Baylor Bears (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday November 10th, 2012. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Memorial Stadium Norman, O.K.
TV: Fox Sports Network
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bay +21.5/OKL -21.5
Over/Under Total: 77.5
Last year Robert Griffin III threw for 479 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Baylor Bears to their first victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in school history. The win not only catapulted Griffin's Heisman campaign but also knocked Oklahoma out of the National Championship picture for good. The heartbreak of that loss really took the air out of the Sooner's 2011 season to say the least. This week the Sooners get a chance to issue a little payback when the 4-4 Baylor Bears roll into Norman for a 3:30 kick at Memorial Stadium.
For Baylor, they are still searching for some of that 2011 magic. Not only did Griffin leave to the NFL, but it seems as he took some wins with him. Baylor has really struggled this season and finds their selves treading at the .500 mark with a 4-4 SU record. However, the Bears have maintained their explosive offense. In fact, Baylor leads the FBS averaging a whopping 581 yards of total offense per game. QB Nick Florence has been very solid completing 64.2% passing for over 3,000 yards with 25 scores and 11 picks. The Bear's dynamic passing offense is currently averaging 392 yards per game (1st in FBS) through the air with Florence at the helm.
The problem for Baylor has been on the defensive side of the football. The Bears have been absolutely horrible allowing over 500 yards per game as one of the worse defenses in college football. Before Baylor's 41-14 win against Kansas last week, the Bears' defense had given up at least 35 points in 5 straight games. Even with a great offense, you simply cannot win football games when your defense is performing so poorly as Coach Arthur Briles' group has done this season.
Needless to say, QB Landry Jones and the Sooners offense will be eager to test their talents against that Baylor defense this Saturday. The Sooners' offense has been very solid this season averaging just less than 500 yards of total offense. Jones has completed 65% passing for 2,414 yards with 16 scores and 6 picks on the season. While Jones gets a lot of the offensive credit, keep your eyes on WR Kenny Stills this Saturday. Stills has caught 51 passes for 649 yards and 6 scores this season. More importantly Stills is a guy that can really exploit the Baylor defense and will be targeted often when the two teams meet in Norman.
Baylor may lead the nation in offense, but Oklahoma's offense can be just as dangerous. Outside of the strong passing game, both Oklahoma tailbacks in Dominique Whaley and Roy Finch have already racked up more than 600 yards this season while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Both backs could eclipse the 1,000 yard barrier this season at this pace not to mention pose a huge threat against that fragile Baylor defense. If Oklahoma is able to run the football as well as they should be able to throw the football, the Bears defense may be in for another long game.
On paper, this appears to be a game full of offense especially if you look at the numbers Baylor has posted thus far. However, the Oklahoma defense will be the big difference maker in this game. Oklahoma's defense is the reason the Sooners are big favorites and must play to their potential. The Sooners' defense has had a few terrific performances this season if you think back to the Texas and Texas Tech games. However, that same defense was ripped apart by Notre Dame especially on the ground. If Baylor can get their ground game going with the explosiveness they already have in the passing game, perhaps the Bears could pull out another huge upset over the Sooners.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Baylor has been the least impressive Big 12 team on the road recently going 2-7 ATS in the last 9 road trips. While Baylor does not play with the same offensive intensity on the road, I'm not totally convinced Oklahoma can cover the rather large 21.5 point spread either. Instead, I think the under 77.5 is the sharp play here. History tells us these games tend to be shootouts between Oklahoma and Baylor, but I think that has the total over valued as well. Consider a play on the under 77.5. Good luck!
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