Oklahoma State-Baylor: Could the Cowboys Bulldog the Bears for the Big 12 South?

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Oklahoma State-Baylor: Could the Cowboys Bulldog the Bears for the Big 12 South?
Tom Shaw/Getty Images
Cowgirls' Dance team salutes the crowd. This photo was taken in San Antonio in 2009.

How good are you at remembering your first rodeo?

I recall mine.

Does the horror of seeing a cow whose head is half your size ring a bell for anybody?

Considering the real cowgirls, petting the longhorns and smelling the courtyards of confined cattle are fond memories, I bet.

This week, the Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-1, 3-1) host the Baylor Bears (7-2, 4-1). It is a showdown for the Big 12 South go-ahead.

The game unites two of the top scoring offenses in the nation. The Cowboys are averaging 37.7 points per conference game, the Bears 42.

One word is fit for describing this situation: “shootout.” Maybe the two teams should be playing this game in Tombstone, Arizona—home of the O.K. Corral.

Both defenses will be trying to corral the other team’s offense.

In Big 12 games, Oklahoma State and Baylor are No. 1 and No. 2 in passing yards.   

A junior, quarterback Brandon Weeden is having an excellent season. His throwing for over 20 touchdowns is to be commended. He has a blessing in his corps of receivers who are built like Dez Bryant.

His Baylor University counterparts can’t make the same claim. Baylor’s receivers are sleeker than the big bodies OSU throws at the opposition.

In passing for two more touchdowns against Texas, Robert Griffin III is maneuvering into the Heisman Trophy chat. Bears Terrence Williams and Kendall Wright were the receivers catching touchdowns that went for over 30 yards apiece against Texas.

Both the Baylor and the OSU offenses are outstanding.

The difference in the game could be Baylor’s defense. They are allowing only 23.2 points per game. On the other hand, OSU is giving up 30.6.

The Bears should be able to find the end zone, with regularity, against the Cowboys.

Griffin is near the top in national total offense.

A redshirt sophomore, he is an elite hurdler in track and field, and his arm is as good as any in the country. Witnessing the rifle masquerading as a throwing arm inspires my awe. The way he zips the ball makes quarterbacking look different—ordinary routes become works of art with Griffin in control. He truly has the mark of a great player; he makes his teammates better.

The Cowboys need to contain him if they want to win.   

But can the Cowboys score against Baylor?

I believe they can, and they will—just not as much as they would like.

Mike Gundy is, like, over 40 years old. He looks fit; good for him. He is building a winning OSU program that is fittingly viewed as having the country’s best facilities. After touring the amenities, former Oklahoma Sooners head coach Barry Switzer gave a public warning to Boomer Sooners:

“If they don’t get their acts together, Oklahoma is going to be in trouble,” he declared on YouTube.

The Cowboys are 25-9 in their last 34 games. They may miss Dez Bryant, but not that much.

Receiver Justin Blackmon is filling in like concrete mix.

Leading the nation in reception yards per game and in reception yards, the sophomore is showing terrific promise. He couldn’t play last week. Being arrested for speeding and DUI, allegedly, may have something to do with that. He is reportedly a representative of the Fellowship of Christian athletes at OSU.

He is a good kid who made a poor decision, and I expect him to redeem himself.

Over the weekend, in the mix, his teammates were having trouble scoring against Kansas State in Manhattan. But they rallied, won and ended up being only the second OSU football team to go 7-1. I find that sort of shocking, but it speaks to the job Gundy is doing.

His job is getting tougher.

OSU has the toughest remaining schedule in the conference. If they end up beating Texas, KU and Oklahoma, then they are riding high in the Big 12 saddle.

They have to start by getting past the Bears.

The surprise of college football, to me, is Baylor becoming bowl eligible for the only time since 1995.

Coach Art Briles loves it: “(A bowl game) gives more time to hang around the young men as individuals,” he said.

He is forging individuals into Big 12 football championship contenders. He is a coach who is deserving of more kudos than he is getting.

But some experts can be picky.

At Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. ET.

Now, allow me to kick my forecast for this game.

Prediction: Baylor is in first place in the Big 12 South, and they should fight to keep it. But Griffin won’t run deep in Stillwater: 38-37 OSU.

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