It might not be the Big 12 championship game that we all expected, but Norman will still host one of the weekend's biggest games Saturday when the No. 15 Oklahoma Sooners take on the No. 12 Baylor Bears. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET, with television coverage on Fox Sports 1.
Oklahoma took a much-needed week off after its last home game, a 31-30 loss to Kansas State on Oct. 18 that broke a two-year home winning streak. The Sooners responded by pounding Iowa State last Saturday. Quarterback Trevor Knight, who was crucial to all of those preseason Oklahoma expectations, has completed 60 percent of his pass attempts for 2,051 yards and 12 touchdowns. His eight interceptions -- including three in OU's two losses -- have held back the Sooner offense, though. Freshman halfback Samaje Perine has slowed down after a 242-yard, four-touchdown performance against West Virginia, but he remains Oklahoma's top rusher.
Baylor might have lost at West Virginia three weeks ago, but it still has the nation's highest-scoring offense. Art Briles' system has been held under 45 points just twice in eight games and averages more than 50 points per game. Quarterback Bryce Petty has 2,034 yards and 20 touchdowns on just 241 attempts, and halfback Shock Linwood has 10 touchdowns.
How to witness
TV: Noon ET, Fox Sports 1 (Joe Davis, Joey Harrington, Kris Budden)
Online streaming: Fox Sports Go
Rankings and records: Baylor enters Saturday with a 7-1 record and ranked No. 12 in the College Football Playoff committee poll. The Bears are 4-1 in the Big 12 with four games left to play. Oklahoma is No. 15 in that same poll, and sits 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
Vegas: Oklahoma is now a six-point favorite, having opened with a field goal advantage. The over/under is steady at 72 points.
Weather forecast: Partly cloudy, with kickoff temps in the mid-50s and rising.
Two things at stake
Both Baylor and Oklahoma still hold a chance of winning the Big 12 title -- Baylor is tied for second in the conference, and Oklahoma has a smooth road to the finish despite two losses. However, neither team can afford a loss Saturday and still harbor dreams of a Big 12 title and the possible playoff berth that comes with it.
Baylor has a couple of additional streaks to break: In the 18-year history of the Big 12, the Bears have never won in Norman. They have also lost 36 consecutive games against ranked teams on the road, extending back to a 1991 victory at then-conference foe Arkansas.
One big matchup
Samaje Perine vs. Baylor's rush defense: The Sooners are averaging more than 230 rushing yards per game, in large part due to the running of Perine. Oklahoma is at its best when it's not relying solely on Knight; the Sooners have gone 1-2 in three games this year when Knight threw for more than 300 yards. And while Baylor's fast-paced offense does its defense no favors, the Bears still top the Big 12 in rush defense. If Baylor can force Oklahoma to throw, it should have an excellent chance of coming away victorious.