Happy Homecoming to everybody and I have to admit I have a special spot in my heart for the decorations at the SAE house as my daughter's house, Theta, partnered with them for Homecoming.
I do love Homecoming and the festivities. Of course, I really love the game and you will notice all of my key match-ups involve the very potent Baylor offense and the very opportunistic Cowboy defense. The reason for that is I really feel like the Cowboys offense will have their way with Baylor's defense. Whether this game is close or not, will depend on what the Bears offense can accomplish, without turning the ball over, against the Oklahoma State defense.
Blatnick is playing at an All-Big 12 level and Richetti Jones is serving as a pretty good sidekick. In the meantime, Ryan Robinson and Wilson Youman are also playing well and this week you can bank on Cooper Bassett being back in action at defensive end. I think Baylor's left tackle Cyril Richardson is a Jeckyll-Hyde type player. On some plays he is a Jeckyll and will knock the heck out of you, while on others Hyde comes out and he somewhat hides. Ivory Wade is solid at the right tackle, but not dominating. They are helped by Griffin's athleticism and mobility, which keeps players that win the battle up front from finishing the play. This is a key battle to contain Griffin.
Advantage: Edge to OSU defensive ends Blatnick and Jones
The Bears move Kendall Wright around a lot and in twins and trips it is easy to almost hide him and make it hard for the defense to isolate a cover guy on him. You can bet Oklahoma State will be in a lot of zone coverages with the hope that Wright runs his routes into zones with the corners there. They will get the ball to Wright in smash, drag, curl, hitch, bubble and several other routes. He is going to catch balls and the key is not to let him make anymore yards after the catch.
Advantage: Edge to Wright
Kansas State used their middle linebacker Arthur Brown to "spy" Griffin and it worked well, especially late in the game when Brown expecting a slant hid behind his defensive end and then popped out to intercept the pass and set up the winning score. Lewis would make a good spy, if OSU decides to go that route, but they likely won't. Still, Oklahoma State defenders will be responsible for tracking and containing Griffin. He is really good at throwing on the run and remember he scrambles to throw and not to run, so defensive backs must stay back in coverage leaving the job on Griffin to the front and in this case, the linebackers.
Advantage: Edge to Griffin
Last year Oklahoma State led at halftime 24-0 and then scored the first 10 points in the third quarter to go up 34-0 before allowing Baylor to come off the canvas and make anything happen. A repeat of that would be nice, but it isn't likely. You have to expect both teams will make big plays offensively. In the end, Oklahoma State will make more, hopefully a bunch more. Eventually, the Cowboys should take control. Baylor is great in a shootout and game where you trade drives. If you can go up by multiple scores then it becomes easier. That is what happened at Texas A&M. On the other hand, the Kansas State game went down to the wire. It was exciting but nerve wracking. OSU will run and pass with equal success and the game will be comfortable with a multi-score lead by halftime.
No. 3 Oklahoma State 55, Baylor 31
Big 12 Predictions
@ No. 16 Texas A&M 35, Missouri 24
No. 11 Oklahoma 34 @ No. 10 Kansas State 17
@Texas 52, Kansas 28
@ No. 19 Texas Tech 48, Iowa State 21
Straight Up: 38-11
Against the Spread: 28-13
Not all games have point spreads as games versus FCS opponents do not.
Straight Up: 3-1 Against the Spread: 3-1
No. 6 Oklahoma State 45 @ Missouri 27
No. 16 Kansas State 31 @ Kansas 20
No. 18 Texas A&M 38 @ Iowa State 12
@ No. 1 Oklahoma 48, Texas Tech 27