Things are about to get real for the undefeated Oklahoma Sooners. After facing some of the teams in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings, the final three opponents that Oklahoma faces have a combined record of 21-6 beginning with Saturday’s game against Baylor.
Oklahoma leads Oklahoma State by a game while Baylor and Iowa State are just two games back. After playing Baylor, the Sooners face Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Perhaps the Sooners will be able to move up from the No. 8 spot they currently hold in the College Football Playoff rankings. Oklahoma is fourth in the Associated Press Top 25 poll so impressive showings in the next three weeks could help.
Baylor is one of the most improved offensive teams in the country. The Bears went from averaging 310 yards and 23 points per game in 2020 to 457 yards and 36 points this season. This week’s game should provide some indication of Baylor’s improvement.
The Oklahoma Sooners have been favored by 20 points or more, according to the college football odds, 13 times in the last 22 meetings dating back to 2000 and only covered in five of those games.
Right on cue, Oklahoma was favored by 21 points in the 2020 matchup and looked to be in good shape when the Sooners led by 17 points early in the second quarter. Oklahoma only had a touchdown and field goal in the second half. The Sooners won the game 27-13 but the Baylor Bears covered for the third year in a row.
Oklahoma has won the last seven games in the series, although four of the games were decided by 10 points or less.
Baylor’s last win in the series was a 48-14 win in 2014.
Next game: vs Iowa State
The Oklahoma Sooners, listed as a 19-point favorite according to the scores and odds, used six touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Caleb Williams to pull away for the 52-21 victory.
Texas Tech did pull within 24 points in the final minute of the third quarter but two turnovers in the second half prevented the Red Raiders from covering.
Texas Tech’s final touchdown with 3:29 left did push the game over the total of 67, as an Oklahoma game went over for the fourth time in the last five contests.
The Sooners have covered in three of the last four games after beginning the season by covering in only one of the first five games.
Williams finished with 402 yards and six touchdown passes to five different players as Oklahoma won its 17th consecutive game.
Cornerback Woodi Washington and receiver Theo Wease are questionable. Washington had 45 tackles and two interceptions during the 2020 season but he has only played two games. Wease tied for the team lead with 37 catches in 2020 but hasn’t played yet this season.
Next game: at Kansas State
The Baylor Bears were a road favorite according to the sportsbook for just the third time this season. Baylor was favored by 7½ points against Texas Christian in the first game since 1997 that the Horned Frogs weren’t led by head coach Gary Patterson.
The Bears twice rallied back from nine-point deficits to get within two points. Tyquan Thornton’s touchdown reception with 5:04 left made it a two-point contest.
Baylor had one more possession and drove to the TCU 34 with 1:03 remaining but Gerry Bohanon’s pass was intercepted as TCU won the game 30-28. It was the first time in four games that the Bears failed to cover, although it was the third time in the last four games that the total went over.
Reserve quarterback Jacob Zeno, who threw a touchdown pass in the 2019 game against Oklahoma, has left the team.
Betting on the Game
This will be just the second time that the Oklahoma Sooners are favored by less than a touchdown. The Sooners have covered the last five games when favored by seven points or less.
Baylor has covered against the college football spread in six of its last eight games. The Bears have covered in each of its last five home games.
Abram Smith is Baylor’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2016
Jalen Pitre is second in the Big 12 with 12/5 tackles for loss, including 6.5 in the last three games. Baylor and Oklahoma are second and third in the conference in tackles for loss.
If Oklahoma has a flaw, it could be its pass defense as the Sooners are last in the Big 12 with an average of 273 passing yards allowed per game. Oklahoma has given up more passing plays of 10 and 20 yards than any other Big 12 squad.