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Texas Tech Red Raiders at Baylor Bears: Preview and Pick
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Baylor Bears: Preview and Pick
The Baylor Bears took on the challenge of playing the Oklahoma Sooners and answered with a resounding win that made people believe that the Bears are more than just a flashy offense. The Texas Tech Red Raiders started off the season on a good winning streak, but have since fallen on hard times. This current losing pattern may allow the Bears to overlook this team and that would be a huge mistake. If the Bears are not careful, the Red Raiders could pull off the upset.
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Baylor Bears Odds
The college football odds for this game will favor the Bears at home. The Bears have extra time to rest for this game after last taking the field on a Thursday night. With the way the Red Raiders are playing, this line could move higher and higher in the favor of the Bears. Check out your top rated sports betting outlet to get the latest point spread for this game leading up to kickoff.
Baylor is off to an 8-0 start to the season for the first time in program history and a 5-0 league start for the first time since 1985. The Bears are ranked No. 5 in both the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll. That AP ranking is Baylor's highest since 1953. The Bears are sixth in the latest edition of the BCS Standings. They have made enough noise to be considered a contender and cannot afford to lose this game.
The Bears currently lead the country in scoring with 61.0 points per game and total offense while defensively the Bears are sixth in scoring and ninth in total defense Baylor notched a 52-45 overtime win over TTU last season in Arlington. The Red Raiders lead the all-time series between the two schools 36-34-1, but the Bears have won the last two games in the series. The series is tied 2-2 when the game is played at a neutral site.
The sixth-ranked Bears will move up a rung in Sunday’s BCS news, maybe two. Upward movement from there will be grudging, at best. Of the five teams ahead of the Bears going into Thursday, none has a more difficult road to Pasadena. The Bears have to keep winning and winning big or they will be over looked as the season ends.
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Baylor Bears Pick
With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.
Baylor can make just about any alterations it wants at Floyd Casey Stadium since the facility will be abandoned after this season and the Bears will move into a new football home on campus.
For the Nov. 7 showdown against Oklahoma, a tarp covering end zone seating was removed to allow more fans to squeeze in and comprise a crowd of 50,537. There was actually some who protested the move, fearing the removal of the tarp could be a bad omen.
“We weren’t really sure how it was going to go over,” said Baylor coach Art Briles, whose team wore black uniforms and the fans obliged by also dressing in black. “It just shows you, if you don’t have vision, then you have no opportunity. Our people had a vision, and everybody jumped on board, and I think it made a tremendous difference, without question. We did a great job of having a home field.”
Credit Briles for orchestrating a great turnaround. With a 41-12 romp over the Sooners, Baylor finally will benefit from national acclaim and bolt into contention for a spot in the BCS championship game.
At 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big 12, they remain in the thick of the league race, which Texas leads by a half-game with a 6-0 conference mark. The Bears do not meet the Longhorns until the final game of the regular season on Dec. 7 when Baylor bids farewell to Casey Stadium.
If that showdown is for every marble, then Baylor at least knows how to prepare for a colossal home game. The matchup against Oklahoma provided the perfect audition considering the Sooners have been the Big 12′s predominant power since the inception of the conference and also carry a definitive cache.
In accordance with that buildup, Baylor started slowly. The Sooners used a safety and a field goal over a second quarter span of barely a minute to grab a 5-3 lead as the Bears struggled to get their explosive attack triggered. Yet throughout the game, their overlooked defense thwarted just about anything Oklahoma tried as the Sooners were limited to 237 yards.
“I know that everyone talks about their offense, which is really good,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “I knew their defense was really good with all the seniors they have. Defensively, they were all over us all day. You’re not going to come here, get one touchdown and think you’re going to win.”
Although the Bears lost several key playmakers to injuries, including their leading receiver (Tevin Reese) and leading rusher (Lache Seastrunk), quarterback Bryce Petty steadied the offense. Reserve Shock Linwood offered a huge boost, rushing for 182 yards on 23 carries.
While Baylor had risen to a position where it could boast a Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, he never played in a game that carried quite the stakes as the breakthrough win over Oklahoma
“As far as the whole hype of the game, we haven’t had anything like this,” Petty said. “We’re in the top 10, they were in the top 10. … I was proud how we handled things. It wasn’t the cleanest game we’ve played. To win even ugly was good.”
