Because it is homecoming, because the Bears are coming off a disappointing loss to Iowa State, and because it is midseason and with a 3-3 record, Baylor's players realize they need three wins out of the next six games that include road games at Missouri and Texas A&M, a neutral site game with Texas Tech, and home games with OSU, Nebraska, and Texas. The Bears realize they better get cracking.
Meanwhile, for the Cowboys this is a trap game between their homecoming with Missouri and a potential showdown game with Texas at the Boone. That showdown doesn't measure up unless the Cowboys handle their business.
There are a couple of factors working in the Cowboys favor. First, two starters, senior cornerback Perrish Cox and safety Victor Johnson, are from Waco. They will impart on their teammates how important this "homecoming" is for them.
Second, and even more advantageous, is that the Cowboys are without Dez Bryant, and while Kendall Hunter is expected to make the trip he will likely play little, if any at all. That keeps the Cowboys humble and knowing they still have a lot to prove even to themselves. As head coach Mike Gundy said this week they cannot take anything for granted.
1. Oklahoma State run offense
vs. Baylor defensive front seven and Jordan Lake
I asked Young if the game with Texas A&M against a big quarterback that prefers to throw like Jerrod Johnson was good preparation for a Missouri offense quarterbacked by another pass jumbo quarterback in Blaine Gabbert. Young said every game this season was good preparation for the rest of the season. Sure it is, you get better every game or at least you are supposed to.
That leads us to this match up, the OSU running game versus the Baylor front seven. Teams have run on Baylor a bunch the last two weeks with defensive tackle Phil Taylor out nursing a turf toe. With Taylor or not, and knowing that Baylor will employ a lot of eight men in the box defenses (that is where the hard-hitting safety Lake comes in) the Cowboys need to exert their will and run.
Texas will be much tougher to run on next week, yet the Cowboys had better be ready to get it done. It would be great if home run hitter and master of the shifty hips Kendall Hunter could get some carries. This game should be great preparation for Texas. It had better not become a let down before Texas.
Edge: Oklahoma State but not by a lot.
There are no rules against taking advantage of other team's misfortune. There is also the thought that at some time the NCAA will allow Dez Bryant to come back, and when he does there won't be as many reps and certainly not as many opportunities to catch the ball for the Cowboy receivers as there are right now.
The Cowboy wide receivers have played hungry and they need to keep it up. As the coaches would say they are not the finished product yet and they need all the experience they can get.
Edge: Oklahoma State
vs. Baylor offensive line
The Baylor offensive line, in my opinion, is solid and center J.D. Walton is an outstanding player. This is a "golden" (pardon the pun) opportunity to get better. Use it!
Edge: Oklahoma State by a little, but hopefully getting better throughout the game.
This Week's Games
@Nebraska 28 Iowa State 20
Oklahoma 38, @Kansas 14
@Texas Tech 70, Texas A&M 21
@Kansas State 27, Colorado 24
Texas 34, @Missouri 20
Last Week's Games
Texas 28, Oklahoma 16 @Dallas
Texas Tech 45, @Nebraska 20
Kansas 41, @Colorado 27
Texas A&M 38, @Kansas State 17
Baylor 20, @Iowa State 17
@Oklahoma State 37, Missouri 28
Note: Games involving FCS teams do not have lines