It’s now the November nightmare for Sooner fans as once again, the season comes down to the last three games of the season, against the best three teams in the Big XII. Historically what was once an easy stepping stone game; Baylor is now a thorn in Bob Stoops career, winning three of the last 5 matchups. Baylor started off this season hot winning its first 6 games, but lately the team has fallen off a bit including a 62-22 trouncing from TCU. Is Baylor overrated or are there underlying problems that are causing a lack of focus in the game?
First, let’s focus on the greener side of the Pasteur. Oklahoma is still on a winning streak and although they have glaring issues, at the end of the day they are ranked number 11 in the college football playoff rankings, on a 6 game winning streak with a chance to win the Big XII, and a chance to make a good bowl game or possibly, though very slim, a shot at the Playoffs. Defense, or lack thereof, is the name of the game in the Big XII lately. Baylor has been one of the best offensive teams nationally the last few years and can give Mike Stoops and this Sooners defense fits with their vertical attack. The biggest focus with Baylor is using the run game to set up the pass and unfortunately for them, that became harder this week.
Baylor running back Shock Linwood, Baylor’s all-time leading rusher, has been suspended for “attitude issues”. Apparently, Linwood shoved an assistant coach during the team’s second loss to TCU last week when frustrations were running high. “My plan right now,” said head coach Jim Grobe, “is to not have Shock available for Oklahoma. I think they’re some attitude issues right now…If I throw out the violation of team policy and all that, then that sends everyone into thinking the worst. But he’s just not been himself.”
This was a key quote to me by the coach because not only is the frustration and attitude building in the players but the coaching staff as well. There’s no secret of the Title IX accusations that the team is facing, and rumor has it the coaching staff has been informed that they will be replaced at the end of the season. This would be important to know because it makes it very easy for coaches to have the “why try” mindset. If OU comes in focused and plays with energy from the start of the game, they will not only cover the 15 point spread but this could allow them to bury the bears and begin the process of making Baylor a stepping stone again. Tune in early on Saturday and catch our recap of the game next week. As always, see you Saturday.