Big 12 Championship Preview: No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 9 Baylor
The regular season has wrapped up for College Football and only the top teams in each conference remain. For the Big 12, it will be a rematch between No. 5 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Baylor.
Baylor was able to reach the championship with a win over Texas Tech after a missed field goal by the Red Raiders as time expired.
Oklahoma State clinched their spot in the championship with a big win over No. 10 Oklahoma. This will mark the first time since 2015 that Oklahoma will not be the Big 12 champion.
The two teams faced off in Week 5 and the Cowboys came out victorious by a score of 24-14.
The key in this matchup will be Oklahoma State’s defense against the rushing attack of Baylor. The Bears are led by running back Abram Smith who averages 227.4 rushing yards per game.
Oklahoma State’s defense only allows 91.5 rushing yards per game. In the first game, the Cowboys held the Bears to 107 yards rushing. The Bears will rely heavily on their rushing attack, and they face a tall task with a red-hot Cowboys defense.
A big storyline for the Baylor offense will be if its starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon can play this weekend. Bohanon injured his hamstring in Baylor’s game against Kansas State two weeks ago and missed their game against Texas Tech.
If Bohanon is unable to play, freshman quarterback Blake Shapen will get the start. Shapen played well for the Bears in his first start this season throwing for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 20 completions. He lacks the dual-threat capability that Bohanon has, but he has a great arm.
On the other side of the ball for Oklahoma State is quarterback Spencer Sanders and running back Jaylen Warren. In the Week 5 matchup, Warren carried the Cowboys to a win with 125 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. Warren was able to make up for Sanders’ three interceptions in the game.
As of late, Sanders has picked up his play and been a huge catalyst for the Cowboys’offense. Sanders did throw two interceptions against the Sooners, but he led Oklahoma State in rushing with 93 yards and a touchdown. Both Warren and Sanders came up clutch for the Cowboys in their win over the Sooners as they each rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
For Baylor, they will need to force a few turnovers in this contest if they want a shot at knocking off the Cowboys. On the other hand, Oklahoma State will look to limit their turnovers and stop the Bears’ rushing attack.
This game has big implications for the College Football Playoff. In this week’s rankings, Baylor slid one spot to No. 9 and Oklahoma State jumped to No. 5.
An Oklahoma State victory could mean a playoff berth for the Cowboys, but a loss would keep them out. For Baylor, a win could potentially earn them a spot in the playoff, but it will at minimum secure their spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
The best time of year for College Football fans has arrived as the conference championships take place and the College Football Playoff shapes up. All eyes should be on this Big 12 championship game and the other conference championship games this week as we wait and see how the playoff rankings unfold.
Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.