Big 12

Kellis Robinett’s Big 12 Report: Baylor, Oklahoma ready for big game

Baylor football players celebrate a victory over Kansas. (AP Photo/ Jerry Larson)
Baylor football players celebrate a victory over Kansas. (AP Photo/ Jerry Larson) AP

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was asked six questions at a news conference following the Bears’ blowout victory against Kansas on Saturday.

All six of his answers contained the same phrase: “Ready for OU.”

Petty wasn’t channeling his inner Rasheed Wallace, Arian Foster or Bill Belichick to be funny, he was impersonating a broken record to show just how seriously how he is approaching this week’s pivotal game at Oklahoma.

“He is in no-nonsense mode,” Baylor coach Art Briles said Monday.

The Bears have been one of the most improved teams in the Big 12 under coach Art Briles, regularly advancing to bowl games and winning a conference championship last season, but there is one thing the Bears have still never done — win at Oklahoma. Perhaps they finally have the team capable of breaking the losing streak. Perhaps not.

Only thing is certain. Baylor will need a strong effort to beat Oklahoma. Under Bob Stoops, the Sooners have lost a mere six home games.

“We don’t feel like there is a monkey on our back,” Briles said. “Quite honestly, we are just trying to go play for 60 minutes and go win a football game. They have a great home record and a great record overall. Bob Stoops has had tremendous success. It’s not just home. It’s everywhere. It is a tremendous challenge for us to go up there and match the success they have had.”

The Bears will have to if they hope to stay in contention for a Big 12 championship and a spot in college football’s first playoff.

Though a brighter spotlight will shine on the top-10 battle between TCU and Kansas State on Saturday, the Bears and Sooners have just as much to play for. If Baylor defeats Oklahoma, it will improve to 8-1 with a favorable schedule remaining. Its only loss came at West Virginia, and it beat TCU 61-58. With a home game looming against K-State in the season finale, the Bears would hold enough tie-breakers to control their own destiny in the conference title race.

Of course, Oklahoma could bounce back into the mix with a victory, too. With two losses, the Sooners face a steeper climb, but they could force a tie atop the conference standings by winning out and hoping for K-State and TCU to each finish with two league losses.

No wonder Stoops went out of his way to say Oklahoma was “ready for Baylor” at his weekly news conference Monday.

It might not be the Big 12’s game of the week, but it should be one of the conference’s better games of the season.

Waters a Maxwell semifinalist

K-State quarterback Jake Waters is one of 20 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, presented to the nation’s top college football player. Waters is the third K-State player to be named a semifinalist for the award. The other two were former quarterbacks Michael Bishop and Collin Klein. He joins fellow Big 12 players Trevone Boykin, Kevin White and Bryce Petty on the list.

Waters has thrown for 1,878 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He hasn’t lost a turnover in Big 12 play.

Power rankings

1. TCU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12): If the Horned Frogs beat K-State, a soft closing schedule sets them up for a playoff run.

2. Kansas State (7-1, 5-0): It won’t be long before Tyler Lockett becomes the program’s top statistical receiver.

3. West Virginia (6-3, 4-2): Mountaineers could be the nation’s best three-loss team.

4. Baylor (7-1, 4-1): Is this the Baylor team that finally wins at Oklahoma?

5. Oklahoma (6-2, 3-2): Beating Iowa State isn’t hard, but the Sooners made it look like child’s play.

6. Oklahoma State (5-4, 3-3): If the Cowboys don’t beat Texas, they are unlikely to play in a bowl.

7. Texas (4-5, 3-3): Even when the Longhorns are down, they tend to beat Texas Tech.

8. Iowa State (2-6, 0-5): Paul Rhoads could be in trouble if Iowa State falls to Kansas.

9. Texas Tech (3-6, 1-5): This train has gone completely off the tracks.

10. Kansas (2-6, 0-5): The Jayhawks’ best, and likely only, hope for another win is against Iowa State.

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

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