OSU-Baylor Matchups & Prediction

Just in case you're wondering, the Cowboys have not forgotten last year in Waco. Baylor ended a nine-game OSU winning streak in the series and officially ended the Cowboys bowl hopes with a 44-34 win. One Cowboy veteran player said the key for Saturday is not to focus on this win being the sixth and making the Cowboys bowl eligible, but remembering this is Baylor and focusing on beating the Bears.

This is also another comeback week for Oklahoma State, after a less than their best performance against fourth-ranked Texas in Austin last weekend. The Cowboys have bounced back with a win following each of their Big 12 losses so far this season. Thus, they have practice at getting the result they are looking for Saturday.

For Baylor this is an attitude game. The Bears bowl hopes are up against the wall. They are playing week two without starting quarterback Shawn Bell, lost for the season with an ACL knee injury. The question is will the Bears fight like their name suggests or have they packed it in for 2006.

OSU Secondary vs. Baylor Wide Receivers
Baylor has a talented duo in Trent Shelton and Dominique Zeigler as they have set the single-season record for a Baylor pass catching duo. If either one gets man coverage it is virtually automatic they are streaking downfield. The Cowboy secondary is coming off a Texas game that saw them burned at least four times in man coverage, three for touchdowns. The culprits were corners Jacob Lacey and freshman Perrish Cox. No doubt those two, and all of the OSU secondary, got plenty of reps covering passes this week. Baylor in its first year in the Mike Leach copycat offense represents the undergraduate test. Graduate school comes next week on the trip to Lubbock.
Edge: Baylor

OSU Offensive Line vs. Baylor Defensive Front
The Bears have been victimized plenty by the run this season and rank dead last in the Big 12 in rushing defense allowing 167 yards a game. They are also last in total defense allowing 397 yards a game. Guess where they rank in sacks? Bet you guessed it -- last again with only 11 sacks in 10 games compared to the Cowboys 30 sacks in nine contests. If the Oklahoma State offensive line does its typical job on Saturday and Baylor plays the way they've been playing, even a little better, this should be a huge advantage for the Cowboys.
Edge: OSU

OSU Defensive vs. Baylor Quarterback
The Cowboys are facing a young quarterback in Baylor's Blake Syzmanski, but don't get too cocky. The 6-4, 205-pounder has a strong arm, better wheels than his predecessor in Shawn Bell, and with a start under his belt last week at Texas Tech he should improve. That said, Baylor has cut its offense down to make it simpler and the Cowboys have had a chance to study it and Syzmanski. This will be a far cry from facing Peyton Manning Jr. last week in Texas standout Colt McCoy. The Cowboys, with a veteran front, have to be smart enough and strong enough to confuse Syzmanski and then hit him and hit him hard. Turnovers would be a nice addition as well.
Edge: OSU

OSU Punt Return Unit vs. Baylor Punt Unit
A good best on best battle. No, Daniel Sepulveda isn't leading the Big 12 in punting, the Cowboys Matt Fodge is. However, Baylor is a close second to Texas in net punt numbers and the Cowboys with thrill-a-second Perrish Cox are tops in punt returns. Baylor averages giving up 7.3 yards per opposing return. The Cowboys average 15.4 yards a punt return. Something will have to give. The edge goes to OSU here because we believe that Sepulveda may outkick his coverage a couple of time and give Cox the room you can't afford to give him to work a big return.
Edge: OSU

The Cowboys are favored by 16 points by the people that make those spreads up. Honestly, I think it may be too much. I know it will be too much if Baylor comes into Stillwater looking for a fight. If they are looking to go through the motions then 16 points may look silly when it is over. I believe the Bears will bring it, but so will the Cowboys and at the Boone a good old fashioned OSU-Baylor battle seems to always go to the Cowboys.
OSU 31, Baylor 17

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