Opponent: University of Oklahoma
Nickname: The Sooners
Kickoff: November 16th
Location: McLane Stadium
Conference: Big XII
Head coach: Lincoln Riley
Last year’s record: 12-2
Notable outcomes: Beat Baylor 66-33, Lost to Texas 48-45, Beat Texas 39-27, Lost to Alabama 45-34
Key Losses: Kyler Murray, QB (Heisman Winner); Cody Ford, OL; Marquise Brown, WR
Strength: Quarterbacks. Oklahoma got a massive grad transfer over the offseason in former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts. While he might not win the Heisman for a third consecutive year for the Sooners (although I wouldn’t toss the possibility out the door yet), he is a very reliable quarterback in a system that takes transfer QBs and turns them into absolute monsters. Barring injury, Hurts is going to hurt a lot of Big 12 defenses.
Weakness: Secondary. I’m tempted to put the whole defense but we’ll go with the secondary, who was ranked dead last in ALL of FBS in pass defense (yes, even Kansas and Rutgers had better pass defenses). That’s terrible, especially for a team that made the playoff. Imagine how incredible last year’s team could’ve been if the defense was just average? Even though five of the starters in the secondary return, it’s one of those situations where that might not be a good thing given how poorly they played last year.
Prediction: This is a huge home game for Baylor, who will play Oklahoma and Texas at home in back to back games. The big question marks will be if Oklahoma’s defense improves at least a little and if Jalen Hurts can fill in some BIG shoes from the two quarterbacks prior to him. I do think the offense takes a step down with Hurts (although it will still be a monster to deal with). New defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who comes to Oklahoma from Ohio State, is trying to get the defense in shape. I don’t know how much improvement he can expect in year one but really anything is better than dead last. I still think Oklahoma has a grip on the Big 12 race and likely wins this game, but if Baylor wants to take the next step forward a win against either Oklahoma or Texas in there back-to-back games would be huge.