Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul
The No. 9-ranked Baylor Bears will travel to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday afternoon as they get set for the Big 12 Championship Game against the No. 7-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
The Bears, 11-1, will have a chance to avenge their only loss of the season in this game. Oklahoma defeated Baylor 34-31 after overcoming a 25-point deficit just three weeks ago, keeping its College Football Playoff hopes alive in the process. The Sooners (11-1) can still nab the final playoff spot with some help from other major conference opponents. But first, Oklahoma will have to beat the Bears in Texas for the Big 12 Championship. Can the Sooners take care of business at AT&T Stadium against a Baylor team hungry for some revenge?
Despite being the lower-seeded team, Baylor will have the advantage of playing this game in front of a strong home crowd, as AT&T Stadium is located about an hour-and-a-half away from the Baylor University campus. Much like the Sooners, Baylor has a chance to make the College Football Playoffs with a win on Saturday. Even with a victory, Baylor will need losses from Georgia (vs. LSU) and Utah (vs. Oregon) to bolster its case for the final playoff spot. No matter what happens this weekend, Baylor fans still have plenty to be encouraged about. This season, they became the first Power Five team ever to go from 1-11 to 11-1 in a span of just two seasons under head coach Matt Rhule. If the Bears were to finish in the dreaded No. 5 spot, it would make the second time in the College Football Playoff-era that Baylor finished on the outside looking in (2014).
Oklahoma has made the College Football Playoffs in three of the last four seasons and they have a strong chance of earning the final playoff spot this season with a win on Saturday. With Georgia playing LSU, the final playoff spot is likely to come down to either Oklahoma or Utah. The Sooners have a better chance of winning their conference championship game and they’ve had a tougher schedule than the Utes, giving them an advantage in the chase for the No. 4 spot. If everything goes as planned this weekend, Oklahoma should find itself in the College Football Playoffs for the fourth time since moving to the format in 2014.
Bears still have a shot to make College Football PlayoffThe Bears wallopped Kansas 61-6 in their previous contest to head into the Big 12 Championship game with some added confidence. Baylor’s defense showed up in a big way, producing six turnovers and limiting the Jayhawks to just 258 yards of total offense in the win. Charlie Brewer threw for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception while JaMycal Hasty rushed for 92 yards and three scores for the Bears, who have now won 11 games for just the third time since 1899.
Baylor’s only loss of the season came in disappointing fashion at home against then-No.10-ranked Oklahoma. However, they’ve cleaned things up since allowing a combined 16 points over their past two games. While this won’t be a home game for the Bears, expect plenty of Baylor faithful in the crowd on Saturday.
The Bears’ hopes will likely rest upon the shoulders of quarterback Charlie Brewer and the defense’s ability to keep Jalen Hurts and company off of the scoreboard. Brewer threw a game-ending interception in the first matchup and was largely ineffective after halftime. The junior quarterback as been efficient under center for the Bears this season, throwing for 2,935 yards with 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions while also adding 340 yards and a team-high 10 scores on the ground with his legs. Brewer leads an offense that comes in scoring 36.2 points and averaging 445.1 yards of total offense per contest.
On defense, Baylor has limited opposing teams to just 18.4 points and 350.9 yards of total offense per contest, including only 208.8 yards per game through the air, which ranks 43rd in the nation. In their previous matchup against Oklahoma, Baylor forced Hurts into three fumbles, recovering two on the day.
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