In a game that looked like it would be just another matchup prior to the season, the Baylor Bears will be looking to inch one step closer to a Big 12 title this week. Baylor is coming off a huge win against the Oklahoma Sooners in which they demolished the conference rival by 29 points.
On the other side of the field, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have fallen off the map a bit after beginning the season with a 7-0 record and a strong chance at winning a conference title, but have lost three straight games. The Red Raiders are looking to avoid a terrible finish to what looked to be a promising season.
Baylor has one of the top offenses in college football and that’s thanks to two Heisman-hopeful players at running back and quarterback. While Lache Seastrunk is likely out of the race for the coveted trophy by now, he is still having a solid season with 888 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Bryce Petty is still in the hunt for the trophy with his 2,657 yards and 21 touchdowns while leading the third-ranked passing offense and top-ranked scoring offense in the nation. Antwan Goodley has been the top wide out and a talented one at that, catching 44 passes for 974 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Texas Tech’s offense isn’t anything to overlook, either. The Red Raiders are led by a freshman quarterback duo that have tag-teamed their way to the No. 1 overall passing offense in college football. Baker Mayfield began the season as well as playing last week’s game, passing for 1,764 yards and eight touchdowns while Davis Webb has been the main quarterback as of late, passing for 2,315 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jace Amaro is taking advantage of the top passing attack, catching 88 passes for 1,102 yards and four touchdowns for the Red Raiders as the run game ranks 105th in the nation.
Defensively, Texas Tech has been better this season than it had been in years past. The Red Raiders rank 69th in points allowed per game and 51st in yards allowed per game with under 400. Baylor has also been considerably more impressive on the defensive side of the ball this season, ranking sixth in points allowed and eighth in yards allowed per game.
Texas Tech hasn't had much to be happy about during the final weeks of the past two seasons.
The Red Raiders are hoping to change that this year, but the prospect of repeating the past is hanging over a team on a three-game skid after starting 7-0.
Since 2011, the Red Raiders are 2-12 from game eight onward, including their current three-game skid. With No. 4 Baylor on the schedule this week and No. 23 Texas on Thanksgiving Day, reversing the trend won't be easy.
The players who've been on the team since 2011 might have a mental block, Texas Tech's defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said.
"I think some of it's been, 'Here we go again,'" said Wallerstedt, the fifth defensive coordinator at Texas Tech in five years. "The injuries, the finishes to some seasons here in the past, I think, has reared its head, and I think for 18-, 19-, 21-year-old kids, that's a sensitive deal."
The first part of Texas Tech's season was less challenging. The Red Raiders rose to No. 10 before falling 38-30 at Oklahoma. Then, at No. 15, they lost 52-34 at home to Oklahoma State. When they lost 49-26 to Kansas State at home last week they had dropped to No. 25.
There have been injuries on defense, and the Red Raiders have given up 277, 281 and 291 yards on the ground in their losses.
Things won't get easier Saturday in Dallas. The Bears are the Big 12's best rushing team, averaging 295.4 yards per game. More than half of Baylor's 60 offensive touchdowns (36) have come on the ground. Lache Seastrunk (111 yards per game) and Shock Linewood (89.3 ypg) are first and second in the conference in rushing.
Texas Tech, leading the conference in passing with 25 TDs and 408.2 yards per game, also is going up against the Big 12's leader in defending the pass. Baylor has allowed just eight touchdowns and 174 yards a game.
When they were 7-0, the Red Raiders ranked No. 16 in scoring defense (18.7 points per game), No. 24 in rushing defense (131.7 ypg) and 30th in total defense (358 ypg). After losses, Texas Tech has fallen to No. 69 in scoring defense (27.0 ppg), No. 74 in rushing defense (171.1 ypg) and No. 62 in total defense (389.1 ypg).
"We're looking at all angles," coach Kliff Kingsbury said about shoring up the rushing defense. "Personnel is one thing we've hit on, and schematically just have to get better. There is no easy answer. We've tried to rectify the last three weeks and haven't had an answer. So we'll try to figure it out this week."
