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Saturday, Nov. 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET
The game of the year in the Big 12 is nigh. At minimum, a chance to take a firm handle on the Big 12 title race is on the line. For Baylor, a potential BCS title shot is wiped out without a win in Stillwater.
But the Bears, just as they were a week ago against Texas Tech, will be shorthanded. Wide receiver Tevin Reese (wrist) and offensive lineman Spencer Drango (back) are out, likely for the remainder of the regular season. Running backs Lache Seastrunk (groin) and Glasco Martin (knee) are still day-to-day.
Meanwhile, the status of Oklahoma State wide receiver Josh Stewart, who plays a key role as a return man, is unclear as he battles an ankle injury.
Great teams are able to say "next man up" and get similar results. So far, Baylor and Oklahoma State have been able to say that.
Baylor should be prepared for an intense atmosphere in Boone Pickens Stadium, as it may need to weather an initial storm if the Cowboys jump out to a quick lead. What Oklahoma State can't do, though, is give Baylor any opportunity to capitalize on mistakes. Quarterback Clint Chelf has to be smart with the football and avoid turnovers. Similarly, the Cowboys defense needs to do what it does best: take the ball away.
Oklahoma State's defense also needs to be able to go sideline to sideline and win the one-on-one matchups by limiting big plays. Bears quarterback Bryce Petty has actually been a little off on his deep passes throughout the past couple of games. With Drango out, there's an opportunity for the Pokes to get to Petty in the backfield as well.
Baylor is a 9.5-point favorite, per VegasInsider.com, but this definitely has the feel of a toss-up game. Baylor hasn't won in Stillwater in more than 70 years—an amazing, albeit slightly misleading, stat since the two schools only played there once from 1939 to 1996.
Numbers like those are more entertaining than relevant, but in this game, the key number is going to turnover margin. Both teams are excellent in that category. Whoever wins that battle wins the game. And, hopefully, it's a good one too.
Score prediction: Oklahoma State 41, Baylor 38
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.