Big XII Championship Game Preview

Big XII Championship
File Photo: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is the scene for the Big XII Championship Game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Baylor Bears with a Big XII and possible playoff berth on the line. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It’s Big XII Championship time in Arlington. That means we get Oklahoma vs Baylor round two.  The Sooners are playing in a fourth consecutive Big XII title game and a fifth straight conference championship.  The Bears are looking for a third conference championship and the first Big XII championship game victory.

Big XII Championship

Baylor Bears

Baylor is a second-half collapse against the Sooners away from being undefeated going into this Saturday’s conference championship game. The Bears have steadily improved week by week this season.  Only a very weak non-conference schedule and the loss to Oklahoma from being in the top four of the CFB playoff rankings.

On the negative side, Baylor has had several close games with inferior opponents.  Among those wins would be an eight-point win against Rice.  The lack of game control is a big negative for the Bears playoff resume’. With all this in mind, Baylor will be a tough opponent for the Sooners.  It’s always difficult to beat a team a second time in the same season.

Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma has an advantage in experience playing in the Big XII Championship game.  The Sooners are playing for a fifth consecutive Big XII championship.

Defense

Oklahoma’s defense has stepped up the last two and a half games.  Since the second half of the earlier meeting against Baylor, the Sooner defense has only allowed three touchdowns in the last two games against TCU and Oklahoma State.  The Sooners defense allowed a touchdown on Oklahoma State’s opening drive.  The Sooners defense allowed only three field goals the remainder of the game.  Oklahoma’s defense allowed a season-low 65 yards passing against TCU.  The defense has forced three turnovers in the last two games as well.  The defense limited national rushing leader Chuba Hubbard to 104 yards on 24 carries.

Offense

The Sooners offense has been somewhat inconsistent in recent weeks.  Last Saturday the offense played well against Oklahoma State. The offense did not turn the ball over, however, the Sooners still committed nine penalties. There is no way Oklahoma should still be committing so many penalties this late in the season. On a positive note, Jalen Hurts did a good job taking care of the football and running the offense.  The running game seems to have hit high gear and operating on all cylinders.

The young players seem to have settled into their roles on offense as well. The Sooners have a new punter and placekicker this season.  Surprisingly, the punting has been adequately handled by Reeves Mundschau. As for placekicking, Gabe Brkic has been incredible this season going 15-15 in field goal attempts.  You can’t do better than 100%!

The Final Word

In respect to the betting experts, Oklahoma opened up a 9 ½ point favorite. Then, the line went down to eight due to “experts” betting on Baylor. As of Thursday, December 5th, the line has leveled out at nine points.

This week there have been rumors that star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb may be suspended all or part of Saturday’s game. Officially, he could be back in the concussion protocol. But, reports say Lamb has been doing things on the sideline detrimental to the team.  Reportedly, Lamb has been complaining about the lack of touches on offense.  If these reports are accurate, Lamb should not play Saturday.  Football is a team sport, it’s much bigger than one player.  There is no room for selfish individuals in this game, especially at this point in the season.

With this being said, Oklahoma just played a full four-quarter game for the first time all year on both sides of the ball.  In contrast, Baylor has played extremely well since the come back win by Oklahoma in Waco.

Baylor has had a great year under third-year head coach Matt Rhule, most likely the National Coach of the year.

However, Oklahoma just has too much talent at this point.  The Sooners will win a fifth consecutive Big XII championship.

Prediction

Oklahoma 34, Baylor 24.

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