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Big 12 Conference Preview: Bears vs. Sooners Will Determine Champion

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(November 6, 2013 - Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)
(November 6, 2013 – Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

With the season a month away, it is clear that based on last year’s finishes that the Oklahoma Sooners and Baylor Bears are the teams that will decide the Big 12 conference championship.

Baylor, led by Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, Bryce Petty lost in a back-and-forth shootout to Blake Bortles’ Central Florida, 52-42 in the Tositos Fiesta Bowl. Petty, a 6’3 230-pound senior from Thomaston, Georgia, threw for 4,340 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions in his first full season as starter down in Waco.

Despite the loss of Lache Seastrunk and Cyril Richardson to the NFL, Baylor has—perhaps the best quarterback in the conference, if not the country—in Petty, even though some Oregon fans will be sure to politely disagree in talking up Marcus Mariota.

In completing 62 percent of his passes for an average of 10.42 yards, Petty is the perfect fit for head coach Art Brile’s high-octane no-huddle passing offense, that will be sure to terrorize Big 12 defenses yet again in 2014-15.

A player to keep an eye on will be Petty’s big-play target in senior wideout Antwan Goodley, who caught 71 passes for 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns.

While the tenth-ranked Bears own perhaps the best offense in the Big 12, the best defense—and the one team that may be able to stop Petty’s dreams of bringing home a Big 12 title back to the banks of the Brazos River—resides in Norman, Oklahoma in the Sooners.

Oklahoma, ranked No.3 in the newly unveiled Amway Coaches Poll Thursday, the Sooners return eight starters from a team that upset two-time defending BCS champion, Alabama in the Nokia Sugar Bowl in defensive linemen Chuka Ndulue, Jordan Phillips, Charles Tapper, linebackers Dominique Alexander, Frank Shannon, Eric Striker, and defensive backs in cornerback Zach Sanchez and strong safety Quentin Hayes.

While they are not as explosive as Baylor on offense, Oklahoma has a bright and promising signal-caller in sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight and former quarterback-turned tight end, Blake Bell to build around in Bob Stoops more conservative run-oriented offense.

Prediction : Oklahoma beats Baylor, finishes 11-1, advances to College Football Playoff

Game To Watch: Baylor at Oklahoma (11/8/14)

With a primetime date set for a rematch of Baylor’s 41-12 thrashing of the Sooners in Waco, you better believe that Oklahoma has their Nov. 8 date circled in their locker room in Norman.

Games To Watch : Outside of Baylor and Oklahoma, the rest of the Big 12 is up for grabs as teams such as Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and TCU are either in flux or reloading and most likely will not be able to challenge either the Sooners or Bears—except for perhaps the always-pesky Kansas State Wildcats—who seem to always be a thorn in both team’s side.

Outside of the Baylor-Oklahoma matchup, that will decide the Big 12, other games of interest include, Texas-Oklahoma, Oklahoma-Kansas State, Kansas State-Baylor, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Kansas State-Oklahoma, Texas Tech-Baylor.

While not as prominent as the Bears-Sooners clash in Norman, Oklahoma’s Nov. 15th game against Texas Tech in Lubbock has the potential to be a potential “letdown/trap” game—assuming that Oklahoma exacts its revenge vs. Baylor and will most likely be coming of an emotionally big win.

Lubbock is never an easy place for Big 12 teams to play—especially Oklahoma the last few years—if things hold true to form–expect either a big win for Oklahoma on the road or a huge upset by Texas Tech at home.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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