Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Preview / Prediction / Poll Thread

Ronald Martinez

In just over 48 hours, the Baylor Bears will vie with the Oklahoma State Cowboys for Big 12 supremacy on ABC. The crowd will be crazy, the atmosphere electric. Will the Bears pull it off?

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

I'll replace this with the video preview if/when it comes down.

ODB Game Hub: Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Stats Preview:
How FEI and S&P+ view Baylor vs. OSU
First Look: Oklahoma State
Official Hype Video:
Be Great Today
OSU OFFICIAL WEBSITE: OKState.com/sports | Preview/Game Notes
2013 ROSTER, DEPTH CHART (opens as .pdf, page 3)
LAST GAME VIDEO (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 42, low of 30 on Saturday.

SB NATION BAYLOR VS. OSU GAME PREVIEW: How Baylor Can Fall Apart
SB NATION OKLAHOMA STATE PREVIEW: The Plug and Play Pokes
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Excellent, as always.

UNIFORMS: Don't know yet.

Injury News:

Here we go again.

Baylor -- Tevin Reese (OUT), Spencer Drango (OUT), Bryce Hager (day-to-day, I'm guessing OUT), Lache Seastrunk (day-to-day, practicing, bet he PLAYS), Glasco Martin (day-to-day, practicing, bet he PLAYS).

Reese and Drango are known to be out for the rest of the regular season, at least.  We still don't know which of senior Kelvin Palmer or sophomore Pat Colbert will replace Drango at LT, so that's something to watch.  The biggest place Baylor will feel this loss is in pass protection, but thankfully, OSU does not have the best pass rush and as Bill C noted, may not blitz much.  Whether they change their tendencies to attack that spot, we just don't know.

Oklahoma State -- CB Justin Gilbert (day-to-day w/ shoulder injury, bet he PLAYS), WR Josh Stewart (day-to-day w/ leg injury, no idea).

As far as OSU's injuries go, I'm expecting that Gilbert will play this week even if he has lingering effects of the shoulder injury suffered against Texas.  He has been reported to be seen wearing a sling this week in Stillwater. Stewart is a complete mystery.  He did not travel to Austin last weekend and there has been no news regarding his status.  That is probably intentional.  If you have more info than this, please share.

Statmilk Infographic:

Ok, so it isn't customizable this week.  But it's still awesome!

Thoughts on the Game:

First and foremost, I want to tell the community here how much I appreciate you guys staying pretty much above the fray on all of the OSU-Baylor "hate" nonsense.  That we don't really go in for that stuff here makes me proud as a blog manager, because it's just not worth doing it simply to drive traffic numbers.

As for the game itself, I honestly believe the outcome will turn on how well Baylor manages to run the ball against the Oklahoma State defense.  The Cowboys are better at defending the run than they are the pass, something that would push you in the direction of saying Baylor should let Bryce Petty air it out, but everyone here knows that our offense is predicated on running the ball successfully.  The teams that have done best against us have stopped us from doing that as well as we would have liked, either overall (Kansas State) or in the early going (Oklahoma).  Establishing the run with Rashodrick Linwood, Devin Chafin, or either of Seastrunk and/or Martin (should they play), will help alleviate the pressure on Petty to sustain drives himself.  Doing that also probably prevents the turnovers, namely interceptions, on which Oklahoma State's team thrives.

On the other side, I stand by the statement (reiterated by Bill C in the SB Nation preview linked above) that Oklahoma State's offense is the worst of the four major units in this game.  The key to stopping them will be to take advantage of their weakness on standard downs (a strength of our defense) by stopping the running game with QB Clint Chelf and RB Desmond Roland.  Key to that will be our linebackers keeping their assignments, not overpursuing the football and essentially blocking themselves, and preventing Chelf from doing what he did to Texas straight up the gut.  That's where the potential loss of starter Bryce Hager at MLB (assuming he doesn't play) hurts us tremendously.  I have every faith in the physical ability of his backup, redshirt freshman Aiavion Edwards, but experience matters.  This would be the first start of Edwards' career at Baylor, and you'd better believe they would go after him.

The biggest factor to this game that I don't know how to predict is the weather, something that should affect both teams.  Whether it affects them equally remains to be seen.  Both teams want to run the football, and colder weather may exacerbate those efforts.  With fewer passes thrown (potentially), it could mean a faster game clock with fewer incompletions.  That's something to watch.  Also, the fact that this game is in Stillwater cannot be forgotten; Briles likes to say that Kansas State is the toughest environment to play in as a road team in the Big 12.  OSU this weekend will do their best to change his mind.

Key Matchups:

Justin Gilbert vs. Antwan Goodley -- This is easy.  Our best receiver against perhaps the best pure corner in the entire country.  Something to watch will be Baylor's approach if/when Gilbert appears to be favoring his shoulder at all.  In that situation, I would love to see Baylor go right at him, using short passes to get Goodley the ball (because I'm assuming Gilbert covers Goodley) and letting the Bowling Ball of Anger that is Antwan Goodley go to work.

Baylor's MLB vs. Clint Chelf -- Whether it's Edwards or a hobbled Hager (really think it will be Edwards), I think this will be the biggest matchup of the game when OSU has the ball.  If you can keep Chelf from using the middle of the field as he did against Texas, you can force him to throw the ball.  That's key. Take away the screens and dumpoffs and Chelf is average, at best, throwing down the field.  Make him do that.

Drango's Replacement vs. Replacing Drango -- Stick with me on this one.  It may not be as big of an issue for Palmer, but asking Colbert to start at LT for the first time ever is a tall task.  Protecting your QB's blind side is not at all easy.

Baylor OL vs. OSU DL -- You know how important I think running the ball will be.  Whether we're using a reconstructed OL with Palmer in at LT and Troy Baker at RT or just plugging in Colbert, moving the line of scrimmage down the field on running plays is critical.  OSU has a strong DL that is very active against the run.

My Prediction:

I missed last week's eventual point spread by 1 point, through I was off on each team by nearly 10.  I'll take it.  For this week, if you're expecting that OSU will attempt to take the "Kansas State blueprint" and execute it as the Snydercats did, I think you're going to be disappointed.  OSU's offense isn't built to possess the ball like KSU's, nor is their defense good enough against the pass to stall out our drives (seriously, go look up KSU's ranks against the pass and on passing downs).

When we recorded the podcast last night, I took Baylor to cover the 9.5-point spread just barely.  I'm going to up that a bit now.  The atmosphere will be electric and the crowd impressive, but I think Baylor, with the experiences of the Kansas State game in mind, will be able to handle it.  Shock Linwood will run for 100+ to lead the team.  As long as Baylor doesn't turn the ball over in an uncharacteristic way, I think Baylor will win by 2 TDs.

FINAL SCORE: Baylor 44, Oklahoma State 30.

There it is.  Give me your predictions in the comments and vote in the poll!

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