With a Big 12 championship game berth already in its pocket, Baylor could easily lack focus heading into its final regular season game against Kansas in Lawrence.
Don’t count on it.
The Bears have been remarkably locked in every week during their 10-1 season, and will have a shot to tie the school record for wins by beating the Jayhawks.
Big 12 championship game preparation for the Sooners will begin Sunday, but the Bears already know a lot about them since they played two weeks ago at McLane Stadium with Oklahoma rallying for a 34-31 win.
No. 11 Baylor (-14) at Kansas
There’s no question the Jayhawks are an improved team under first-year coach Les Miles.
Though they’re still cellar dwellers with a 1-7 Big 12 record, they’ve been much more competitive with an improved offense that features dynamic running back Pooka Williams and quarterback Carter Stanley.
But Baylor has built the Big 12’s best defense, which can make it difficult for anyone to score. The Bears won’t be intimidated by Kansas’ Memorial Stadium because they’ve won in much tougher places in the Big 12.
Baylor 42, Kansas 17
Texas Tech (+9.5) at Texas
After winning last season’s Sugar Bowl, it’s been a highly disappointing season for the 6-5 Longhorns.
Though quarterback Sam Ehlinger has been a tremendous leader, Texas’ defense has been extremely ineffective in a lot of games.
The Red Raiders have shown some promise in Matt Wells’ first season, but their biggest problem has been winning close games. Though Texas’ DKR-Memorial Stadium might be half empty for Friday’s 11 a.m. kickoff, this is one the Longhorns should win.
Texas 31, Texas Tech 17
West Virginia (+12) at TCU
Due primarily to an ineffective offense, TCU is 5-6 and needs to beat West Virginia to become bowl eligible.
West Virginia’s offense has been even worse as it has failed to score more than two touchdowns in losing five of the last six games to fall to 4-7. Last week’s 20-13 loss to Oklahoma State in Morgantown wiped out any chance to make a bowl game.
The Mountaineers’ misery will continue against a strong TCU defense.
TCU 34, West Virginia 17
No. 7 Oklahoma (-13.5) at No. 21 Oklahoma State
The two hottest teams in the Big 12 will meet in the Bedlam game as the Cowboys have won four straight and the Sooners have reeled off three straight wins.
The Sooners have established a familiar but disturbing pattern of getting off to hot starts before losing focus and allowing teams back into games. It happened again last week as they opened up a 21-0 lead over TCU before hanging on for a 28-24 win.
With Spencer Sanders out with an injury, Dru Brown stepped in at quarterback and threw two touchdown passes in last week’s win over West Virginia. Of course, it doesn’t hurt any quarterback to be in a backfield with Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s top rusher with 1,832 yards.
This game will likely go down to the wire, but the Sooners have a habit of pulling out close wins.
Oklahoma 45, Oklahoma State 38
Texas A&M (+16.5) at No. 1 LSU
Nobody can accuse Texas A&M of playing a soft schedule since LSU will be the third No. 1 team it will face this year.
The first two went about as expected as Clemson took a 24-10 win and Alabama romped and stomped to a 47-28 win.
This isn’t a very good to time to catch LSU, which is 11-0 and on its way to the College Football Playoff. Additionally, they’re playing a night game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge when fans get their craziest.
LSU 42, Texas A&M 21
Last week: 5-0 overall, 5-0 against the line
Season: 50-15 overall, 35-29-1 against the line