Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Oklahoma City to implement shelter-in-place orderLive updates: Latest information on coronavirus in OklahomaCOVID-19 in Oklahoma: 377 positive cases, 15 dead

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Big 12 efficiency rankings: OU-Baylor is Big 12's best offense vs. Big 12's best defense

The OU-Baylor game Saturday in Waco is a matchup of the Big 12’s best offense (by far) and the Big 12’s best defense (by far).

In my weekly Big 12 efficiency rankings, the Sooners have the league’s best offense with a rating of .558, which means OU is scoring about 5.5 touchdowns for every 10 possessions. Texas is next on the list with .400. That’s a big gap. The Longhorns are closer to ninth place than first place.

But Baylor has the Big 12’s best defense, .216, which means the Bears are allowing barely more than two touchdowns per 10 possessions, which is outstanding defense. No other Big 12 defense is in the .200s, with TCU second at .311.

I started the efficiency rankings in 2013, and over that time, the only time the team with the Big 12’s best defense beat the team with the Big 12’s offense was 2013, when OSU beat Baylor 49-17 in Stillwater.

But you never know. It’s not even for sure that Baylor will wind up with the most efficient defense, though you can trust that OU will end up with the most efficient offense.

Remember, I rate offenses and defenses on how often they do their job. How many times an offense scores in relation to possessions. Same with a defense; how often does a defense get off the field without allowing a score. Touchdowns count full, field goals count a half.

Here are the rankings:

OFFENSE

1. Oklahoma .558: For all the OU fans who want to dissect what’s wrong with the offense, you’ve taken your eye off the ball. This offense isn’t as efficient as Kyler Murray’s in 2018, but so far, it’s more efficient than Baker Mayfield’s in 2017, 2016 or 2015.

2. Texas .400: This number is slightly down from where Sam Ehlinger’s offense finished in 2018 (.413), but last year ended a streak of awful offenses for the Longhorns.

3. Iowa State .389: If you’re looking for the glass half full, OU holding this Cyclone offense to 21 points through three quarters was solid defense.

4. Texas Tech .347: The Red Raiders are improving offensively. Most teams do after playing West Virginia.

5. Kansas State .341: Not bad offense for the Wildcats, with some of the easier defenses still awaiting.

6. TCU .338: The Horned Frogs made a lot of hay against Kansas but haven’t sustained it.

7. Kansas .314: The Jayhawk offense has lost some steam – shut down by K-State, then an off-week. 

8. Baylor .310: The most surprising number on the board. If you heard that the Bears were unbeaten after nine games, you’d automatically assume Charlie Brewer had the offense humming. But no. 

9. Oklahoma State .308: Another surprising number. But don’t lose hope. The Cowboys finish against defenses ranked 10th (Kansas), ninth (West Virginia) and sixth (OU).

10. West Virginia .204: Rough year for Austin Kendall.

DEFENSE

1. Baylor .216: Excellent work by the Bears’ defense. But a caveat. Baylor hasn’t played OU or Texas, the two elite offenses in the league.

2. TCU .311: Gary Patterson’s typical good work.

3. Iowa State .329: Underrated defense. That’s why all the angst over Jalen Hurts’ play vs. ISU is misguided. The Sooners scored six touchdowns in 12 possessions against Iowa State. That’s championship-level football against a defense like ISU’s.

4. Oklahoma State .329: Time to get off Jim Knowles’ back. The Cowboy defense is playing well. Sure, OSU still has to contender with the mighty Sooners, but OSU still gets to play West Virginia’s woeful offense.

5. Kansas State .336: The Wildcats are models of consistency. Fifth in Big 12 offense at .341, fifth in Big 12 defense at .336.

6. Oklahoma .345: The good news is, OU’s defense isn’t awful. It’s just not very good.

7. Texas Tech .361: You know, Tech’s defense finished last season with a .341 defensive efficiency rating. These aren’t great numbers, but they’re better than the .400s the Red Raiders were posting.

8. Texas .382: Ugh. This is bad. The ‘Horns have to improve.

9. West Virginia .410: WVU defense is on a rollercoaster. In 2013, the first year I compiled the efficiency ratings, the Mountaineers finished eighth in defense. Then they were third, third, first, eighth, second. So it’s boom or bust for WVU.

10. Kansas .515: Les Miles has made great strides with the KU offense. Now it’s time for the defense.

Projections

A fun tool with these ratings is the score projections they provide. Not so much that they predict winners – football novices can predict the winners of most college football games – but they can give you a ballpark estimate on what kind of games will be played. How close, how high-scoring. Here are the games for Saturday:

Oklahoma at Baylor: Sooners 32-27. This would be a classic on the banks of the Brazos. ESPN would be quite pleased.

Kansas at Oklahoma State: Cowboys 37-28. I would be surprised if it’s this close.

Texas at Iowa State: Cyclones 32-31. What a game in frigid Ames this would be.

TCU at Texas Tech: Horned Frogs 31-28. I expect a really good game in Lubbock. This could be close.

West Virginia at Kansas State: Wildcats 30-22. One major problem with the projection method is it doesn’t really produce many blowout predictions. Which is a fallacy. This figures to be a blowout.

Related Photos
Baylor offensive lineman Xavier Newman (55) celebrates with fans following an NCAA college football game against TCU, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Baylor won 29-23 in triple overtime. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Baylor offensive lineman Xavier Newman (55) celebrates with fans following an NCAA college football game against TCU, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Baylor won 29-23 in triple overtime. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1a80987ec2c159a47b0b212d64241b8e.jpg" alt="Photo - Baylor offensive lineman Xavier Newman (55) celebrates with fans following an NCAA college football game against TCU, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Baylor won 29-23 in triple overtime. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)" title="Baylor offensive lineman Xavier Newman (55) celebrates with fans following an NCAA college football game against TCU, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Baylor won 29-23 in triple overtime. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)"><figcaption>Baylor offensive lineman Xavier Newman (55) celebrates with fans following an NCAA college football game against TCU, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Baylor won 29-23 in triple overtime. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

Comments