Big 12 title game pits No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Baylor

The Associated Press

The Big 12 Conference's 10-team, play-everyone-in-the-league schedule guarantees that there will be a rematch in the conference championship game between the two best teams after the regular season.

Thus, No. 6 Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 in Big 12 play) and No. 7 Baylor (11-1, 8-1) will square off for all the marbles on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

As rematches go, this one should be wild, based on the Sooners' 34-31 win in Waco on Nov. 16 on a field goal with 1:45 left that capped a 25-point comeback.

"This is a different game," said Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, whose team has won the renditions of the Big 12 title game after it was reinstated in 2017, defeating TCU and Texas, respectively.

"Everything is different about this game. It's not a road game for us, it's not a home game for them. Championship games are different. They just feel different. Everything about them (is) different."

Saturday's game will feature the Big 12's top scoring offense in Oklahoma (44.3 points per game; No. 5 nationally) versus the league's top scoring defense in Baylor (18.4 points; No. 13 nationally). The Sooners also rank first in the country in total offense (564.3 yards per game), while Baylor ranks third in the Big 12 and 39th nationally in total defense (352.8 yards per game).

The Sooners' defense has also been stout, as it leads the Big 12 in yards allowed per game (336.1; 26th nationally) and in passing yards allowed per game (195.9; 22nd nationally).

There's plenty of speculation that the Sooners would earn a berth in the College Football Playoffs with a win. Depending on how things shake down with teams in the rankings above it -- a victory over Oklahoma could land Baylor in the playoff as well.

"We can only control what's in front of us," Riley said. "So our focus has just got to be on this one and how we can play our very best. We know we're going to have to play well to beat Baylor."

Baylor led the Nov. 16 game between the two teams 28-3 midway through the second quarter but went scoreless after halftime.

Still, Matt Rhule, the Bears' coach, said his team will go back to the same routine, and the same process, that's brought them to this spot: the cusp of a Big 12 championship just two years after Baylor went 1-11.

"We're creatures of habit, we go back to the same, exact process," Rhule said. "We came in on Sunday and we were just kind of like, 'Hey, let's move on to the game, guys.' But other than that, we do the same things every week."

Oklahoma's current streak of four straight outright league championships is the longest among Power Five programs since Alabama won five in a row from 1971-75 (Clemson is also riding a four-year outright streak in the ACC).

The Sooners are the only program to win at least three straight Big 12 championships, and it has done so twice (2006-08 and 2015-18). Baylor (2013-14) is the only other program to win two Big 12 titles in a row.

"Here's what's special about our players," Rhule said. "It's the most competitive group of young people I've ever been around. To me when I start talking about CFP, it becomes a whole bunch of stuff. When I say, 'Let's go play,' man, we have a special group of kids."

--Field Level Media

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