Making it tougher for the Red Raiders is a question of who will start at quarterback. Two freshmen have started all the games, with Baker Mayfield starting the first five and Davis Webb the past five. Together they've combined for 16 interceptions; the team overall has 25 turnovers and is tied for fifth-worst in the nation.
Kingsbury doesn't know who will start against the Bears, who have picked off 11 passes this season.
"That's an interesting position to be in week 11 and still have that going on," he said. "We'll get them both reps and see how it goes this week and then trot one of them out there."
While some may have been skeptical of Baylor's early season dominance against lesser competition, the unbeaten Bears surely quieted their critics after handily passing their first true test last week.
That impressive victory, though, came at a steep cost.
Fourth-ranked Baylor will be without star receiver Tevin Reese in Saturday night's Big 12 showdown against slumping Texas Tech, which has quickly fallen off the pace.
Leading the country with 61.0 points per game, the Bears (8-0, 5-0) got off to a sluggish start before beating then-No. 12 Oklahoma 41-12 last Thursday in their first matchup against a ranked opponent. Bryce Petty threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns while adding 45 yards and two more scores on the ground.
"We're just talented, man. We're committed. I think that's all you can say about it," said Petty, who has thrown 21 TDs and one interception. "It's a very special team."
Petty, who had passed for at least 312 yards in each of the previous seven games, found Antwan Goodley six times for 80 yards and two TDs. Reese, though, was held without a catch before dislocating his right wrist after coming down awkwardly late in the first half.
Reese ranks third in the Big 12 with an average of 103.0 receiving yards and second with eight touchdowns, just behind Goodley's conference-leading marks of 121.8 yards per game and 10 scores. Reese also leads the FBS with 25.0 yards per catch.
The Bears, fifth in the BCS standings, are hoping he can return in time for a bowl game.
"I'm eager to see how it changes from a schematic standpoint and a philosophical standpoint," said coach Art Briles, who agreed to a new 10-year contract Wednesday. "We're going to have to kind of change how we think and how we feel without Tevin because he's the fastest receiver in America. ... We'll have to compensate in a variety of ways."
Baylor could look to get its potent ground game even more involved against the Red Raiders (7-3, 4-3), who have allowed 849 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns during a three-game losing streak.
Texas Tech saw its woes continue last Saturday with a 49-26 loss to Kansas State, giving up a season-worst 291 rushing yards.
"We're playing another great rushing team next week, so we've got to come up with some answers," coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
The Red Raiders can't be excited about facing the Bears, who are averaging 295.4 yards on the ground to rank ninth in the nation. Freshman Shock Linwood carried the ball 23 times for a season-high 182 yards against the Sooners after Lache Seastrunk (groin) and Glasco Martin (knee) were hurt.
Linwood is averaging 89.3 yards rushing, second in the Big 12 behind Seastrunk's 111.0 per game.
"Shock's performance was non-surprising to all of y'all that have watched us playing this year," Briles said. "The thing that has helped is we've been able to play these guys, some good Saturday quality playing time in meaningful games. ... (Shock) plays with a tremendous amount of passion and confidence and delivers."
While Baylor's offensive performances have dominated the headlines, its defensive efforts have proven nearly as impressive. The Bears are surrendering 15.4 points per game, college football's sixth-best mark.
"They keep us in it," Petty said. "Any time that we can get a stop on defense, then swing back over to us, it helps us out a lot."
The Bears, who ran for 278 yards in last season's 52-45 overtime victory over Texas Tech, have outscored opponents by an average of 35.8 points during a school-record 12-game winning streak.
"They're solid in every phase and playing with a ton of confidence right now," Kingsbury said. "I think that knocking them off from being undefeated will be a great accomplishment."
While Saturday's clash at AT&T Stadium is fast approaching, Kingsbury has yet to name a starting quarterback. Davis Webb went 13 of 20 for 78 yards and a touchdown last weekend before being replaced by Baker Mayfield, who was 34 for 44 for 276 yards and two interceptions.
Webb also started the previous four games with Mayfield out due to an injured left knee. The QBs have combined for 24 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
"They're young. That's part of the process and our system. You have to grow with it," Kingsbury said. "But at this point in the season you'd think some of those (turnovers) could be eliminated."
