GoPokes TV: OSU-Baylor Key Matchups

Anna-Marie Ahrberg and Robert Allen visit about the key matchups for Saturday night's game between No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Baylor.

This very well could be the greatest game atmosphere in the history of Lewis Field or Boone Pickens Stadium. The best football game atmosphere in the history of Oklahoma State University and Stillwater, Okla.

How can we say that with all of the other great game days and nights that we've experienced on this campus? The reason is there has never been a game that has meant more with the result than this one. A November matchup of two top-10 teams, one perfect at 10-0 and the other 8-1 and the two-time defending Big 12 champion.

A trip to the second annual College Football Playoff rests on the result. Oklahoma State is in the running, Baylor is on the fringe and likely out but could still win the Big 12 championship.

If Oklahoma State wins then be careful how much you stuff yourself next Thursday because the greatest football atmosphere and the most meaningful game in OSU history is on tap for Bedlam on Saturday. It is football playoff time in Oklahoma and the Pokes are two games away from playing in the College Football Playoff and a chance to being a national champion.

Key Matchups
Oklahoma State DE #38 Emmanuel Ogbah
vs. Baylor LT #58 Spencer Drango 
Two definite NFL Draft first-round selections go at each other. I have no doubt that Ogbah will line up on both sides, but remember when he is lined up opposite sides from Drango that may be when he has the greatest chance of running into the Baylor behemoth that is 6-6 and 320 pounds. Baylor majors in blocking so many of its plays and all its zone action with the dart scheme where they pull the tackle across and use him to load the attack point. I give Drango a size and strength edge, but not much as Ogbah is pretty strong. Ogbah definitely has the speed and agility advantage but again Drango is athletic for such a big guy. Treat yourself and have the discipline to watch these two battle on several plays and ignore following the ball.    
Oklahoma State QB #2 Mason Rudolph
vs. Baylor DS #28 Orion Stewart or #26 Taion Sells                             
Baylor is one of the best defenses in the country at defending the long pass and Mason Rudolph and Oklahoma State's talented receivers are one of the best offenses at completing the deep ball. The "X-factor" here could be the Bears deep safety Orion Stewart and his injury situation as he could miss the game and pass on some pretty heavy responsibility to backup Taion Sells. The Bears love to sit in their quarters coverage and they are good at it. Rudolph is exceptional as a young quarterback at getting through reads and while they don't get the publicity of Baylor standout receivers like Corey Coleman and Kd Cannon they are talented and athletic. This will be a key deciding issue. Oklahoma State needs to connect on big throws to win.    
Oklahoma State OC #71 Brad Lundblade
vs. Baylor NT #75 Andrew Billings 
Give Baylor the advantage here and the hope is that with some help that Lundblade, a brand new All-Academic Big 12 performer, can do some outsmarting in blocking Billings. He will need some double team help from his guards, and it could help if defensive tackle Beau Blackshear is out with a knee injury as suspected. Forget the very tall and impressive Shawn Oakman at defensive end. He is good, but Billings is the best defensive lineman in the Big 12. I know I love Ogbah too, but Billings plays at nose and he is so good and so disruptive that I have to give him an edge. It is a Billings that gives ends and linebackers the license to make their plays. That's why I respect Vincent Taylor for OSU as he is developing into that really nasty and disruptive defensive tackle. Control Billings and OSU will be able to have success on offense.  
OSU-Baylor Prediction
Honestly, I feel pretty good about the matchup. Baylor is going to do what it does. On offense, the Bears are going to block most plays, especially their zone package with "dart" blocking as they pull the tackle and bring him across. They will run and pass and misdirect out of it as it has become a staple in their system. When they go heavy they will run the middle. They will line up in trips and mix up screens and verticals and exchange or rub routes and frustrate the Cowboys secondary. It is what they do. On defense, their coordinator Phil Bennett will run his 4-2-5 and will blitz a linebacker and a safety at times. He will mostly run quarters (cover 4) behind all of that. It is what they do and they do it well. I just think in Stillwater the Cowboys will have confidence and will play really well and come out with a hard fought win. Nothing will be easy. Keep an eye on Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham and whether he starts and how effective he plays. A back injury is a real issue for any player and especially a quarterback.       
No. 10 Baylor 31, @ No. 6 Oklahoma State 39

Big 12 Predictions
Last Week: (Straight Up) 4-1 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point  spreads) 2-3
Season: (Straight Up) 56-8 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point  spreads) 32-27-1
Iowa State 28, @ Kansas State 24

West Virginia 45, @ Kansas 20  

No. 18 TCU 24, @ No. 7 Oklahoma 38

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