Well, here we go. The home stretch... Literally. The Pokes have two obstacles left to get to their perfect season. First up is a team who hasn't won in Stillwater since time began. Here's how our staff sees this weekend unfolding.
Leave us your answers in the comments below.
1) Do you believe Art Briles when he says Stidham is not injured or do you think he's lying?
2) Defense has had a problem of starting slow. Do you think this happens again?
3) Prediction. How does Rudolph play this weekend and what do you think of the game?
His mouth is moving.
1) You should have ended the question at "Do you believe Art Briles?"
2) It seems like we play up and down to our opponents. I think Baylor comes out hot for their first two drives and then gets manhandled the rest of the night.
3) He has torn it up at home. The crowd will be insane. The first deep ball he connects with to Washington/Ateman/Glidden will set the tone for the rest of the night. I like the sound of 56-35 Pokes.
1) Everyone is banged up at this point. I'm sure he's hurting, but I don't think Baylor can afford to go three quarterbacks deep and stay competitive this year. Whether or not he's lying is irrelevant because Stidham is going to play.
2) Hard to tell. I have a feeling we're going to come out fired up and control the game on defense like we've done in the past against Baylor. Baylor hasn't been very impressive offensively with Stidham so I think we'll see a nice turnaround Saturday.
3) I wonder if Rudolph has a chip on his shoulder. He's undefeated except for his first start at Baylor. If he wins this game, he'll have beaten every Big 12 team by the time he's a sophomore. Impressive. 49-24 Pokes.
1) Well it's definitely a lie that he's not injured. Briles has gone on record saying he's "not doing good" and that he has a sore back. What's made Stidham somewhat impressive is his mobility and ability to throw down field. If his back is even the slightest bit tweaked, good luck running or throwing the ball more than 10 yards down field with any velocity. Especially when an experienced defense is constantly hounding him.
2) My feelings reflect a few others': they tend to play to their competition. Given that this is a big night game (with the potential of setting up a historical Bedlam) I think the defense comes out ready to play. I think they'll have a similar game plan to the TCU game: bend but don't break.
3) I see Rudolph struggling a bit but getting the job done overall. He's had a problem with speedy defenses so far in his career (maybe minus the bowl game last year). The good news is that I think Baylor's defense is even more overhyped than the team is as a whole. I'm guessing Rudolph puts up his average numbers. 325 yard range with 2-3 TDs and maybe an interception just to keep things interesting.
In the end, Good guys win 48-35.
1) If I'm not listening, is it still bullshit?
2) "Revenge is a dish best served cold."
3) Lots of Baylor hate... Reindeer delivers message from Santa that the Bears have been naughty.
1) I think Stidham will try to play but will be fairly ineffective. I have a hard time believing he will fully recover from back issues in a week. He'll be thinking twice about taking off and running a bunch. That's for sure.
2) If the defense isn't fired up for this game, I'm not sure they have a pulse. It will be rocking in there Saturday night.
3) Rudolph will be in the zone like he was against TCU. I think Baylor will try to play eight in the secondary like ISU did and force us to drive the ball instead of hitting the big play. But like we showed late, we are more than capable of putting together long drives, and I think that plays into OSU's hands. It's close through the first half, but J.W. and Mason will lead a second half barrage to put the game away late.
1) Of course not. I don't believe anything he says. But you do have to remember that all coaches try to at least filter anything that could be used against them.
2) The defense has started slow at times. But I think last week was probably more a combination of ISU being an obvious trap game and the fact that OSU played the equivalent of four games worth of snaps in the prior two. This is not an excuse and it won't get much easier these last two games. I still think the offense they faced against TCU is probably the best in the conference (with Boykin and Doctson). I expect OSU to come out fired up with similar energy as in the TCU game.
3) I predict Oklahoma State wins, but not handily. Something like 42-35. Rudolph has another big game with at least three passing touchdowns and (wait for it) one rushing. OSU gets out to a good lead but Baylor makes it interesting late. The Cowboy defense gets a couple of key stops to seal the deal.