The newly-minted #16 Baylor Bears welcome the unranked Texas Longhorns to McLane Stadium on Saturday morning at 11 AM on ABC in a game that, as Travis noted yesterday, presents a tremendous opportunity for Baylor to continue a realistic march toward a potential Big 12 Championship Game berth. With respect to that game, Vegas has the Bears as a very slight favorite thus far; the line opened at Baylor -1.5 yesterday afternoon before moving as high as -3.5 and then settling at -2.5 (at least for now) according to VegasInsider.com. The O/U is currently 62.
My SP+-to-spread conversion divining rod has never been particularly astute, but it seems like Bill C’s metrics would agree with Baylor having a slight edge here. The Bears are #22 in his latest SP+ rankings with the #52 offense, #16 defense, and #25 special teams, while Texas trails slightly at #25 overall with the #10 offense, #57 defense, and #9 special teams. For my part it seems like these numbers underrate our offense while overrating our defense, with the inverse happening for Texas at this point.
This spread will be interesting to watch. Public perception of Texas feels like it’s generally down after two-straight losses to schools in Oklahoma (with their third loss coming to Arkansas earlier in the season), but they’ve yet to be beaten decisively in Big 12 play. Rather, their team simply ... falls apart in the second half after strong first halves. This would seem to be correctable if you believe the first half is more an indicator of true talent and ability than the second or a serious, serious problem if you believe the opposite. Where the spread goes in this game will largely depend on which Texas team you believe is the “real” Texas.