For No. 7 Cowboys, How is that Baylor Game Looking?
STILLWATER -- Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy will welcome his team back to practice on Sunday evening after a couple of days off. Many of the Cowboys had decided to stay in Stillwater and under the protection of routine and the bubble created on campus by Oklahoma State football and the coaching and medical staff. Gundy has still said the testing on Sunday, and then again on Wednesday, will be nerve racking and critical to his team's progress toward winning games and the goals of winning championships.
It is not Gundy's problem, but it is impactful to the Oklahoma State schedule how things go in Waco on Sunday as Baylor reports back to their football facility following a shutdown of operations on Thursday of last week due to a spike in COVID-19 testing last Monday and Wednesday following the Bears first road trip, a 27-21 overtime loss at West Virginia.
"They are reviewing every step of the way of that trip to West Virginia last week," Waco Tribune-Herald sportswriter John Werner told me last Friday after he had spoke with Baylor vice-president and director of athletics Mack Rhoades on Thursday. "He said they were wearing N-95 masks and wearing goggles on the plane. They ate before and then ate after they arrived and did not eat on the plane. He said the players were really masked up on the plane and when they got to the hotel, so I think they are really baffled by it right now."
Baylor, like Oklahoma State, reports their positive COVID-19 cases on Monday and they reported 10 positive tests last Monday and that crosses all sports. Then according to Big 12 protocols they test again on Wednesday and Werner said they had a pretty big uptick on positive tests. Then Pokes Report checking various sources heard anywhere from an additional 12-to-20 with most of those being football related. That was when the shutdown decision was made.
"They are trying to get back Sunday and then start a regular week of preparation," Werner continued. "I would say they are hopeful for next Saturday (playing the game) but not optimistic. That's the way Mack Rhoades put it, hopeful."
Werner spoke with Rhoades Thursday night and the Baylor athletic director told him the Bears (without knowing about Friday testing) could have played on Saturday.
"He said they had the minimum number in all the position groups that you have to have," Werner said. "To me that is kind of hopeful, but with contact tracing, to me that is the big thing. If you come into close contact with someone that test positive then you have to quarantine for 14 days even though you are getting tested three times a week. To me that is a little over the top. If you had three negative tests the next week I would think you would be good to go, but they are trying to follow CDC guidelines."
Options are limited. If Baylor cannot play the game on Saturday, the two teams have different bye weeks in November with Oklahoma State having a bye on Nov. 14 and Baylor being open on Nov. 21. There is really no correction as Oklahoma State is scheduled to play OU in Bedlam on the 21st. Baylor is scheduled to play Texas Tech on Nov. 14. Both Texas Tech and Oklahoma are open this weekend, but a move either way creates a double open week for someone. The most likely choice, if the game is postponed and has to be played for standings reasons then they play on Dec. 12 with the championship game in the Big 12 moving to Dec. 19.
On top of that, the Oklahoma State at Baylor game is scheduled to be a primetime ABC telecast, something the league would rather not let slip away.
We should know something more by Sunday evening or Monday morning at the latest.