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Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Football Prediction and Preview

Oklahoma State (OSU) vs. Baylor (BU) Football Prediction and Preview

Oklahoma State (OSU) vs. Baylor (BU) Football Prediction and Preview

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are stumbling to the finish line of the 2020 college football season. Meanwhile, the Baylor Bears are putting together performances that should give fans optimism for 2021.

Nevertheless, the Pokes head into their final game of the season in Waco as the favored team. Can the Bears pull off an upset to cap off head coach Dave Aranda's first season on the job?

Here's what to watch.

No. 22 Oklahoma State at Baylor

Kickoff: Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Spread: Oklahoma State -5.5

When Oklahoma State Has the Ball

The Cowboys' offense is sputtering. They have scored no more than 22 points in three of their last four games, including last week's loss to the TCU Horned Frogs.

Moving the ball hasn't been an issue for the Pokes, who gained 418 yards last week. Converting scoring opportunities has, as evidenced by OSU's settling for three field goal tries against the Horned Frogs. Even worse, the Cowboys only made one of the kicks.

OSU wide receiver Tylan Wallace looms large over this matchup. The Big 12's best pass catcher grabbed seven for 92 yards and a touchdown last week. If he can at least threaten the Baylor defense with his ability to win on vertical routes down the field, it opens up the other facets of the Cowboys' offense.

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When Baylor Has the Ball

The Bears' offense is limited by an unimposing ground attack. They average a measly 2.8 yards per rushing attempt, worse than every other team in the Big 12 not named Kansas.

Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer and the receiving corps have to shoulder the load instead. Even though the Bears run just a handful of passing plays, receivers such as R.J. Sneed and Tyquan Thornton can create problems for opposing defenses when they catch the ball on the run.

Oklahoma State's sturdy defensive backs will look to disrupt BU's quick passing game, which may create opportunities for Brewer and the receivers to connect on double moves. If Brewer is holding the ball for a couple of extra beats to give targets the chance to create separation, he needs to know where OSU pass rushers Trace Ford and Calvin Bundage are at all times.

Final Analysis

Psychology could play a huge role in determining the outcome of this matchup.

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The Cowboys just lost a game in which the other team turned the ball over five times. That doesn't speak well of how OSU is performing as the season is drawing to a close. That's about what you'd expect of a team that has fallen short of expectations this year.

The Bears are playing with a spark down the stretch of Dave Aranda's first season at the helm. A gritty defensive showing last week against Oklahoma stands to catapult BU to another strong outing this weekend.

Somehow, someway, the Bears will find a way to close out 2020 with a win.

Prediction: Baylor 21, Oklahoma State 20

Podcast: CFB Rankings, Coaching Changes and Week 15 Preview and Predictions

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is the founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.