
First Downs Defense 73 6 213 Louisville 131 Baylor 157
First Downs Offense 52 5 221 Texas Tech 314 Texas Tech 314
Fumbles Lost 5 1 3 4 teams tied 2 Oklahoma St. 3
Fumbles Recovered 57 8 7 Ball St. 16 West Virginia 15
Kickoff Return Defense 20 1 18.39 Miami (OH) 14.60 Oklahoma St. 18.39
Kickoff Returns 9 2 25.82 Stanford 28.80 TCU 26.45
Net Punting 76 7 36.61 Purdue 42.41 West Virginia 40.50
Pass Sacks Allowed 6 1 0.80 Toledo 0.40 Oklahoma St. 0.80
Passes Had Intercepted 68 4 10 Oregon 2 Baylor 4
Passes Intercepted 1 1 19 Florida St.
Oklahoma St.
19
19
Oklahoma St. 19
Passing Offense 38 3 258.2 Texas Tech 400.2 Texas Tech 400.2
Passing Yards Allowed 81 7 239.5 Florida St. 143.5 Oklahoma 182.8
Passing Yards per Completion 50 3 12.47 Baylor 19.33 Baylor 19.33
Punt Return Defense 41 3 6.31 Utah St. -0.50 West Virginia 4.82
Punt Returns 8 2 15.12 Kansas St. 17.91 Kansas St. 17.91
Red Zone Defense 9 2 0.706 Bowling Green 0.560 Baylor 0.643
Red Zone Offense 28 2 0.885 Florida St. 0.982 Iowa St. 0.962
Rushing Defense 27 3 133.6 Michigan St. 57.3 TCU 127.8
Rushing Offense 68 5 171.0 Army 330.6 Baylor 300.3
Scoring Defense 14 2 19.0 Alabama 10.2 Baylor 17.4
Scoring Offense 13 2 40.4 Baylor 61.2 Baylor 61.2
Tackles for Loss Allowed 46 3 5.40 Stanford 3.20 Baylor 4.67
Pass Sacks (123 ranked) 52 6 2.10 Utah 3.60 Baylor 3.11
Passing Efficiency 68 4 128.74 Baylor 198.82 Baylor 198.82
Passing Efficiency Defense 10 2 103.00 Florida St. 89.67 Baylor 99.88
Team Tackles for Loss 10 3 7.9 Clemson 9.5 Baylor 8.6
Time of Possession 119 10 25:52 Michigan St. 34:56 Oklahoma 31:57
Total Defense 40 5 373.1 Michigan St. 228.4 Baylor 322.6
Total Offense 54 4 429.2 Baylor 684.8 Baylor 684.8
Turnover Margin 4 1 1.3 Houston 2.2 Oklahoma St. 1.3
Turnovers Gained 7 2 26 Houston 33 TCU 27
Turnovers Lost 29 2 13 Bowling Green 7 Baylor 11

These are their rankings in the most popular absolute statistical categories. They are extremely good on third downs relative to the rest of the conference and country and lead the nation in passes intercepted. A big part of that is superstar CB Justin Gilbert, who will play this week after a slight injury a week ago. They can put up and prevent points among the best in the country, though their offensive ranks are mostly middling. My guess is, although I can't prove it at the moment, that their ranks after the switch to Chelf as the full-time starter would be immensely improved. They have reinvented themselves as a team focused on the running game and a stout defense. That may be our foil.

I'm not going to get too far into the advanced stats until tomorrow, but I will say that F/+ bills this as the #3 team (Baylor) against #20 (Oklahoma State). We have the #1 offense by F/+ and the #9 defense; they have the #39 offense and the #13 defense. I haven't looked at it enough to know yet, but my guess is, once again, that their rankings are trending upward the last few weeks on offense. It is interesting to note that despite the propensity to get interceptions, their defense is only above average (44th) against the pass. They are better (22nd) against the run.

QUESTION TIME:

First--

Second-- How afraid are you of Chelf's ability to run the football a la Daniel Sams? OSU isn't really built to possess the ball like Kansas State did (119th in the country in Time of Possession), but with Bryce Hager out of the middle, is that Baylor's biggest defensive concern?

Third-- OSU averages 2.10 sacks per game. With the news that Spencer Drango will be out, does that number go up or down?

Fourth-- Assume Justin Gilbert defends Antwan Goodley (which only makes sense). Are we going to see another Levi Norwood show?

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