Before the season began, Oklahoma vs. Baylor was supposed to be the deciding game for the Big 12 Championship but after losing to TCU and Kansas State, the Sooners are seemingly out of Big 12 Championship and Playoff contention. This game, however, is still a matchup between two Top 15 teams according to the College Football Playoff Rankings, and it is a very important game for the Bears. Ranked number 12, the Bears have two games left in their season to prove themselves to the Playoff Committee, with Oklahoma as the first one. If Baylor is going to stay in contention for a Playoff spot and the Big 12 Championship, the Bears are going to have to do something they have never done before, win a football game in Norman.
The Bears go into this game as healthy as can be, except for the players that are done for the season in Baker (ACL), Palmer (ACL), Hilliard (Wrist). In order for the Bears to win this game they are going to have to try and stop an Oklahoma running game that seems to have hit its stride the last couple of weeks. The Sooners have stopped trying to force QB Trevor Knight into being something his not and have allowed him to run the read option with great success. The Bears have had some trouble with mobile QBs so far this season and will need to be able to contain Knight while also getting pressure on him. The Bears need to get consistent pressure on Knight for their defense to be effective and that will mostly fall on the defensive line to get the job done.
On offense the Bears need to establish a run game early, which means that the new offensive line needs to get a good push on Oklahoma defensive line. This game will be won in the trenches, whoever’s lines play the best will win this game. The importance of establishing a run game early for the Bears is to help settle in QB Bryce Petty. Petty, while probably still not entirely healthy from a back injury sustained in the first game of the season, has struggled in past weeks getting settled into games. It is key for Petty to get settled in fast and play well, or the Bears will not win this game. The Bears have said the past couple of years that they are in the proving business, well if Baylor wins this game they will have proved a lot.