The Texas Tech run defense picked a bad time to fall apart -- it must now face the dominant Baylor ground game, which is averaging 295 yards per game. Top backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin went down with injuries against Oklahoma, but redshirt freshman Shock Linwood stepped in and rushed for 182 yards. Seastrunk is the more likely of the two veterans to play this week, but with Linwood (5-8, 200) ready to roll, defensive end Kerry Hyder and the Red Raiders will have to play their best game of the season to reverse a three-game losing streak.
At this point in a breakthrough season, each week offers an opportunity for a fresh milestone in the Baylor football program.
No. 5 Baylor (8-0, 5-0 in Big 12) already has secured its loftiest BCS perch in school history, as well as its only 8-0 start to any football season, heading into Saturday’s 6 p.m. showdown with Texas Tech (7-3, 4-3) at AT&T Stadium.
The Bears’ unprecedented success has college football analysts, as well as Baylor fans, speculating about the team’s opportunity to reach the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif. A study released this week by PredictonMachine.com, based on multiple computer-generated simulations of title contenders’ remaining games and potential postseason matchups, gave Baylor a 36.9 percent chance of finishing with a 12-0 record and a 22.7 percent chance of playing in the BCS title game.
Among national championship contenders, only No. 1 Alabama (65.2 pct.) and No. 2 Florida State (65.6 pct.) received better odds than Baylor to make it to the title game at the Rose Bowl. The simulations gave Baylor a 36 percent chance to beat Alabama and a 42 percent chance to beat Florida State if either of those matchups materialize.
Such speculation marks uncharted territory for a Baylor football program that has not won a conference title since 1980 and never has been in the national title discussion this late in any prior season. But players insist the buzz about what might happen in January has not become a distraction that could impact what happens Saturday in AT&T Stadium, where Baylor will arrive as a 27-point favorite.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the best or the worst. You always have something to prove,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “Having that mentality going in each and every week has been a point of emphasis. That’s why we’ve done so good and we have to keep that up. I don’t think it would matter if we were ranked No. 4, No. 24 or No. 1. We’re going to come out prepared and ready to go.”
Baylor coach Art Briles chuckled when asked if he worried about his players looking past Tech because the contest is sandwiched between last week’s 41-12 rout of then-No. 10 Oklahoma and next week’s game at No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-1, 5-1). Briles quickly shot down any talk of a potential “trap” game.
“Not at all. The trap is thinking it might be a trap,” Briles said, citing the Bears’ 2-16 record in the team’s last 18 meetings against Tech as reason for players to stay grounded. “In the Big 12, every game is critical and every opponent is a worthy opponent. Tech has the same players on the field they had three weeks ago when they were ranked No. 10 in the country.”
Baylor, on the other hand, probably will play without three significant playmakers in the team’s point-per-minute offense that leads the nation in scoring (61.0 points per game). Receiver Tevin Reese (dislocated wrist), who averages an NCAA-best 25 yards per catch, will miss the remainder of the regular season. The team’s top two running backs, Lache Seastrunk (groin) and Glasco Martin (knee), missed practices this week, thrusting Baylor’s ground-game focus on freshman Shock Linwood, who is expected to make his first college start against Tech.
Briles said the Bears’ roster, for the past year, has included “Big 12 quality depth” but Saturday’s game will mark Baylor’s most severe test to date in backing that claim. Asked about the importance of Linwood and other reserves stepping up against Tech, Briles said: “It’s something that’s going to have to happen. What we’ve got to do is figure out who we’re going to lean on, how we’re going to lean on them and when we’re going to lean on them. That’s the situation.”
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, whose team has battled its own recent run of injuries to key defenders, indicated he has seen evidence of ample depth when studying Baylor videotapes. Asked about the Bears’ weaknesses, Kingsbury said: “Still trying to find them. They’re solid in every phase and playing with a ton of confidence right now.”
Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey said the Bears will approach each of their four remaining games as a “one-week season” in efforts to minimize getting sidetracked by the BCS big picture.
“We’re really excited for the respect that we are finally getting,” Lackey said. “We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves or get caught up in the media and the hype. So we’re doing a bunch of one-week seasons. I haven’t heard anyone on our team talk about us being in the top five in the BCS. That’s the cool thing about our team. We’re humble about it. We’re ready to keep this thing going and excited to see what the rest of the season has to offer.”
