1. After a demoralizing loss to Texas, then a complete destruction by TCU this past weekend, the Baylor Bears head up to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Big 12 leading Sooners. While both teams have two, the ways they got there and the place both of these teams are at right now could not be any more different.
Oklahoma comes into the game on a 6-game winning streak, beating those teams by an average of 17 points per game. They have scored 48.5 points per game in that stretch and come into the game playing as well as any offense in the nation. Even without their two top running backs in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, the Sooners still were able to escape Ames, IA and the pesky cyclones last week.
This week, Mixon is back from suspension, while Perine is getting closer to returning from injury. This is a motivated Oklahoma squad that has found its rhythm offensively after struggling in losses to Houston and Ohio State to open the year.
2. The Bears defense has not seen an offense this talented yet, not even close. This is statistically the 2nd best offense in the nation, according to S&P+. The Baylor defense just made a struggling Kenny Hill and a hobbled Kyle Hicks look like All-Americans, it now gets to see actual All-Americans in Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine, if he is healthy.
Even if Perine is unable to go, sophomore Joe Mixon is more than capable of dominating the Bears soft run defense. Mixon actually leads OU in rushing yards, and yards per game. He is averaging 6.83 yards per rush and already has 5 touchdowns. That is even before you account for his abilities in the passing game, where he might even be more dangerous out of the backfield.
When you add in the running threat of quarterback Baker Mayfield and his ability to keep plays live and find open receivers down the field, this might be one of the most talented backfield in college football.
3. Oklahoma's pass offense has gotten a huge boost in recent weeks, with the dominant play of senior wide receiver Dede Westbrook. During OU's 6-game winning streak, he has been the best receiver in the nation, averaging 169 yards receiving per game to go along with 12 touchdowns during that stretch.
He is a legitimate star at the receiver position, and a guy that Sooners move around quite a bit. He lines up outside, in the slot, and even comes through the backfield in motion on sweeps. He is a big-play threat as well, averaging over 20 yards per catch in those last 6-games and he is opening up everything else in the passing game as well. They don't have a lot of other big weapons outside of Westbrook, but they have guys capable of making
4. As explosive and dangerous as the Sooners offense has been, is about as bad as the defense for Oklahoma has played in 2016. They are allowing over 31 points per game, with four games of 40-points or more scored on them. Opposing offenses are gaining 5.67 yards per play on the Sooners, almost 1 whole yard more than they allowed in 2015. They have struggled with big plays (twenty-two 30+ yard scrimmage plays allowed, 86th in the nation) and have not done well on third down (110th in conversion % allowed).
Their run defense has been sturdy for most of the year, while they are allowing the 2nd most passing yards per game in the Big 12 (122nd nationally) at just under 300 yards per game. That is skewed by the 734 yard game by Texas Tech and Pat Mahomes, but TCU threw for 445 yards against them earlier in the year.
They are allowing 5.09 points per drive inside their own 40-yard line, 118th in the nation, and only have 5 interceptions on the season. This is a pass defense ripe for big plays down the field and across the middle. The Sooners are -5 in turnovers on the season and have forced just 9 turnovers this year (109th in the nation).
5. Does any of this matter? Oklahoma is a very good team. They had two tough losses to start the year (at Houston and Ohio State in Norman) but have rebounded well and are playing themselves into a Big 12 title. But if the Bears don't respond with urgency, and a lot more everything from what Baylor fans saw against TCU, none of this matter. Do the Baylor Bears want to play football? Do they want to win?
After Saturday afternoon, those can legitimately be questioned from the coaching staff all the way down to the towel boys and team managers. If the Bears "show up" like they did against the Frogs, this will be an ugly loss, and that might be kind. The Bears are a talented team, and one capable of beating Oklahoma, if they really want to.