1. Did everyone survive? It is getting kind of sad in here. The Baylor Bears lost to Oklahoma this weekend, at home in front of a packed "black-out" crowd. It was a tough loss, one that saw the Bears beaten on the scoreboard and on the field, with a long list of injured players after the game. Jarrett Stidham is the biggest name, but Chance Waz, Terrell Burt, KD Cannon, and a few more all left the game at times. The Bears are beaten up right now, but at least are rewarded with two road games in 6-games against Top-15 teams. Geez, thanks for the gift of a back-loaded schedule Big 12. We sure do appreciate having to go through this, as I am certain the rest of the Top-4 Big 12 teams are.
The loss is over with, it is now up to the Bears to stop the skid at 1, and keep their hopes for glory alive. The Big 12 championship is still very much in play, due to the still unbelievable loss to Texas that Oklahoma sustained earlier this year. With a single slip up, and the Bears taking care of business against Oklahoma State and an also banged up TCU team (before the season finale against Texas), they will be Big 12 champions. It would work the same way it did in 2013. Baylor needed to beat Texas, and have Bedlam craziness knock Oklahoma State down at home. It did, and the Bears were champions.
In regards to the playoffs, well, the Bears need chaos and a whole lot of it. They won't get in over any undefeated or 1-loss power conference team. Their lack of a marquee win so far this year, and a lackluster non-conference schedule compares poorly to some of the other 1-loss contenders. Simply put, pay no attention Tuesday night to the college football playoff poll. It doesn't matter. If the Bears beat Oklahoma State, and things get a little wacky, we can start talking again.
2. Jarrett Stidham says he will play. Art Briles says Jarrett will play. Who are we to doubt them? Back injuries deserve doubt. They can feel good one day, and then after a good night of sleep, can feel awful once again. They are a tricky thing those backs. After an Oklahoma defender threw Stidham into the ground after the whistle, and flags started flying, the game plan for the Bears became extremly conservative. Due to it happening on the 3rd play of the game, it is impossible to know if that was the plan all along, to protect a true freshman quarterback starting his second game against a top-tier opponent, or if the conservative attack was a by-product of the injury to Stidham. Simply put, Stidham was limited physically, and by the play-calling against Oklahoma. To win at Stillwater, I don't know if the Bears can hold back, or limit their offense again.
With a night game upon us once again (can we please just get one 11am game on the road against a marquee opponent. Just 1!), you have to expect a crazy atmosphere in Stillwater. The last time the Bears went up north to face this team, it wasn't pretty, and that was with a junior quarterback with quite a few starts under his belt. Will Stidham get rattled? The Bears have no quarterback on the roster with any kind of tangible experience in this attack. Chris Johnson has seen a few games of experience, all in blowout conditions, but he was a tight end just 3 weeks ago. Is he ready to be involved in the offense at a high level, or maybe as part of a wrinkle in the offense?
The running attack without Russell has been awful, down now to 3.3 yards per carry in their two games against Oklahoma and Kansas State. Without a strong running attack, the Bears are asking for an 18-year old to carry this offense on the road against a Top-5 opponent. With him being limited in the running game due to injury, that number could go down even further. Chris Johnson might not be a complete quarterback at this point in his career, but he could help out the running attack.
3. Baylor basketball tipped off Friday night, and had a dominant win over a strong Stephen F. Austin team. The Bears had 31 assists on their 36 made field goals, and committed just 8 turnovers in the big win. Monday night against Oregon, we saw the flip side of that with 18 turnovers and 10 assists in a game that Baylor somehow trailed by 3 points in the last few minutes. For most of the night, Baylor was just the weaker team. Weaker with the ball, weaker on the glass, and weaker in the paint. Oregon attacked inside the zone, and kicked it out to open 3-point shooters. A switch to man defense, and a more bench drive lineup, led the Bears back from a 16-point deficit, but it was just too much to overcome.
When you get a combined 19 points on 7-22 shooting and 6 rebounds combined from senior stars Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince, you are not going to win many games. However, 22 points and 7 rebounds from Al Freeman and another 17 points and 7 rebounds from Jonathan Motley should be a good sign for the Bears. It was an off-game for Lester Medford (2 points, 6 turnovers, 1 assist) and Ish Wainright (5 turnovers) as the Bears scuffled against an aggressive press from Oregon.
Baylor comes home now for four layup games (Jackson State, Savannah State, Arkansas State, and Prairie View A&M) before a visit from Vanderbilt rachets things up again.
4. The Lady Bears also started their season with back-to-back dominant wins over UT-Arlington and Southern Miss. The Lady Bears won by a combined 159-62. They held UTA to just 20 points, including 6 in the first half. Their offense struggled in the opener, but came alive against the Golden Eagles, scoring 97 points. It was a balanced attack as 6 Lady Bears scored in double figures, led by16 from Alexis Prince. They shot over 53% from the field Monday night, and dominated the glass 47-36. Currently ranked 5th in the country, this could be a special Lady Bears team. They have transfer Alexis Jones finally healthy, and with newcomers Kalani Brown and Beatrice Mompremier giving the Bears needed height and depth in the paint, this might be one of the most well-rounded teams Mulkey has had the past few years.
Nina Davis is the star, buy Niya Johnson, Prince and Jones are all capable of leading this team. Connecticut is the heavy favorite right now to defend their championship, but watch out for these Lady Bears.
5. Ranking the Big 12 (Football)
- Oklahoma - The last 5 games, they have averaged 55.2 points per game. The most complete team in the Big 12 right now, as they look to makea big push to the College Football Playoffs.
- Oklahoma State - The Cowboys are the lone unbeaten left in the Big 12, with tests against Baylor and OU up next.
- Baylor - The Bears are beaten up as they head into the second leg of the November trilogy against OSU. Can they find enough health to win in Stillwater for the first time in a lifetime?
- TCU - Things are falling apart for TCU, as Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson are both banged up and very questionable for the game against OU this weekend.
- West Virginia - A tough win against Texas gets the Mountaineers a much needed win. Don't be surprised if the Mountaineers win out and get into the Top-25. They have the three bottom Big 12 teams left on their schedule.
- Texas Tech - They won a shootout, surprise there, against Kansas State. They have allowed 466 points this year, the most in the Big 12.
- Texas - With just 4 wins, the Longhorns need to win out against Texas Tech and Baylor to get bowl eligible.
- Iowa State - The Cyclones were so close to another Oklahoma State Spoiler. They shift in offensive philsophy is paying off for the Cyclones with sophomore QB Joel Lanning and frehman RB Mike Warren leading the way.
- Kansas State - Still winless in Big 12 play, they get their best shot at a win with a trip to Kansas up this weekend.
- Kansas - The Jayhawks have TCU's number. Two years in a row, they were the better team, but failed to secure the huge upset either year. Consolation victories are all that KU has right now.