Big 12 Football Pick
While this isn't a conference championship game, it still should be a very fun one to watch. No one is talking about Oklahoma State being four-point favorites on the road at Baylor. It's all about the over/under. It's up to 86.5. While that number looks high, it actually makes sense. The Cowboys and Bears are two of the highest scoring teams in the nation with each scoring about 45 points per game. Included in that, Baylor has one of the worst defenses in the country allowing close to 40 points per game while OK State's is slightly better at about 30 points per game. The over has hit four straight times for the Cowboys and three straight times for the Bears.
Here's the thing, no one can stop either one of these offenses as seen when these teams played Oklahoma and Kansas State (two of the better defenses in the Big 12). What's going to happen when two of the worst defenses in the conference play against two of the best offenses? We could have another 133-point game on our hands, a la Baylor-West Virginia.
So who's going to score all these points then? The senior QB that took over for Robert Griffin III is who. Nick Florence has surpassed anyone's expectations this year at Baylor and that's what a pass-first offense does to you. Florence has 3,825 yards (fourth-most in country) this season to go with 30 TDs. He also has 13 interceptions, but that's what comes with slinging the ball so much. In addition, he can move around in the pocket which shows in his eight rushing touchdowns. Terrance Williams has been on the end of most of Florence's passes, racking up 89 grabs for 1,693 yards (leads nation) and 12 TDs. He has had 100 yards in all but three games this year. That's what you call dominant. With all that said, the main reason they have won two straight games against Kansas State and Texas Tech is because of their running game. Both Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk have destroyed opposing defenses because they are so focused on Florence and Williams. Over the past two games, the two RBs have combined for 532 rushing yards and six touchdowns. That is devastating to opposing defenses and may be a reason some people will look to the under in this game.
Baylor has actually played better defense lately, giving up 14 points to Kansas and 24 to Kansas State. They also played Oklahoma tough, losing 42-34, which may be another reason to take the under.
Another possible reason is because the Cowboys like to run the ball. Joseph Randle has been the only mainstay in the OK State offense this year as their quarterback situation hasn't been the greatest. Randle continues to pound the ball and has 1,212 yards for the year along with 14 TDs. He actually had 24 rushing TDs last year, but he doesn't have as many this season because other guys are getting more goal line carries. Clint Chelf is currently the starting QB and he's done okay. He isn't that much more impressive than Wes Lunt or J.W. Walsh, but he's held on to the starting gig for four straight games now. No matter who's at QB, Josh Stewart has been the favorite receiver all year. He has 55 more receptions and 479 more yards than the next highest receiver if that says anything. No matter, the Cowboys will likely try and use Randle has much as possible to keep the Baylor offense at bay. This may be another possible reason to take the under.
In their meeting last year, the Cowboys dominated 59-24 even though Baylor outgained them yardage wise. OK State covered that game as 14.5-point favorites (the O/U pushed at 83) and has covered six straight games in this series. All of those games had a point spread of more than a touchdown.
The Cowboys are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games, but 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Bears are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 home games and 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. OK State is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings, but the home team is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 matchups. The over is a ridiculous 21-4-1 in Baylor's last 26 games overall, but surprisingly the under is 20-7-1 in the Cowboys last 28 road games. In this series, the under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings between these schools.
Our model predicts a total of anywhere from 103 to 108 total points scored in this one with Oklahoma State on top by a touchdown. But anytime you have a game where so many points will be scored by both teams, you have to consider taking the dog. We also think last weeks last second loss to the Sooners will deflate Oklahoma State. Baylor +4.5 and over 86.5