coleryan Posts:20887 Followers:24
On 11/03/2013 08:52 AM in NCAA Football

Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears: Preview and Pick

Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears: Preview and Pick

The undefeated Baylor Bears have one of the best offenses in all of college football, but they have yet to face a real test on the football field until now. This week on Thursday night college football, the Bears will host the top ranked Oklahoma Sooners and a victory would send a clear message to the rest of the college football world that this team is legitimate.

Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears Odds

The college football odds for this game have Baylor listed as nine point favorites. This may seem a bit steep but it is based on the fact that Bears offense is so explosive. Since this is a Thursday night prime time game, the line will surely move so check out your top rated online sportsbook for the latest point spread leading up to kickoff.

The Bears have hung at least 70 on the scoreboard four times in seven games, and have 69- and 59-point performances. One final score, though, sticks out like a sore thumb: A 35-25 win Oct. 12 at Kansas State, which used a ball-control, run-heavy offensive that could provide Oklahoma an upset model Thursday in Waco.When the Sooners face No. 6 Baylor, they likely will have to choice between to two strategies to counter one of the nation's most prolific offenses: Keep up or keep away.

To this point, no one has been able to hang with the Bears’ firepower. Baylor leads the nation with averages of 63.9 points and 718.4 offensive yards per game. Quarterback Bryce Petty has thrown 18 touchdown passes and one interception. That gives the Sooners option to try and outscore or keep the ball away from Baylor if they hope to win.

The college football betting trends for this game reveal that the Bears will be trying to beat the Sooners who have owned them over the years. Baylor is 2-7 against the spread (ATS) in its last 9 games when playing at home against Oklahoma, 1-8 straight up in its last 9 games when playing at home against Oklahoma and 1-16 straight up in its last 17 games when playing Oklahoma. The total has gone over in 6 of Baylor's last 7 games and the total has gone over in 4 of Oklahoma's last 6 games when playing on the road against Baylor. All trends indicate this could be a high scoring game between two talented teams.

Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 3-2-1
coleryan Posts:20887 Followers:24
11/04/2013 04:41 PM

It's no secret that Alabama head coach Nick Saban isn't a fan of spread offenses.

So we're guessing Saban won't like what he sees when he settles in for the biggest Thursday night in college football history in recent years, when two of the country's remaining seven unbeaten teams face their most difficult tests to date. No. 6 Baylor hosts No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 3 Oregon plays at No. 5 Stanford.

Both games figure to go a long way in determining the Big 12 and Pac-12 titles, as well as the BCS national championship race.

From coast to coast, inquiring minds want to know if the Sooners and Cardinal can slow down the country's most prolific offenses, which nobody has done yet this season. The Bears lead the country in scoring offense with 63.9 points per game; the Ducks are No. 2 with 55.6 points.

Until now, the two teams have put up mind-boggling numbers against mostly less-than-stellar defenses. The six FBS foes that Baylor has faced this season have an average rank of 73 in scoring defense; Oregon's seven FBS foes have an average rank of 84.

Both the Sooners and Cardinal rank among the top 20 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 18.8 points and 19.4, respectively.

Finally, we're about to find out if Baylor and Oregon are on record-setting paces on offense because of inferior competition or really good systems and execution.

"Everybody's going to love you or hate you," Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk said. "Everybody that hates you is going to hate you because we're putting up ridiculous numbers and we don't play in the SEC. We didn't say anything when Alabama was playing teams we've never heard of."

There are myriad similarities between the Bears and Ducks, from their offenses to their homegrown coaches to their vast wardrobes. Both offenses like to play really fast and are equally adept at running and passing. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, a first-time starter, leads FBS quarterbacks with a 95.3 adjusted-for-competition QBR rating; Oregon's Marcus Mariota is No. 2 at 94.9. Seastrunk, an Oregon transfer, ranks No. 11 nationally in rushing with 124.1 yards per game; Ducks sophomore Byron Marshall is 22nd with 109.9 yards per game.

Baylor has two receivers -- Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese -- who rank in the top 50 nationally in receiving yards; Oregon has two receivers -- Bralon Addison and Josh Huff -- who rank in the top 50 in receiving touchdowns.

Both offenses prefer to work at a frenetic pace. Baylor averages 79.3 offensive plays per game; Oregon averages 78.1.

Which offense is faster?

"That's Oregon," Seastrunk said. "This is Baylor. I believe our pace is a little bit faster."

