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Oklahoma vs. Baylor Pick with Analysis
Things are always exciting for Baylor (6-3). Why? Just tune in and watch QB Robert Griffin III and the question will answer itself. This team started off the year with a big win over TCU and has stayed on nicely to over perform so far in 2011. They now face a huge challenge in the form of Oklahoma (8-1). The Sooners are a -15 point road favorite at Betonline with a total of 75.
Most of the college football world wants to know: How did the Sooners possibly lose to Texas Tech? That team has yet to win since pulling that huge upset. The Sooners have rebounded to two in a row including a crushing 58-17 win over Kansas State.
The Sooners are led by QB Landry Jones. The junior slinger has passed for 3,349 yards and 29 TDs in 2011. He had 5 TD passes and 505 yards against Kansas State. That is just downright explosive. When the Oklahoma offense clicks, they are scary good. RB Dominique Whaley is another key cog. He's grinded for 627 yards and 9 TDs so far this year.
The Bears of Baylor struggled to beat Kansas last week (looking ahead?), but they have shown us they can beat good teams by downing TCU and Missouri. Neither of those teams is on the level of the Sooners though. Baylor will have to limit mistakes and bring their "A" game to win here. Their running game needs to click and that will start with Terrance Ganaway. He's averaging a whopping 6.0 YPC and has been to the end zone 10 times in 2011.
The defensive side of the ball should decide this one. Specifically, Oklahoma has a defense while Baylor does not. Against common opponents Oklahoma is 4-0 outscoring those teams by a 46-22 margin. Two were blowouts, one a 16 point win and one a 10 point win. Baylor was 2-2 against those teams. The wins were by 3 and 1 point, the losses by 1 and 27 as they lost to Texas AM 55-28. The average score for Baylor against those common opponents was 34-40.
The yards per point numbers show us this as well. Oklahoma 12 on offense and 18 on defense. Very good on both sides of the ball. Baylor is a 14 on offense and a 12.7 on defense. Not so good.
We are always, always, always, leery of laying big numbers against teams like Baylor. Any team with the offensive punch like Baylor has, is always a threat to your wallet when wagering against them, as Texas Tech proved. As a handicapper, you can nail the game and have your team up by 3 touchdowns, only to have your team give up a last minute garbage touchdown as you watch your money fly out the window while your team wins but fails to cover.
Baylor is no lame duck. There's plenty of added incentive here. This is a National TV game to be seen on ABC. Fantastic exposure for Baylor. Even a good game in a losing effort here will do wonders for their recruiting efforts. They are also trying to position themselves for the best possible bowl game possible. At 6 wins, they'll need a couple more for a "real" bowl game. They also have to look at the fact that Texas Tech was able to knock off the Sooners which should give them plenty of confidence in their ability to pull the upset.
But make no mistake, Oklahoma is the superior team. Our score prediction model has the Sooners winning by a score of 57-32. That score prediction is not unlike the results of last years game, a 53-24 Sooner win. For that matter, it's not unlike the majority of the scores in this series. Baylor has never beaten Oklahoma going 0-20 in 20 tries.
Without a doubt this will be the best chance Baylor has ever had to pull the upset, and likely the last chance with Griffin likely on his way to the NFL next year. A cover, or even a straight up Baylor win would not shock us here, especially when you factor in the additional motivators such as playing at home in prime time before the entire country. But we can't ignore the talent gap that has existed here for many years. Oklahoma -15
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