Back when ODB was young, I did position group-by-position group previews of the team going into the season, following which ODBers would vote in a poll about how they saw the season playing out in terms of wins and losses.
I didn’t do the first part this year, but we can still do the second. Bill C’s Baylor preview for this season has a chart in it that attempts to project our performance this season. I couldn’t outright steal it in the normal way so I had to go old fashioned with the image below. It should give you some foresight into how the season plays out based on the best estimates of those that do this for a living. It also has our schedule in it in case you need to refresh your recollection. Sorry if it appears very small on your device or screen.
For my money, the goal this year is very simple: make a bowl game if at all possible. If that happens, this year will be an unqualified success. If it doesn’t we’re back in the realm of parsing individual performances, probably fighting a lot inside of the fanbase, etc. etc.
Others may disagree with me, but I break our schedule out into five groups of games based on what I think is the likely strength of our opponents combined with the venue of the game, starting with what should be the easier games on the schedule:
Absolute Must-Wins, No Excuses: (vs. Abilene Christian, vs. Kansas)
Originally I had three groups of games with the next group combined with this one, but then I separated them out because one of those games is an away game at UTSA. But given that we play Abilene Christian and Kansas at home, Baylor absolutely must double our win total from last season at the very minimum.
Should Win, Absolutely Need to Win: (@ UTSA, vs. Duke)
And we’re already going to get into territory that could get me on @ColdTakesExposed considering we played both of these teams last season and lost (but we lost to a lot of teams last season, so that’s not saying all that much). I put UTSA in this group rather than the first group because it’s @ UTSA. I put Duke in this group rather than the next one because we play them in Waco. I’m sure Duke fans think I’m drastically underrating them by including them here, and they may well be right. I invite them to tell me so in the comments.
Could Win, Probably Need 2 of 3: (@ ISU, vs. KSU,
vs. TT [Arlington])
I waffled hard on this because I initially had KSU in the second group above before moving them down. It’s not that I’m terrified of the wizard making me look like an idiot (probably for the ___th time), but I absolutely am. ISU was the surprise team of the conference last season on defense and returns stud RB David Montgomery. Kliff Kingsbury will probably be fighting for his job.
To get to bowl eligibility at 6 wins, we’re probably going to have to take 2 of these 3 games unless we upset someone in the next group.
Somewhat Plausible Upsets, but Upsets (vs. OSU, vs. TCU, @ UT)
Aside from probably Oklahoma, where you slot teams in the next two groups depends entirely on how you think the Big 12 as a whole will shake up this season. TCU fans will probably rail on me for putting them here rather than there, but I don’t trust Shawn Robinson yet. Obviously, you’ll be pretty good (at least) on defense as you always are. For the orange teams, Gundy has to replace his QB for the first time in a while (and it looks like they’re going with Taylor Cornelius, a former walk-on) and Texas still needs a QB to step up while they overcome a couple of significant losses on defense (that are being replaced by blue-chip recruits, to be fair).
If you’re banking on winning one of these games to get to bowl eligibility, you’re probably going to be upset. But if we manage to pull off an upset here (while making bowl eligibility elsewhere), the season goes from good to great.
Huge Upsets, No Doubt About It (@ OU, @ WVU)
Even if I’m skeptical about Kyler Murray at QB, I think these are the best two teams in the conference when it’s all said and done, and we’re playing both of them on the road. In the admittedly small sample size of three tries, we’ve never beaten West Virginia in Morgantown. And they have a QB that most seem to think will be one of the best in the country in Will Grier. In a much larger sample size of 12 tries, we’ve beaten Oklahoma in Norman exactly once (and it was a great game that you should rewatch next time you get a chance).
Take one of these two down (while making bowl eligibility elsewhere and grabbing another upset or two) and the season goes from great to special. But ... it’s unlikely.
So with all that said, below is a poll on Baylor football victories in 2018’s regular season. We’re not included potential bowl games here, although you can in the comments if you want. Being the tremendously, ridiculously huge homer that I am, I’m going...
6-6. We’re making a bowl game. I wanted to go 7-5 with a major upset, but I’m going to temper things a bit for now. Ask me again in four days, and I’ll likely have a very different answer.
How many games does Baylor Football win in 2018?
This poll is closed
As always, share your reasoning and thoughts in the comments!