Baylor Bears

HCS Op-Ed: ‘Cats with Chance to Spoil Bears’ Playoff Hopes

The No. 9 Wildcats will head to Waco on Saturday to take on the No. 6 Baylor Bears. ESPN College Game Day will be in attendance as the Wildcats look to win the Big 12 and ravage the Bears title hopes.

The last time the Wildcats were in Waco was in 2012. At the time, the Cats were ranked No. 1 and just two wins away from a possible national championship berth. The Bears were playing the underdog role and managed to pull off the shocking upset.

This time around the roles have reversed. The Wildcats will be playing the underdog role while the Bears are hoping a win will boost them into the four team playoff. A victory for either team will guarantee at least a share of the Big 12 title.

In order for the Cats to pull off an upset, they must prove they can stop the passing attack of the Bears. Last week, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty went down with a concussion, but he’s expected to play on Saturday. Kansas State’s defense will be tasked with containing Baylor’s offense that leads the nation in nearly 50 points per game.

It will be interesting to see the rapid-fire offense of Baylor matchup against the “bend but don’t break” philosophy of the Wildcat defense. The Bears will find a way to move the ball, either on the ground, or through the air. K-State’s defense has struggled at times this season, but has done reasonably well preventing big scoring plays. This will need to carry over to Saturday’s ballgame in order for the Cats to be victorious.

I expect coach Bill Snyder to have his team well prepared. He has been around the block a few times and knows what it takes to win in the Big 12. During his time with the Wildcats, Snyder has established a consistent program, and is known for having a well-disciplined team. Though it may not always be pretty, Snyder simply finds a way to win. He loves to control the time of possession and force the opposing team to adapt to his style of play.

As a primetime game, the nation’s eyes will be on the Big 12. Though the conference doesn’t have a championship game, this one will certainly have a championship aura. On a weekend where the rest of the power five conferences will be hosting their championship games, this will prove as an opportunity for the Bears to make one last statement for the selection committee. The fact that Baylor will be playing at home will unquestionably improve its chances, but the consistency and discipline that the Wildcats present will be an enormous test. With an upset in mind, the Wildcats would love nothing more than to spoil the championship hopes for the Baylor Bears, the same team that spoiled their season just over two years ago.

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