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On Saturday, the Oklahoma Sooners will take their 9-0 record into Waco to take on the 7-2 Baylor Bears in a game with Big 12 and College Football Playoff implications.
The Oklahoma Sooners have been knocked in the first two playoff rankings primarily because they don’t have a win over a team currently in the Top 25. Though wins over Nebraska, Texas and Kansas State were solid, the close nature of those wins rings hollow in the eyes of the committee.
Blowout wins over TCU and Texas Tech in recent weeks didn’t move the needle much either.
That changes this week as the Sooners take on the Baylor Bears, who are 13th in the College Football Playoff rankings. Though the Bears were upset by the TCU Horned Frogs last week, they dropped only one spot in the rankings.
This week is an excellent opportunity for the Oklahoma Sooners to start Championship November with a statement win over a program that’s very well balanced. The Bears have a defense capable of controlling the game and have one of the best offenses in the Big 12, led by their prolific running game.
With that, let’s take a look at this week’s Sooners Wire Staff Predictions!
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Oklahoma 37, Baylor 27
Oklahoma enters its patented Championship November feeling good about itself after laying waste to Texas Tech, 52-21. The Sooners should be feeling fresh, too. After nine consecutive weeks to open the season without a bye week, Oklahoma finally had a weekend without a game last week.
OU has had several weeks here to reintegrate defensive lineman Jalen Redmond and safety Delarrin Turner-Yell ahead of this season-defining stretch. Oklahoma will have wide receiver Mike Woods back against the Bears, and they might see cornerback Woodi Washington’s return as well.
Defensively, OU is in for a test. Baylor boasts the nation’s No. 8 rushing offense. That rushing attack is spearheaded by senior running back Abram Smith, who has 144 carries for 1,055 yards this season. Fellow senior running back Trestan Ebner has rushed 101 times for 601 yards.
Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon suddenly looks turnover-prone entering this game against Oklahoma. Bohanon didn’t throw an interception in Baylor’s first six games, but he has been intercepted five times over the Bears’ past three games, including twice last week against TCU.
Similar to past OU opponents, Baylor will look to shorten the game by leaning on its run game. It will have a fair amount of success doing that, too. Ultimately, Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams is the difference in this game. He’s the best player on the field and that will be apparent again on Saturday.
With the way Chandler Morris and TCU attacked Baylor’s defense, Williams’ second career road start looks a little less imposing. His ability to attack Baylor with both his feet and his arm and the cast of weapons around him is too much for the Bears.
It’ll be a lower-scoring output for the Sooners this week as the Bears look to carve into Oklahoma’s offensive possessions and chew up game clock, but Williams does enough to guide the Sooners into the winner’s circle.
Contact/Follow Josh Helmer
Up Next: More Sooners Wire Staff Predictions
Oklahoma 44, Baylor 31
There’s no need to conserve energy now. It’s full steam ahead. The Oklahoma Sooners’ bye week is behind them, and the Sooners head to Waco 9-0. Despite the CFP rankings being unfavorable, I still have a strong belief everything will take care of itself, and as long as Oklahoma wins out it will be in the playoff. That starts with a Sooners win in Waco where it took a monster effort to fight back from being 28-3 deficit the last time they visited. This is Caleb Williams’ second true road game and it provides much more of a hostile environment than Lawrence, Kansas, ever will unless it’s on a basketball court.
He’s been unflappable so far and his coach has been even more unflappable specifically in the month of November where he’s 14-0 since taking over as the head coach.
The Sooners will win this game and I think it will be stylish largely because the Sooners have been disrespected twice in the first two CFP rankings. Baylor’s season is on the verge of unraveling and three touchdown passes by Williams and a rushing touchdown from both Eric Gray and Williams lead the way as the Sooners defense locks up these Baylor running backs.
Contact/Follow Bryant Crews
Up Next: More Sooners Wire Staff Predictions
Oklahoma 38, Baylor 24
The Oklahoma Sooners and the Baylor Bears have played some tough games over the last couple of years. In each of the last two games, the Bears defense has allowed just 10 points to the Sooners in the first half. Oklahoma was able to broke out for 24 points in the second half in 2019, led by Jalen Hurts three touchdown passes. Last year, Spencer Rattler and the Sooners scored 17 in the second to put it away.
The Bears boast a tough defense again in 2021 and will use their running game led by Abram Smith and Tristan Ebner to control the pace of the game and keep Caleb Williams and the Oklahoma offense off the field.
Kansas State and Kansas provided a first-half blueprint for how to beat the Oklahoma Sooners. The question is can Baylor recreate it?
The Oklahoma defense is getting healthier and there’s a good chance the Sooners get Woodi Washington back. Even if he isn’t the transition of Key Lawrence from safety to cornerback buys them some time until Washington’s full strength.
The Oklahoma Sooners will have to slow the Bears’ rushing attack. They can’t get gashed on first and second down because they haven’t been very good on third and fourth down this season.
Ultimately, Williams continues to be the difference for this team. Chandler Morris exposed some things that the Sooners’ true freshman should be able to take advantage of. Like Morris did last week, Williams should be able to attack the Bear down the sideline and with run-pass option (RPO) play designs.
Williams has shown that he’s equally adept as both a passer and a runner and will put a lot of tension on Baylor’s defense with play-action, read-option runs, and RPO’s.
Baylor will keep it close through the first half, but look for Oklahoma to blow it open in the second.
Contact/Follow John Williams