Now that we're just under two hours from kickoff of Baylor vs. ULM (click that link for full coverage), here's a few items of interest before we head into the GDT.
-- First, the GDT will, as always, go up 1 hour before game time. That means 6 PM CST. It's the first away game of the season, so I hope to have a great turnout!
-- Our long wait is over on uniforms! From the Baylor Football twitter account:
We didn't get exactly what many hoped for with new black matte or green helmets, and we're rocking the SMU blackout uniforms in response to ULM's whiteout. That means ULM allowed us to go with non-traditional road uniforms so they could do their whiteout tonight. Should be quite the contrast on ESPN!
-- I don't know if you saw this when I tweeted about it earlier, but we waited to travel until today for whatever reason. Our players didn't even board the plane until after 1, and didn't get to Monroe until after 2. I don't think it will be an issue, but it's interesting nonetheless.
-- Bill C's F/+ predictions have us winning and covering the spread tonight! It doesn't mean much, sure, but it's better to be favorites than not, right? (He has predictions from across the land, so don't just look for Baylor there).
-- If you're looking for a last-minute place to watch the game among friends, Baylor is here to help with a list of watch parties tonight.
-- Injury-wise, we should have a full bill of health in this game. Jake Jackson and Jay Lee were the only two players the last two weeks to miss time and both should be ready to go as far as I've heard.
Hit the jump for my final thoughts (or keys) before the game:
1. Pass protection will be critical: I told you in the defensive preview that we should expect to see a myriad of exotic blitzes, and I still believe that to be true. ULM will throw everything they have at us, everything. We're the last, best team on their schedule outside of Sun Belt play. They won't save anything for anybody else. We'll get their absolute best effort, believe that. Baylor was SHSU's Super Bowl last week and we'll be ULM's this week. Protecting Nick Florence is absolutely critical to giving our offense a chance to live up to its potential. That includes as plays end and ULM plays a little beyond the whistle. Fortunately...
2. Baylor has more speed on offense than they've seen this year: Or will see, really. Arkansas with Tyler Wilson was as close as their schedule gets to our offensive potential, and all they did was blow them out in the first 2.5 quarters before Wilson went down. Our offense should score enough points to win this game based on speed alone. It will be up to our defense to...
3. Contain Kolton Browning: For ULM to win this game, they will have to get an absolutely huge performance from Browning like they did against Arkansas. Our defense's highest priority will be to deny him that. When he escapes the pocket, he's dangerous in both the running and passing game. Keeping contain in the pocket and blowing up the designed running plays will be of paramount importance. With their passing offense predicated on short, quick throws to the outside, it will also be critical to...
4. Tighten up coverage on their receivers! I know you don't like to do it, Phil, you really don't. We can talk about why later. But if you run the same gameplan that puts K.J. Morton 12 yards off the ball, they will dink and dunk us to death. I promise you that. You're the DC and you make the decisions, sure, but please, give our CBs the chance to fail. They may surprise us all and pull a second-half-against-SHSU-like performance out. If we could do that and...
5. Free Lache!, I would be very happy. All in all, after spending two more days looking at it and hearing others weigh in from across the country, I'm confident Baylor will do what it takes to pull out the victory tonight. On ESPN. In front of a national crowd of millions.
The spotlight is on us tonight, Baylor, against a media darling in the ULM Warhawks. Take care of business.