With the 2020 season fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to dive into the difficulty of this year’s schedule. Keep in mind this isn’t solely based on the opponent alone, but rather the totality of the game, including, venue and time of year.
1.) @ Iowa State - If things go according to plan for the Cyclones, this game will be a pivotal opportunity to keep their Big 12 Title hopes alive. I expect a little revenge factor as well. Iowa State fans think they were out a disadvantage by being on the sideline in the hot Texas sun without tents, while Baylor enjoyed the shade in last year’s game. In addition, there was a on-field skirmish the last time the two teams met in Ames. A motivated Iowa State combined with a probable cold weather atmosphere could make it difficult for the Bears.
2.) @ Oklahoma - Assuming Lincoln Riley has the OU offense rolling again, a young Baylor defense will certainly have challenges. Remember, this is a defense that is losing a lot of production from 2019. The the 3 prior games are against Kansas, La Tech, and Incarnate Word. So the Bears will have to adjust in a hurry.
3.) Oklahoma State - The Cowboys are the trendy pick to be in Arlington. They return a lot of players on defense and their best offensive play-makers on offense, including, Chuba Hubbard. Two things stops me from putting this game higher on the list. First, Baylor beat OSU with the same players last year and that was on the road. The Bears won by 3 scores. Second, Baylor has had the Cowboys number lately, winning 6 out of the last 8. And some of those were against some solid OSU teams.
4.) (Houston, TX) Ole Miss - If the game is played on it’s scheduled date, it’ll be one of the most anticipated match-ups of the weekend. The two schools have a lot of similarities. Both are breaking in former SEC coordinators who have a National Championship under their belt, and both are expected to better on offense than defense. It’s a neutral site game. And hopefully there is added motivation for coach Dave Aranda. The Ole Miss offense kinda had its way with the LSU defense last year. Even having a QB rush for over 200 yards against the Tigers.
5.) @ Texas - I think the Longhorns are going to better than some of the team listed above them, but the Bears don’t seem to be intimated by the atmosphere in Austin. The last couple of trips have come down to the wire. And you have to think Charlie Brewer will be laser focused playing in his hometown for the last time.
6.) TCU - I went back and forth between TCU and my #7th. Unfortunately, the facts are what they are. The fact is Baylor plays with a lot of pressure at home when they play against the Horned Frogs. I expect Baylor to be slightly better than TCU in 2020, but the Bears can’t afford to come out flat in this one.
7.) @ Texas Tech - It’ll be Baylor’s first trip to Lubbock since 2008. A lot has changed since then. Baylor pretty much replaced Tech as the dark-horse team that challenged for Big 12 supremacy. I think Red Raider fans realize that. They will be motivated when the Bears come to town. I personally need some better memories. I remember being in Grande Communications Stadium in Midland playing in a playoff game my senior year the last time Baylor played in West Texas. I was just accepted to Baylor and was pleasantly surprised to hear the PA announcer give the updates to the game, as Baylor led 28-14. Then 28-21. Then 28-28. And finally 35-28 Tech. Anyways, we ended up losing the playoff game as well. Then I got on a bus for long trip back home. Bad memories man
8.) @ WVU - It did not go well the last time Baylor was in Morgantown. Thankfully, it won’t be the same caliber team from 2018. I expect WVU to be vastly improved, but not enough that Baylor should be overwhelmed.
9.) Kansas State - It’s crazy that I ranked this game #9. This Wildcat team will have a senior QB that showed promise last year. In fact, if it wasn’t for Baylor, Kansas State would have been the surprise team of the Big XII in 2019. My hope is that by game 12 Baylor’s offense is hitting on all cylinders and the defense has shown growth.
10.) La Tech - This could be a trap game. The Bulldogs were a 10-win team a year ago and they catch Baylor early on. Still, even if the Bears struggle early on, the talent should win out in the end.
11.) Kansas - Baylor dominated last year, but I don’t expect as big a margin in 2020.
12. Incarnate Word