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PICKS FROM JOE’S: Oklahoma State’s series with Baylor

Let us venture to Waco to play the Bad News Bears.

Baylor v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Winsipedia has once again sent me down a rabbit hole.

Very similar to the series with Texas, the vast majority of this activity has taken place since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996.

From 1914 to 1995 Baylor and Oklahoma State only met 14 times, with the Bears dominating 11-3.

Starting in 1996, however, OSU won nine straight and 15 of the first 16 Big 12 conference battles with Baylor, leading to a 17-5 Big 12 era dominance for Oklahoma State. Here’s your weird fact of the day…

Mike Gundy is 0-1 as a coach vs Oklahoma State in Stillwater. We might have forgotten that he was the QB coach/passing game coordinator at Baylor in 1996 during Baylor’s 37-17 inaugural Big 12 loss to OSU.

Following the Cowboys’ magical 2011 season the Bears turned the tide, winning four of the next five and bringing a three game winning streak to Stillwater in 2017 before getting walloped 59-16.

OSU owns the all-time series 20-16-0 (again, no ties!). Gundy has an 8-5 record against Baylor, but is only 2-4 since 2011. Home is a lot more fun for OSU under Gundy, where the Cowboys are 6-1. Waco not so much, where Oklahoma State us just 2-4 and hasn’t won since 2009.

From a scoring perspective this series is all about big numbers and blowouts.

Only nine times in the last 22 meetings has the winning team scored less than 41 points, and only twice under 34 points. In the Gundy era (13 games) the winning team has never scored less than 34 points and has been held under 41 points just three times.

One might think, given this, that the total points scored would be high (bet the over!!), but we get pulled back to reasonable territory by the margin of victory. Check out these margins of victory over the last 22 meetings:

· 1-8 points (one possession)… 1

· 9-16 points (two possessions)… 6

· 17+ points (three possessions)… 15

· 25+ points… 11

· 31+ points… 6

· 42+ points… 2

Yep, you read that right. Exactly half of the last 22 meetings have been decided by 25 or more points. In fact, over 2/3rds of these meetings have been 3+ possession games. Let’s narrow that down to the Gundy era and post-2011 era. First, Gundy (13 games):

· 1-8 points… 0

· 9-16 points… 3

· 17+ points… 9

· 25+ points… 8

· 31+ points… 5

· 42+ points… 2

Stats might be for losers, but this is telling us we have almost a 70% chance that the game will be a three possession blowout or worse. What about post-2011 (six games):

· 1-8 points… 1

· 9-16 points… 2

· 17+ points… 3

· 25+ points… 2

· 31+ points… 2

· 42+ points… 1

Ok, this still indicates a 50% chance of a 3+ possession blowout, but what if we look just at games in Waco?

· 1-8 points… 1

· 9-16 points… 5

· 17+ points… 5

· 25+ points… 2

· 31+ points… 1

· 42+ points… 0

AH HAH! Over half the games in Waco are decided by two possessions or less. Of the seven total margins of victory of one or two possessions in the Big 12 era, six have taken place in Waco, three have come under Gundy, and two have happened post-2011, with the only single-digit margin of victory (7) coming in Waco).

Margin of victory aside, points scored should also tell a major story.

In OSU’s 17 Big 12 era wins over Baylor, the Bears average just 18 points per game and have never scored more than 28 points in a loss. Under Gundy Baylor averages 17 points per game when losing and has only scored more than 17 three times in those losses.

The flip-side is totally opposite. In the Cowboys’ five Big 12 era losses to Baylor, they have posted scores of 34/34/28/35/24 points. Expand to wins and losses, and we see that Oklahoma State has never scored less than 24 points since this series joined the Big 12. In fact, over the last 22 games, OSU has posted less than 34 points only four times (two of those were pre-Gundy wins).

If we look just at wins, as mentioned above, OSU hasn’t won in Waco since 2009 and only has six total wins in the Big 12 era in this series on the road. Baylor has never scored more than 22 points in a loss at home, while OSU has only scored more than 38 points once in a road win.

If we look at the overall Big 12 era series, of the 10 lowest scoring games, seven have taken place in Waco. Under Gundy, the teams have combined for 60+ in only three of the six contests with 78 points being the highest in 2005.

To circle back to the blowout portion of this post, exactly half of the games (11) have resulted in combined points of 70 or more. Of those, only three had a margin of victory LESS than 21 points and only three took place in Waco. Of the five highest combined point totals, all five happened in Stillwater, Gundy was on staff for all five (four as HC), and only one (2015, Baylor 45-35) had a margin of victory LESS than 27 points.

Overall series

· OSU 20

· Baylor 16

Average game score – Big 12 Era:

· OSU 42

· Baylor 24

Average game score – Gundy Era:

· OSU 43

· Baylor 27

Average score in Waco – Big 12 Era:

· OSU 33

· Baylor 26

Average score in Waco – Gundy Era:

· OSU 33

· Baylor 32

(Now doesn’t that give you the warm fuzzies going into Saturday?)

Average score for wins – Big 12 Era:

· OSU 45-18

· Baylor 43-31

Average score for wins – Gundy Era:

· OSU 50-17

· Baylor 43-31

Average score for wins in Waco – Big 12 Era:

· OSU 36-15

· Baylor 42-30

Average score for wins in Waco – Gundy Era:

· OSU Only two wins…45-14 (2007) and 34-7 (2009)

· Baylor 42-30 (all wins in Big 12 era have come against Gundy)

Average combined points:

· Big 12 Era 65.1

· Big 12 Era – Waco 59.4

· Gundy Era 69.7

· Gundy Era – Waco 64.8

Average margin of victory for OSU:

· Big 12 Era 27 points

· Big 12 Era – Waco 20 points

· Gundy Era 33 points

· Gundy Era – Waco 29 points (as mentioned above, only two data points)

Average margin of victory for Baylor in the Big 12 era is 12 points regardless of the coach or venue.

Everything here points to a lower than average combined score with a two possession or less Baylor win or a 3+ possession win by Oklahoma State. If OSU holds Baylor under 30 that should be enough for the win as OSU has only posted 28 or less twice under Gundy vs Baylor, although both of those came in Waco (2014, 2016). The Cowboys have held Baylor to 17 points or less five times in there eight wins under Gundy, including 14 points (2007) and seven points (2009) in the two Gundy era wins in Waco.