Following a 41-12 win over No. 10 Oklahoma, Baylor moved into the top five in the BCS for the first time. With higher rankings come higher stakes, and there are few stages more fitting for high-stakes football than AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
No. 5 Baylor football (8-0, 5-0) travels up I-35 to Arlington to take on Texas Tech (7-3, 4-3) in a matchup at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Baylor is coming off an authoritative win versus No. 10 Oklahoma on Nov. 7 . The Bears defeated the Sooners behind five all-purpose touchdowns from junior quarterback Bryce Petty and a dominant defensive performance. The Baylor defense held OU to 237 total yards and 87 rushing yards.
After starting the season with seven straight wins, Tech has struggled of late. The Red Raiders have lost three straight games: at No. 15 Oklahoma and against No. 18 Oklahoma State and Kansas State in Lubbock. In the three losses, Tech was outscored 139-90.
Tech is coming off a tough loss at the hands of Kansas State Saturday. Mayfield threw two interceptions in the loss, including a pick-six to Kansas State safety Ty Zimmerman. The Tech defense allowed Kansas State to rush for 291 yards on 45 attempts, including five rushing touchdowns.
Baylor’s offense is the highest-rated offense in the FBS. The Bears average 686.0 yards per game after eight games, almost 90 yards more than second place Oregon.
The Bears lead the nation with an average of 61.0 points per game, which is 9.0 points per game better than the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles.
Petty leads Baylor’s offense with 332.1 passing yards per game. Petty has escalated himself into midseason Heisman Trophy talk with his performance. Petty has thrown for 21 touchdowns and only one interception in eight games. He has also rushed for at least one touchdown in seven straight games.
“Texas Tech is a really good team, one we’re going to have to prepare for just like anybody else,” Petty said. “We’re going to have to be prepared on offense, defense and special team just like we’re facing the best team in the conference because right now that’s who they are.”
Junior running back Lache Seastrunk was pulled in the second quarter against Oklahoma after experiencing tightness in his groin. Seastrunk is listed as questionable heading into Saturday’s matchup. Senior running back Glasco Martin is doubtful with a sprained knee.
When Martin and Seastrunk went down against Oklahoma, redshirt freshman utility back Shock Linwood was given an opportunity. Linwood finished with 182 yards on 23 carries in the win.
“They’re planning on giving me more playing time against Tech,” Linwood said. “I’m going to have to step it up more and do more things that I wasn’t able to do the last few weeks.”
With Seastrunk and Martin perhaps missing time, Linwood will receive more carries. Redshirt freshman running back Devin Chafin will also likely receive more carries. Junior wide receiver Antwan Goodley may also receive carries out of the backfield.
For the first time this season, Baylor will face an equally potent passing offense. Texas Tech’s duo of freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and David Webb have led the Red Raiders to the most prolific passing offense in football. The Red Raiders pass for 408.2 yards per game, the most in the nation.
“It makes it fun because the opposing quarterbacks are young,” senior defensive end Terrance Lloyd said. “I don’t know if they’ve been in a situation playing a team as good as we are and a good defense. We just have to get after them and make them rattle back there a little bit.”
With Mayfield and Webb’s inexperience, the duo is turnover prone. Tech is bottom 10 in the nation in turnover margin, while Baylor ranks in the top 20.
An opportunistic Baylor secondary should be able to cause problems for the Tech offense.
Texas Tech has a much less diverse offense than Baylor. The Bears have a balanced rushing and passing attack, while the Red Raiders lean solely on the pass. Texas Tech’s rushing offense averages 122.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 105th.
Baylor ranks top 10 in the nation in passing defense, so something will have to give on Saturday. Baylor ranks ninth in the country in total defense, and first in the Big 12. The scoring defense ranks Baylor sixth in the nation. Many questions were answered after Baylor’s defense exploded against Oklahoma last weekend. There is a chance that this turns into a shootout, but Baylor is the heavy favorite to win.
No. 5 Baylor will take on Texas Tech at 6 p.m. Saturday at the AT&T Center in Arlington. The game will be nationally broadcast on Fox.