West Virginia Mountaineers (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. No. 2 Baylor Bears (5-0 SU, 3-2 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday October 17th, 12:00PM EST
Where: McLane Stadium Waco, T.X.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WVU +20.5/BAY -20.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
The Baylor Bears flexed their muscles again last week with a 66-7 thrashing on the road over Kansas. The win moved the Bears to the number 2 spot in the AP Poll and it also proved that this team has shown no signs of slowing down. It may be too early to crown Baylor future Big 12 Champions but through the first 5 games of the season the Bears have been playing at a level unmatched by any of their Big 12 competitors. This week Baylor looks to keep their momentum going as they return home for a meeting with the West Virginia Mountaineers inside McLane Stadium.
After a 3-0 start, the Mountaineers have lost each of their last two games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Last weeks loss to Oklahoma State was a tough one. The Mountaineers rallied from 14 points down in the 2nd half to force overtime with the 21st ranked Cowboys. However, West Virginia could not get the job done in overtime which ended their bid towards an upset. Now the Mountaineers have dropped two straight games and have matchups with no. 2 Baylor this Saturday followed by no. 3 TCU next week. Therefore the idea of dropping 4 straight games is definitely plausible unless the Mountaineers can pull off an upset.
For this Saturdays contest, West Virginia is rather large 20.5 point underdogs. The main reason for such a large spread is more credit to Baylors offense and not necessarily anything relative to West Virginia. In fact, the Mountaineers are a solid football team that is knocking on the door of really contending in the Big 12. They have a top 40 defense that will be the best unit Baylor has faced thus far this season and offensively they have the weapons to make things happen. Quarterback Skyler Howard has not played his best football in the last two weeks but he is plenty capable of leading this WVU offense to big numbers.
Howard mainly has to keep from turning the ball over because he has plenty of help around him. Sophomore wide receiver Shelton Gibson is a big play threat and running back Wendell Smallwood can be the workhorse. Smallwood has 589 yards with 5 touchdowns through his first 5 games. West Virginia has a lot of balance on the offensive side of the football. Therefore Dana Holgorsen has to hope that his offense can keep Baylors defense guessing and make some big plays to stay in this football game.
Defensively all West Virginia can do is hope they can minimize their losses. Baylors offense is the best in the country by a large margin. The Bears are putting up record type numbers averaging 725 total yards per game along with a simple 64.2 points per game. Both statistics are an FBS record breaking pace. Quarterback Seth Russell has been great completing 63% passing for 1,527 yards with 22 touchdowns and 5 picks. Running back Shock Linwood has been excellent in the backfield with 719 yards and 7 touchdowns through the first 5 games.
Not to mention the receiving core is solidified with big threats on the outside led by Corey Coleman. Coleman already has 31 catches for 678 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season and that number is only going to continue to grow. Therefore like I said before, there is no stopping this Baylor offense. Defensively, all you can do is hope that you frustrate their game plan, perhaps force a few turnovers, and just simply try to slow them down. If West Virginia cannot find a way to do those things, it is going to be a long afternoon for the Mountaineers.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: West Virginia may be the best football team Baylor has faced this season with the possible argument for Texas Tech thrown into that discussion. However, I believe Baylor continues to roll in a big way this week. I do not believe West Virginia can keep pace and if Howard continues to turn the ball over it could get out of hand quickly. Take Baylor -20.5
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