And through the first seven games of the season, Baylor's offense has been a little more potent, too. The Bears scored 70 points or more in four games and 59 or more in all but one. Baylor is on pace to break nearly a dozen NCAA single-season records, including:

• Most offensive yards per game, which was set by Houston in 1989 with 624.9 yards. Baylor is averaging 718.4 yards of offense per game and surpassed 700 yards in all but two contests. The Bears set a Big 12 record with 864 yards in a 73-42 win over West Virginia on Oct. 5. Oregon also is on pace to break the NCAA record with 632.1 yards of offense per game.

• The Bears are on pace to finish the season with 9,339 yards of offense in 13 games, almost 1,000 yards more than the NCAA single-season record of 8,387 set by Houston in 14 games in 2011. The Ducks are on pace to finish with 8,949 yards of offense in 14 games.

• Baylor is averaging 9.1 yards per offensive play, which is higher than the NCAA record of 8.6 yards per play set by Hawaii in 2006. The Ducks are averaging 8.1 yards per play.

• The Bears are on pace to break the NCAA record of 56 points per game, set by the 1944 Army team, which won a national championship and featured future Heisman Trophy winners Felix "Doc" Blanchard and Glenn Davis. Baylor is on pace to score 830 points, which would shatter the NCAA 13-game record of 652 points set by Texas in 2005 and even the 14-game record of 716 points set by Oklahoma in 2008.

• The Bears set an NCAA record with a team pass efficiency rating of 191.2 in 2011; their rating is a whopping 207.1 this year. Baylor also is averaging 13.3 yards per pass attempt and 19.6 yards per completion, which also would set new NCAA records.

Don't leave your seat Thursday night. You don't know what you might miss.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 3-2-1
coleryan Posts:20887 Followers:24
11/05/2013 01:01 PM

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty watched from the sidelines as a backup on that November night here in 2011, when, at long last, college football fate smiled on the Bears.

Robert Griffin III found Terrance Williams for a 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left to give Baylor its first win over mighty Oklahoma in 21 tries. Baylor 45, OU 38. The win helped RG3 win the Heisman Trophy, and it set the program up to play in showcase games like Thursday night’s, when BCS No. 10 Sooners (7-1, 4-1) visit No. 6 Baylor (7-0, 4-0).

It’s the first game between top-10 teams at Floyd Casey Stadium since 1956 and just the third ever for Baylor at home.

“For me it was the moment this program changed,” Petty said of the 2011 OU game. “That’s when we knew we could play with anybody. … It was the first time where it was a hyped environment, and we pulled through. It’s going to be an exciting atmosphere (Thursday), kind of like 2011. And hopefully with the same result.”

Baylor was ranked No. 25 in 2011, with three losses entering the game against No. 5 OU. The Bears are undefeated now, playing their first ranked opponent of the season, looking to silence doubters who point to a weak early schedule.

On the scale of where the matchup ranks among big games, it depended on whom in Green and Gold was asked on Monday — and for how long.

Running back Lache Seastrunk swore it was a typical game again and again. He said he watches cartoons — abstaining from ESPN — so he doesn’t fall pretty to big-head syndrome. But then he said if Baylor wins, he wants the fans to rush the field.

“If I score and the game is over,” he said, “I’m punting the ball in the stands and I’m jumping in the stands.”

Any ol’ game, huh?

Players have noticed students lining up on campus to buy black T-shirts to wear Thursday.

“Honestly, this is the most buzz I have ever seen on campus,” said senior running back Glasco Martin.

Petty said he planned on soaking up the excitement but preparing with the same mental focus as always.

One thing that will definitely be different Thursday is the tarp that usually covers about 3,500 seats in the south end zone will be removed because of demand for tickets. It’s gone for the season-ending game against Texas, too. It hasn’t been removed since 2006, when Texas A&M visited.

“Every time they said ‘sold-out stadium,’” said senior receiver Tevin Reese, “I thought it’s really not sold out because there’s seats under that tarp. When it gets taken off, it’s a very big deal. We’re going to try to give a show to the people sitting in the section where the tarp (was).”

Petty said that he loved coach Art Briles’ recent quote about Baylor “going tarp-less.”

“It’s not that we hate it,” Petty said of the tarp, which has been widely parodied and even showed up last week as a Halloween costume. “It’s just … the tarp signifies everything that was negative with Baylor. To take that tarp off, we’re going in a positive direction.”

Briles mostly avoided a big-picture take on the game’s significance.

