Oklahoma State hopes to keep its perfect record intact vs. emerging conference rival Baylor.
It is a new era of Big 12 football, one where Oklahoma State and Baylor hope they will dominate.
Although they have been conference foes since the Big 12’s creation a quarter century ago, the rivalry brewing between the Pokes and Bears has really kicked it up a notch of late. While Art Briles, Matt Rhule and now Dave Aranda have all had success in Waco, Mike Gundy has been a mainstay leading his alma mater’s program. And so these two rivals meet again on Saturday…
In their first meeting since the 2021 Big 12 Championship game, the stakes feel eerily similar.
Oklahoma State-Baylor Big 12 title bout rematch says a lot about the conference
While Baylor is fresh off its first conference win of the year at Iowa State, Oklahoma State has had an extra week to prepare for its first Big 12 game. Although both rivals have three wins on the season, the Bears do have a tough road defeat at future conference foe BYU. If Baylor falls at home to Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Bears will be eliminated from playoff contention again…
If the Pokes lose in Waco, they still control their destiny. Baylor has to win out to get to the playoff, but if Oklahoma State can get back to Arlington with only one defeat on the year, the Cowboys will be in great shape. Factor in Oklahoma already having one conference loss on the year to Kansas State and Texas already having two losses, and we could be in for a Big 12 championship rematch.
With Oklahoma and Texas leaving for the SEC in a few years, one would think teams like Oklahoma State and Baylor will have the financial resources to emerge as the Big 12’s new perennial powers. Although all four new entrants next year have strong football histories, it does take some time to ramp up into playing a nine-game, regular-season schedule vs. one conference foe after another.
Not to say this one will be decided by a yard on a goal-line stand again, but we have to accept that every game between Oklahoma State and Baylor is a huge one going forward. While Kansas and TCU are also undefeated, neither program has that upward trajectory of the Cowboys, or the Bears for that matter. These teams won their New Year’s Six bowl games over Notre Dame and Ole Miss.
In short, the winner of this game on Saturday feels like an early-season lock to get back to Arlington. Although both teams could inevitably get there, a win over the other will be a nice feather in the cap of the victor in very early October. While a two-loss Big 12 champion is not making the playoff, a one-loss winner probably does this year. Will it be Baylor or Oklahoma State?
The winner of this emerging rivalry game might end up being the best team in the Big 12 in 2022.