Oklahoma-TCU, Baylor-Oklahoma State Analysis

    Oklahoma survived a late rally from TCU, while Baylor used a backup QB to the backup QB to get by Oklahoma State.

    November 22, 2015

     


    Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 35

    No one in America develops quarterbacks better than Art Briles

    Tonight’s handling of previously undefeated Oklahoma State—in Stillwater—registered three clear messages: 1. It’s still too early to bail on Baylor, at a minimum for a Big Six bowl game. 2. Oklahoma State was a wee bit overrated all along. 3. Briles is an absolute seer at transforming young hurlers into prolific conductors of his offensive attack.

    If you’re a young quarterback in the state of Texas, run—don’t walk—to Waco if Briles shows even a hint of interest in your next-level ability. The guy is an aficionado at coaching up young quarterbacks. The Bears went into a do-or-die road game against a quality D with a banged-up true freshman, Jarrett Stidham, under center, yet still rolled to a huge win. Oh, and Stidham couldn’t even finish the game, adding an ankle injury to a bad back.

    Third-stringer Chris Johnson, who was playing wide receiver before starter Seth Russell was injured, came off the bench in the third quarter to expand a Baylor lead that it would never relinquish. Johnson performed as if he’s been on this stage before, a direct correlation to the way he’s been groomed by Briles and the staff. For Johnson, tonight was an audition for his next team, because the kid looks to be too big and talented to sit behind Russell and Stidham the next two seasons rather than transferring where playing time is available.

    Now that the Cowboys have fallen, where does that leave the Big 12 in terms of the College Football Playoff? Obviously, a ton can happen between now and Dec. 6, but the league ought to become Stanford fans this week just to be safe. If Notre Dame beats the Cardinal next Saturday, the Big 12 champ, whether it’s OSU, Baylor or Oklahoma, could very well get boxed out of the final four for a second straight year.

    Oklahoma 30, TCU 29

    All eyes this week will be fixated on Baker Mayfield

    No disrespect to Trevor Knight, a veteran and a luxury to have on the bench, but Oklahoma absolutely, positively must have Mayfield available for next Saturday’s trip to Stillwater.

    In just his first year of action in Norman, Mayfield has become the identity of this program. He’s been the soul of the Sooners’ surge from post-Red River afterthought to Big 12 and College Football Playoff contender. Mayfield is relevant far beyond the numbers, which is why OU nation held its collective breath when the quarterback endured a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit that shelved him for the entire second half.

    For good reason, Bob Stoops will field about a million questions this week regarding his star quarterback’s health. Knight doesn’t have nearly the same moxie, accuracy or arm talent as Mayfield, which means all of Oklahoma’s best weapons, WR Sterling Shepard and backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, aren’t quite as scary to opposing defenses. And even after struggling this past Saturday versus Baylor, the Emmanuel Ogbah-led Oklahoma State D is capable of feasting on Knight and turning him into a turnover machine in Bedlam.

    Oklahoma barely survived TCU, thanks to a batted two-point attempt from S Steven Parker, after squandering a 17-point lead. If Knight is under center on the opening series next week at Oklahoma State, the Sooners won’t be so fortunate. They’ll be playing their most important game of 2015 without their most valuable player, and that doesn’t often end well.

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