When No. 5 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Baylor meet in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday both programs will be trying to make history by earning their first conference title game victory. The Cowboys, which have not won a conference title since 2011, can likely play their way into the College Football Playoff with a win.
Baylor played a shaky 27-24 game against Texas Tech to close the regular season, but won its previous two games against Oklahoma and Kansas State by a combined 23 points. The Bears have one of the most improved offenses in college football behind star running back Abram Smith.
After Oklahoma State and Baylor beat Oklahoma in the month of November, the Big 12 is guaranteed to have a new champion for the first time since 2014. The Cowboys beat their rival and won Bedlam for the first time since 2014 in the win.
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor: Need to know
New Big 12: Want a new era in the Big 12? This is as new as it gets. The Bears and Cowboys are the No. 1 and No. 2 scoring defense in the conference, along with the teams that rank No. 1 and No. 2 in rushing attempts. The last time these two teams played, it took 58 minutes for a team to clear 20 points. Expect the Saturday matchup to be even more physical. Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez and Baylor safety Jalen Pitre are both All-America candidates.
Star assistants: The Broyles Award named its slate of five finalists, and both teams have a representative on the exclusive list. Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was named after taking the Bears from No. 118 to No. 26 in total offense in just one year, while Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has the Cowboys No. 2 nationally in defensive FEI, behind only Georgia. For context, the other nominees are Michigan OC Josh Gattis, Georgia DC Dan Lanning and Wake Forest OC Warren Ruggiero. Some of the best coaches in the nation are participating in this game.
Playoff implications: With a win, Oklahoma State can almost certainly play its way into the playoff. The Cowboys have quality wins over the No. 9 Bears and No. 14 Oklahoma, and would be a rare team with three top-15 wins if they can pull off a victory. Oklahoma State lost a controversial game against Iowa State in 2011 to miss out on playing for a national championship and have not been back since. Earning a trip to the playoff would be huge for the future of the program.
How to watch Oklahoma State vs. Baylor live
Date: Saturday, Dec. 4 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: AT&T Stadium -- Arlington, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor prediction, picks
When these two teams last played, it was a touchdown by Jaylen Warren with two minutes remaining that pushed the lead out to 10 points. A second time around, the score could be even lower now that each defensive staff has a chance to reassess. Oklahoma State finds a way to win the football game, but the Bears are well-positioned to make it dangerously close. Prediction: Baylor (+5.5)
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