Texas Longhorns (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS) vs. No. 12 Baylor Bears (9-2 SU, 5-6 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday December 5th, 12:00PM EST
Where: McLane Stadium Waco, T.X.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UT +21/BAY -21
Over/Under Total: 70
The Texas Longhorns will make the short trip into Waco early this Saturday for a season finale with the 12th ranked Baylor Bears inside McLane Stadium. At one time this season, the Bears appeared to be the most untouchable team in the country obliterating every team that stepped in their path. The Bears were undoubtedly on their way towards a National Championship run but an unfortunate set of injuries derailed those dreams around the midpoint of the season.
Baylor started the season as the most prolific offense in the country putting up astronomical numbers in both yardage and points throughout the first 7 games of the season. However, star quarterback Seth Russell went down with a neck injury and the team has been just 2-2 ever since. In recent weeks, even backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham was lost for the year with a broken bone in his ankle. Needless to say, the Bears are no longer a product of the National Championship picture as the injuries at the quarterback position sidelined those hopes as well as put a damper on their once unstoppable offense. However, the Bears could still record their 3rd straight 10 win season with a victory over Texas this Saturday.
Despite the injuries and the setbacks at the quarterback position, Baylor still has a ton of weapons to attack a rather pitiful Texas defense that ranks 107th in the FBS giving up 450 total yards per game. 3rd string quarterback Chris Johnson has not looked extremely well throwing the football but the offense can compensate with the running ability of tailbacks Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson. Linwood has racked up 1,298 yards and 10 touchdowns while Jefferson has added another 543 yards with 4 scores. If you consider the fact Texas has relinquished more than 203 yards per game on the ground alone, giving Baylor plenty of reasons to stick with their stout running attack this Saturday.
For the Longhorns, they will need a big defensive effort to keep this game within reach and within the 21 points. However, I feel like Coach Charlie Strong will put a large focus on stopping the Baylor rushing attack. Strong is a defensive minded coach and he should be able to come up with a game plan that takes advantage of Baylors quarterback position. The question I have is can Texas find a way to score points offensively to compete in this contest? Texas had had several horrid offensive outings this season but have looked decent in other outings. Which Texas offense will take the field this Saturday?
Ironically, Texas has had the offensive problems all year that Baylor has run into just recently. Quarterbacks Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes have combined to throw for 55% passing on the season with just 8 total touchdowns on the season compared to 6 interceptions. Heard has been the guy down the stretch for the Texas offense but a concussion last week in the loss to Texas Tech has his status in doubt for this Saturdays meeting. Despite who will behind center, the Longhorns have primarily been a running team this year as they have had little success throwing the football which is evident from the miserable numbers previously mentioned.
However, the Longhorns rushing attack by committee has been fairly strong averaging 231 yards per game. Baylors run defense has been pretty mediocre this year giving up around 151 yards per game. My question I have for this weeks contest is can Baylors defense withstand a relentless ground game from Texas especially if they are on the field more often due to their own offensive issues? If Baylor continues to struggle on offense, there is a bigger chance they could wither down the stretch. Keep an eye on those tangibles in this early kickoff this Saturday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think this is a much different Baylor team at this point in the season and I am not confident they have the firepower to cover the 21 point spread. Consider this a strong play in favor of the Longhorns. Take Texas +21!
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