No. 2 Baylor Bears (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Thursday November 5th, 7:30PM EST
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium Manhattan, K.S.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BAY -17.5/KSU +17.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
The Baylor Bears will take their undefeated record on the road this Thursday night for a Big 12 meeting with the Kansas State Wildcats inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Baylor has been nothing shy of dominant all season with their closest win coming by 18 points over Iowa State. Most of the Bears victories have been by nearly 30 points on average as they have clearly looked like the most potent team in the country. However, Baylor suffered a major setback in the 45-27 win over Iowa State two weeks ago that has everyone worried in Waco.
Star quarterback Seth Russell was lost for the season in Baylors last outing against Iowa State with a neck injury. Russell broke a bone in his neck that required season ending surgery. Now the Bears number 1 ranked offense, that has averaged 686 total yards and a ridiculous 61 points per game, will be without their primary weapon behind center. Instead the offense will now turn to true freshman Jarrett Stidham to lead the offense putting what appeared to be a potential National Championship season in serious doubt.
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To this point in the season, Stidham has only been used in mop-up type situations where Baylor was already in full control of the outcome and just wanted to remove their starters. The good news for Baylor fans is that Stidham has been pretty good in that limited role hitting 24 of 28 passing with 6 touchdowns and 0 picks. Obviously things will get much tougher this week as the young quarterback makes his first career start on the road against the Wildcats. However, I do not expect Baylors season to come crashing down like some have suggested with the loss of Russell. I believe Stidham is plenty capable of keeping Baylor on the right track and he will only get better with each game.
The Bears simply have too many good football players around Stidham to revert too significantly. WR Corey Coleman is still the best receiver in the country that has already racked up 962 yards and 18 touchdowns in just 7 games. Not to mention if Stidham does have some growing pains, the offense can easily put more focus on the running attack with star running back Shock Linwood. Linwood is an excellent tailback that has the toughness to take on the extra work. On the season, Linwood has already posted 974 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground and we are just past the halfway mark.
Therefore I do not really expect Baylors offense to suffer too much at least this Thursday against a Kansas State defense that has given up 417 total yards on average this season (83rd in FBS). The key for Stidham is that he cannot turn the ball over. Baylors offense rarely turned the ball over under Russell and they have plenty of weapons offensively to stay on track if they can continue to control the football. Luckily this weeks clash with Kansas State will be a good opening start for Baylors freshman quarterback. Kansas State has had all kinds of trouble moving the football this season which may take some of the pressure off the youngster.
Kansas State quarterback Joe Hubener is completing just 45% of his passes on the season and the Wildcats have really struggled in their past two outing to do anything successfully on the offensive side of the football. The Wildcats were shutout in a 55-0 loss to Oklahoma then were held to just 9 points in a 23-9 loss to Texas in their last two games. Before those two losses, the Wildcats did take both TCU and Oklahoma State to the wire in close losses which was primarily in thanks to their ability to run the football. Kansas State has had to deal with so many injuries on offense this season that it has finally started taking its toll. I expect those struggles to continue this week as Baylor keeps rolling even with a true freshman under center.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Baylor -17.5
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