“I don’t know the historical reference,” he said. “That’s the great thing about where I’m sitting and where our team is. Honestly, we’re in a box. You can’t allow yourself to get outside and get caught up in anything that has no direct reflection to how you’ll perform. If it is a historic situation, let’s do it again, and then do it again later on.”

Hey, win Thursday, and the Bears virtually guarantee the Oklahoma matchup won’t be its biggest of the season.

“There’s a good possibility there could be bigger ones,” Briles said.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 3-2-1
stormy1114 Posts:155 Followers:0
11/05/2013 05:07 PM

goo Baylor is alll I have to say!!!!!!!!!

coleryan Posts:20887 Followers:24
11/06/2013 03:26 PM

It'll be a long while before anyone forgets the last time Oklahoma played Baylor in Waco. The Sooners entered the game ranked #7 number seven in the nation and lost to Robert Griffin's unranked Bears squad 45-38. Griffin gave a performance that night that propelled him to the top of the Heisman race and history was made as Baylor scored their first ever victory over OU.

The Sooners will return to the scene of the crime on Thursday night and the task will be every bit as monumental as in was on that night in 2011, if not more so. Baylor features the nation's top-ranked scoring offense (63.9 PPG) and 6th ranked scoring defense (15.9 PPG).

Bryce Petty is torching opposing defenses by completing 69% of his passes for an average of 13.9 yards per reception. He's thrown for 2,453 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season, with just 1 interception and three sacks. His receiving corps is insanely good, with Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese each averaging over 23 yards per reception. They are the two leading receivers on the team have have caught eight touchdowns each. If there's a big play in the passing game, there's a solid chance that one of these two guys are involved.

"He's a tremendously accurate thrower. He's very smart, understands what they're trying to do and gets the ball out of his hands." - Mike Stoops on Bryce Petty

:Like most successful offenses, Baylor is fueled by a dominant offensive line. They are big upfront which makes them powerful but they also have quickness. The Bears have a team average of 6.3 yards per carry and have only seen their quarterback sacked three times in 176 passing attempt. Yeah, its safe to say that they're doing their job and doing it well.

Baylor's offense doesn't stop with the passing game though. They are just as potent on the ground as they are through the air. Lache Seastrunk is averaging 9.1 yards per carry and has eleven rushing touchdowns on 96 carries. Shock Linwood has carried the ball 55 times and is averaging 8.1 yards per carry. Defending the Bears isn't a matter of slowing them down or making them one dimensional. You can't do that! The only thing that an opposing defense can do is slow them down and try to dictate the pace.

In year's past, when Baylor's offense was explosive, opponents could stay in the game because of the poor Bears' defense. That doesn't seem to be the case with this season's Baylor team. They are the top defense in the Big Twelve in scoring, passing and running,

Opponents are only averaging three yards per carry against Baylor and the Bears have only given up six rushing touchdowns this season. Linebacker Bryce Hager is leading the way for the defense with a team high 58 total tackles. Safety Christ McAllister has a team high 5.5 sacks but he's followed closely by defensive end Jamal Palmer who has recorded four sacks on the season.

Pressure has helped the Bears climb to the top of the conference in passing defense. Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 44.3% of their passes against the Bears who have picked off opponents nine times while only giving up seven touchdowns through the air.

Eight Baylor defenders have picked off opposing quarterbacks this season and the Bears have dropped opponent signal callers for a total of 24 sacks.

To say that the Sooners must be at their absolute best on Thursday night would be the understatement of the year. This is a Baylor team like none before and while I doubt they're invincible, they're about as close as you can get to it.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 3-2-1
coleryan Posts:20887 Followers:24
11/06/2013 03:27 PM

Oklahoma is 7-1 on the season, its only loss coming in a 36-20 final against Texas in the annual Red River Rivalry matchup on Oct. 12. Since then, the Sooners have won two-in-a-row, the most recent being a 38-30 decision over previously unbeaten Texas Tech on Oct. 26. A win in this contest will give OU head coach Bob Stoops 157 career victories, tying Barry Switzer for the most in school history.

Baylor is 7-0 on the year, and the team is 4-0 in Big 12 play for the first time in history. The last time the Bears had an unbeaten league record this late was back in 1985 when they won their first five Southwest Conference bouts. A victory in this clash would make BU 8-0 for the first time ever, and extend its school-record winning streak to 12 games. The Bears have won their last eight home games, last losing in Waco on Oct. 13, 2012 (TCU).

