One does not simply beat Baylor—as Oklahoma State did 49-17 in Week 13—you only add to the rage already building inside it.
Now out of the BCS championship race, the Bears look to pick up the pieces against 4-7 TCU. Is there any chance Art Briles' team has a Stillwater hangover against the Horned Frogs? (Yes, a "Stillwater hangover" is as unpleasant as it sounds.)
The chances are somewhere between slim and none.
“We know there’s still a lot to play for,” Bears quarterback Bryce Petty said this week via the Waco Tribune.
“Were we bummed? Yes. Were we disappointed in ourselves? Yes. But this is a special team and still is. One loss doesn’t make this not a special team or a great team. It’s what you’ve done after you lose that makes it a great team. I think we’re going to prove that.”
Baylor's cliché game is strong, but so is its on-field game.
The matchup to watch is going to be the Bears' wide receivers against TCU's secondary. That's where the Frogs more closely resemble Oklahoma State. Baylor had a tough time beating press coverage against the Cowboys, so the vertical passing game was basically nonexistent.
TCU's pass defense is statistically average (T-59th), but the pass efficiency defense numbers are significantly better (12th). TCU has the players in the secondary to press Baylor's wide receivers and go toe to toe down the field. Not having receiver Tevin Reese hurts Baylor because he's the team's fastest player on the outside.
OKST loaded the box and challenged Baylor's WRs to win 1-on-1 and beat them. TCU isn't great team but they do play excellent, tight coverage— Smart Football (@smartfootball) November 25, 2013
Defense may not be that much of an issue for the Horned Frogs, so it may come down to come down to whether the offense can keep pace.
That's less encouraging. TCU's offensive line has been porous all season, so it matters little how well quarterback Casey Pachall is playing in the passing game if he's not protected.
Regardless, Pachall is going to need his wide receivers to play at a high level against Baylor. The wideouts have played better of late, after underperforming for most of the season, but the group as a whole is really going to have to up its game on Saturday.
The one wrinkle that could help TCU is Trevone Boykin.
Boykin plays a little quarterback, a little running back and a little wide receiver. Oklahoma State didn't have any player that versatile, but the Cowboys' coaching staff made up for it with creative play-calling. If TCU's coaching staff can be creative with Boykin, he could give Baylor's defense problems.
Can TCU go 60 minutes with the Bears, though? The defense may be able to hold its own for a while, especially if Baylor running backs Glasco Martin (knee) and Lache Seastrunk (groin) are out/limited again. However, if TCU's offense can't stay on the field things will eventually swing in Baylor's favor.