No. 7 Baylor Bears (4-0 SU, 3-0-1 ATS) vs. Texas Longhorns (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date and Time: Saturday, October 4th, 2014. 3:30PM EST
Where: Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium Austin, T.X.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BAY -12.5/TEX +12.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
The 7th ranked Baylor Bears put their undefeated record on the line this Saturday with a trip to Austin to meet Charlie Strongs Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns are just 2-2 SU this season with losses to BYU and UCLA. However, Texas has shown some solid improvement in recent weeks and they still think they can be a factor in the Big 12 (1-0 in the Big 12). Texas has dominated the Bears in Austin winning 9 of their last 10 meetings but this Saturdays matchup promises to be one of their toughest challenges in recent memory against Baylors NCAA leading scoring offense that is averaging 56.8 points per game.
Baylor has demolished their competition this season by outscoring their opponents by a combined 227-55 through the first 4 games of the season. QB Bryce Petty has been great despite limited playing time through the first few games that were completely out of hand right out of the gates. Petty has thrown for 913 yards with 7 touchdowns and just 1 pick while completing 65.3% of his passes. If you add in Seth Russells numbers into the mix in a backup type role, the Bears have amassed 401 yards per game through the air which is the 4th best mark in college football.
Baylors offense is putting up numbers similar to what they did last season in the schools most successful season in program history. The Bears finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and captured their first Big 12 Championship in school history. So far this season, the team has started right where they left off and has easily established their selves along with Oklahoma as the two best teams in the conference. This Saturday Baylors offense faces a pretty solid defense in Texas that has given up just 17 points per game which is likely to give them a better challenge than any other defense has been able to do thus far.
The question for Texas is can they get some help on the offensive side of the football? Despite having some solid defensive numbers, the Longhorns rank towards the very bottom in nearly every major offensive category being 101st in passing, 105th in rushing, and 107th in scoring with just 21.3 points per game. Still defensively, the Longhorns are rock solid which was evident in last weeks shutout against Kansas 23-0. However in order for Texass defense to withstand 4 quarters of the Bears dynamic passing offense, they are most definitely going to need to get some help from their offense.
The Longhorns finally have a bit of normalcy on offensive entering this Saturdays game. After starting the season with David Ash at quarterback, Tyrone Swoopes finally has a few games experience under his belt. As most are aware, Ash retired after suffering yet another concussion which was jeopardizing his long term health. Since, Swoopes has played relatively well by completing 63.6% passing for 590 yards with 5 touchdowns and just 1 pick.
In fact, the entire offense has shown a few glimpses of potential in the last two games but has been unable to convert 3rd downs to stay on the field. The Longhorns have converted just 19 of 61 3rd downs (31%) which ranks 115th in the FBS. Those struggles could easily be contributed to a rather poor rushing attack so far this season. Both running backs Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown have at least 50 carries each but have combined for just 413 yards through the first 4 games. If Texas can get their running game going to extend some of their drives, they may be able to make some noise in the Big 12 this season despite the early non-conference losses.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I have learned in handicapping that a defense is only as good as an offense that can help them stay off the field. Despite Baylors offense that receives all the praise, their defense has been solid the last two years as well. I think Baylor continues to roll here and these trends support my play: Baylor is 6-1 ATS their last 7 games against Texas and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on the road in Austin. Take Baylor -12.5