Oklahoma has dominated the series with Baylor, winning 21 of the previous 22 meetings. In fact, since 1999 no Big 12 team owns more wins over another member of the conference than the Sooners do over the Bears (13).

Despite scoring half the number of points Baylor has this season, the Oklahoma offense has performed well in churning out 435 ypg. The Sooners present a pretty balanced attack in averaging 234 ypg on the ground and 201 ypg through the air, and they boast standout performers in RBs Brennan Clay (90 carries, 538 yards, three TDs) and Damien Williams (97 carries, 412 yards, five TDs), QB Blake Bell (113-of-177, 1,348 yards, 10 TDs, three INTs) and WRs Jalen Saunders (35 rec., 431 yards, five TDs) and Sterling Shepard (33 rec., 391 yards, five TDs).

As for the OU defense, it ranks as one of the tougher units in the conference in yielding only 18.8 points and 314.2 yards per contest -- the former ranking the team second in the Big 12, and the latter No. 1. The Sooners have been particularly strong defending the pass (179.5 ypg), although their effort against the run (134.8 ypg) has been solid as well. Unfortunately, the one area the team has faltered has been in the red zone, as foes are scoring on 88.9 percent of their visits there, that figure ranking OU last in the league. Frank Shannon paces the group with 53 tackles, while Charles Tapper has 4.5 sacks, and Gabe Lynn three interceptions.

Bell threw for 249 yards and two TDs, and Williams ran for 97 yards and a pair of scores to help Oklahoma hand Texas Tech its first loss of the season. Saunders was Bell's favorite target in the game, as he pulled down six balls for 153 yards and both scoring strikes. Oklahoma generated 526 yards of total offense, while converting half of its 14 third-down attempts and controlling the clock for more than 34 minutes.

The Red Raiders produced 460 yards, 388 of which came via the pass against the Sooners. But they turned the ball over three times and surrendered three sacks for a loss of 76 yards, thus leaving their net rushing total at just 72 yards. Lynn led the OU defense with nine tackles, seven of which were solo efforts, while three others logged eight stops.

Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel spoke recently about the prospect of facing such a prolific team (Baylor), on both sides of the ball, in one of the marquee matchups of the season.

"I think our guys are excited to play in a big ball game against a great opponent and play on the road," Heupel stated. "I think our guys look forward to that challenge. For the most part, we've played extremely well the past year and a half on the road and this will be a big test."

Baylor owns the top offense in the country, as the Bears average a gaudy 63.9 points and 718.4 yards per contest. To put those numbers in perspective, the second-best teams in the Big 12 put up 40.5 ppg (Oklahoma State) and 538.4 ypg (Texas Tech). BU boasts both the Big 12's leading rusher and passer, as RB Lache Seastrunk has carried the ball 96 times for 869 yards and 11 TDs, averaging an eye-popping 9.1 ypc in the process, while QB Bryce Petty has completed just shy of 70 percent of his passes for 2,453 yards with 18 TDs against only one interception. Antwan Goodley has been the primary beneficiary of Petty's exploits, logging 38 receptions for 894 yards and eight TDs, his 127.7 ypg ranking first in the league, while Tevin Reese is hot on his heels with 33 grabs for 824 yards and eight scores.

As well as the offense has played, the Baylor defense has been nearly as good. Foes are scoring just 15.9 ppg against the Bears, doing so on only 316.0 ypg -- the first ranking the team atop the conference, and the second placing it right behind league-leading Oklahoma. Their strength is against the pass (Big 12-best 177.3 ypg allowed), and they rank second in the conference in sacks (23). They also rank first in the league in red zone defense (.550), while allowing the fewest first downs of any Big 12 squad (117). Bryce Hager spearheads the unit with 58 tackles, Shawn Oakman has 12 of its 64 TFL, Chris McAllister five sacks, and Joe Williams a pair of picks.

Baylor was also last in action on Oct. 26 when it dismantled the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, 59-14. Petty threw for a career-high 430 yards and three TDs in less than three quarter of work, while Seastrunk rumbled his way to 109 yards and a score, helping the Bears pile up 743 yards of total offense -- their most ever in a road game. Reese caught four balls for 110 yards and two TDs, while Goodley was limited to two grabs for 43 yards.

