WACO _ For the Baylor Bears, one of the best things about playing the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (ABC) is that the game will be played in Norman, Okla.
OU fans are some of the most rabid ones in college football. And the way their stadium is configured, some of the fans are right on top of the visitor's bench.
That makes for some rather engaging conversations during the course of the game.
"That's one of those fun stadiums to go play in,'' Baylor free safety Jordan Lake said. "It's a really cool stadium, the fans are great, they're right on top of you.''
Lake said he has the perfect tonic when playing before 80,000-plus fans who don't really have Baylor's best interest at heart.
"I think it's actually a blast to go play in a hostile environment, because there's so many people and they're cheering against you,'' Lake said. "When you do make good plays there's nothing like quieting 80,000 people.
"They're all cheering against you and they hate you. Then, when you make plays, it shuts them up. That's great.''
Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek also likes the big-time college atmosphere OU's stadium provides.
"Those type of stadiums and those type of atmospheres are awesome to play at,'' Pawelek said. "Being a college football player, whenever you think of a big-time atmosphere you think of places like that.
"Playing in those type of games when the fans are in it and they're right on your back screaming things at you, it just makes it fun out there.''
"Fun'' might not be the operative word Baylor coach Art Briles uses about playing OU. Especially since the Bears are 0-18 all-time against the Sooners, including 0-10 in Oklahoma.
"The good thing is a lot of our guys have been there and a lot of our coaches have been there,'' Briles said. "The thing about taking a team in there is if you're prepared mentally and if your focus is right and your vision is correct, it doesn't matter what's going on on the outside once you take care of what's on the inside.
"Our job is to go win for 100 yards for 60 minutes, regardless of what's happening all around us. So if we're focused in on what we're doing (the crowd) should not be a factor.''
Baylor quarterback Nick Florence agrees with Briles' analysis.
"Wherever we play _ whether it's a rinky-dink Division III school or the Oklahoma Sooners' stadium -- it doesn't matter to us,'' Florence said. "The football stadium is the same size. It's just more (fans) watching live there at the game.''
_ Dwain Price