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Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Prediction: Big 12 Title Game Rematch on Tap in Waco

Undefeated Cowboys open conference play on the road looking for payback against the Bears.

The No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys are traveling to Waco, Texas, this weekend with an opportunity to exact revenge on the No. 16 Baylor Bears.

The Bears dashed OSU's hopes of a bid to the College Football Playoff last season by knocking off the Cowboys in the Big 12 Championship Game. Quarterback Spencer Sanders threw four interceptions in a 21-16 thriller that came down to a stop on the goal line by the Baylor defense.

With the Cowboys off to a 3-0 start, here’s what to watch when they take on Baylor (3-1 overall, 1-0 in Big 12) at McLane Stadium on Saturday.

No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Baylor -2
Tickets: As low as $ on SITickets.com

When Oklahoma State Has the Ball

The 2021 edition of the Cowboys was a defense-first team that surrendered 18.1 points per game en route to a 12-2 season. This year’s squad has so far reverted to historical form under head coach Mike Gundy by riding an offense that is scoring 51.7 points per game. Sanders has upped his game considerably, passing for an average of 305.3 yards per contest with a 10:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

The Baylor defense presents a far greater challenge than anything the Pokes have faced in their first three games. The Bears are giving up 16.3 points per game so far. Against Iowa State last week, they were aided by two interceptions and a stingy run defense that allowed 2.7 yards per carry.

When Baylor Has the Ball

After some rough moments early in the year, the Bears appear to be hitting their stride on offense. Quarterback Blake Shapen torched the Cyclones last week, completing 19 of his 26 throws for 238 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Gavin Holmes may be settling in as BU's top receiving threat after snagging three balls for 92 yards and a score versus ISU.

Oklahoma State has continued to play solid defense in its first three games, but the Cowboys do seem to be feeling the effects of the departures of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and a host of key players from 2021. Notably, Central Michigan lit up the Pokes in the opener, rolling up 546 yards of total offense in a 58-44 OSU win. Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes will undoubtedly find new ways to stress this unit on Saturday.

Final Analysis

We've seen two different versions of Baylor this year. The Bears blew out overmatched opponents FCS UAlbany and Texas State from the Sun Belt by a combined score of 111-17, and they looked sharp in last week’s 31-24 road win over Iowa State. Their road trip to BYU, however, produced a sloppy performance in which the Bears were penalized 14 times for 117 yards, and BU failed to mount much of an offensive threat in a 26-20 double-overtime loss to the Cougars.