Kansas tallied just 308 yards against the Baylor defense, getting equal production from both the run and pass (154 yards), averaging a mere 3.7 yards per offensive play. The Jayhawks claimed a near 15-minute advantage in time of possession, but converted only 8-of-22 third-down chances, scored on only one of two trips to the red zone, and surrendered three sacks to one of the Big 12's most ferocious defenses. Eddie Lackey and Ahmad Dixon recorded seven tackles each for the Bears, who also got three TFL from Jamal Palmer.

Despite all the hoopla surrounding his team this season, Baylor head coach Art Briles is proud of the way his guys have conducted themselves, and he looks forward to challenge of facing a very good Oklahoma team this week.

"The good thing about it is that we've been very mature with our leadership all year and with our players and when we looked at the schedule in August, we just see one game at a time and this is our game this week. It just happens to be bigger because of the way they've performed and the way we've performed up until this point. There's a good possibility there could be bigger ones, so we've just got to take care of business this Thursday."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 3-2-1
coleryan Posts:20887 Followers:24
11/07/2013 01:55 PM

Baylor was the laughing stock of the Big 12, stuck at the bottom of the league when coach Art Briles arrived six years ago.

What the No. 5 Bears are doing now is quite a reversal.

With their fast-paced offense that leads the nation at 63.9 points and 718.4 total yards per game, the Bears are outscoring opponents by an average margin of 48. They scored 69 in their season opener and have reached 70 points four times since.

Next up is arguably the most-anticipated game ever at Baylor, Thursday night at home against a No. 12 Oklahoma team that revamped its defense during the offseason because of matchups just like this one.

Baylor (7-0, 4-0) is the Big 12's only undefeated team and, with its highest ranking in 60 years, the only one in the top 10.

"I certainly think that people view us as a legitimate threat," Briles said. "Whether we're viewed as the perennial program that this is one that you better watch out for all the time, I don't know. Time will tell on that. But I do think now that we've earned enough respect where when people look at us, they're thinking that's a tough out."

While the Bears have a school-record 11-game winning streak, there is still a long way to go for a possible Big 12 title and BCS shot. They still have to play the rest of the teams in the top half of the league standings - Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas - and Thursday night's game presents a major challenge.

"From a realistic standpoint, we just feel like this season is just getting started," Briles said. "I know we've played seven games, but we're ready and willing and anxious to get into the grind time, get into where we're fighting and scraping for every single thing that's out there, and that's the way we've always approached the game."

The Sooners (7-1, 4-1) were hurt by spread offenses run by West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M during the final stretch of 2012, so they switched to an alignment with three defensive linemen and five defensive backs.

It's worked well for most of the season, as the Sooners rank 10th in the FBS in total defense, allowing 314.3 yards per game.

But Baylor and its eye-popping offensive numbers will present the most difficult challenge so far this season for the Sooners.

Oklahoma did get a bit of a preview of what it might see Thursday in its last game, a 38-30 win over Texas Tech and its high-powered offense Oct. 26.

"We did it for most of the teams we see in our league," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of the change in defensive schemes.

"We just saw it with Tech and Baylor is also a part of that, you know, on and on. We felt it gave us more versatility. It played to our strengths better and it put more speed on the field. Hopefully, it will continue to help us."

Oklahoma is 21-1 all-time against Baylor, but the one loss was memorable, as then-Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III made a huge impression in the Heisman Trophy race on his way toward winning that honor in 2011.

The Bears' offensive juggernaut has continued with Bryce Petty, who is fourth nationally with 350.4 passing yards per game.

Stoops said the Bears like to spread defenses out with Petty and their speedy wide receivers, then attack in the middle of the field with running back Lache Seastrunk, who has rushed for 869 yards and 11 touchdowns. That combination limits the number of things an opposing defense can do, Stoops said.

"You can only do so much, in that ... when they line two guys up all the way out there," he said, pointing one way, "and all the way out there," pointing the other way, "you've got to go out and cover them, so there's only so many left.

"At the end of the day, there's only so much you can do. You have to be able to play. You've got to be able to cover them out there and you've got to be able to stop the run game with what's left in here."

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said if the Sooners are to win, they must keep the Baylor offense off the field.

"If we play 90-100 snaps (on defense), it's not good," he said. "You can't win a game, I don't believe, playing Baylor if we have to play 90-100 snaps. That's not a game that you want to be in. You hope your offense can control the football and you can control the tempo of the game.

"If they are running in those numbers, it means they have the ball and they are running very efficiently and that's going to stress your defense more than the D-line. It's going to stress your players covering those guys for 100 snaps. Covering them for 100 snaps is virtually impossible."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 3-2-1