TCU Horned Frogs (4-4 SU, 1-7 ATS) vs. No. 13 Baylor Bears (6-1 SU, 2-5 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 5th, 2016. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: McLane Stadium Waco, T.X.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TCU +9/Baylor -9
Over/Under Total: TBA
The Baylor Bears undefeated campaign came to a screeching halt last week with a 35-34 upset loss at Texas. While the loss hurt, the Bears look to bounce back this Saturday when they host the TCU Horned Frogs inside McLane Stadium. Baylor is currently 1 of 4 teams in the Big 12 with 1 conference loss or less meaning they are still very much in the thick of the Big 12 Championship hunt. However, the Horned Frogs have had the upper hand in this aged rivalry that dates back over 100 years by winning 5 of the last 8 games including a double overtime thriller in Fort Worth last season.
I am sure many were surprised by Baylorís loss to Texas last week especially considering the Longhorns struggles this year. However, I donít think the loss was too surprising mainly because this is a Baylor team that has been largely uncontested this season. Outside of last weekís matchup against Texas, the Bears had only played one other team with a winning record in Oklahoma State who will likely end up as a mediocre Big 12 team before the year is out despite their 6-2 record. Therefore, perhaps we will learn a lot more about Baylor this week as they look to bounce back against one of their in-state rivals at home in Waco.
One thing that is certain is that neither team has done a great job this year against the number. TCU holds one of the worse marks in the FBS at 1-7 ATS while Baylor has not done much better at 2-5 ATS. The Bears are currently listed as 9 point favorites for their home stand in Waco this Saturday. On paper, that number may appear a little low especially considering TCU has dropped 3 of their last 4 outings. However only 1 of the last 5 meetings between these two teams has been differentiated by more than 7 points. Additionally despite the Horned Frogís struggles, they still have an offense that is very capable of putting up big numbers.
TCU quarterback Kenny Hill has struggled a bit with turnovers throwing 10 interceptions compared to just 13 passing touchdowns. However, Hill has been effective completing 62% passing and as a runner with 7 touchdowns on the ground. TCUís rushing attack is led by running back Kyle Hicks who has posted 597 yards with 7 touchdowns this season. Unlike previous yearís, the Horned Frogs have actually been more reliant in the passing game this season. One obvious cause is because they have played from behind in more games this year but also because they have legitimate down the field threats like WR Taj Williams. Williams leads the team with 593 yards and 4 touchdowns and even Hicks has caught 31 passes out of the backfield.
If the Horned Frogs can get that balance going to establish momentum, they could potentially keep Baylorís top 25 defense guessing. On the other side of the ball, Baylorís offense will look for quarterback Seth Russell and a lethal ground attack to thrive against an underperforming TCU defense. Russell is being reported as under concussion protocol but he is not expected to miss any time. On the season, the senior quarterback has tossed 18 touchdowns and just 5 picks on the season despite completing just 56% of his passes. The offense has been more dangerous on the ground behind the running threats of Terence Williams and Shock Linwood. The duo has combined for almost 1,200 yards already this season and 10 touchdowns. Linwood was slowed by a hamstring injury last week and his status is worth watching throughout the week. The question will be if either back can continue to average over 6 yards per carry against a Horned Frogs defense giving up just 3.1 yards per rush on the season. The winner in that battle will likely determine how this game unfolds.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I know TCU has struggled at times this year but I like the way they matchup in this game. If they can prevent big plays on the ground, they will keep it within reach. I like my chances with the underdog. Take TCU +9
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