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Albany v Pittsburgh

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FIRST LOOK: Albany Great Danes

There is a Baylor football game in 4 days! 4 days, everyone!

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

MATCHUP: #10 Baylor Bears (—) vs. Albany Great Danes (—)
LOCATION: Waco, Texas
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. Albany Great Danes 2022
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Eh...
ODB QUICK HITTER: Albany
ODB DEPTH CHART POSTS: Here and Here.
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: Albany
BAYLOR GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): Here.
ALBANY GAME NOTES: From Albany.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Here.
SPREAD: Baylor -42, O/U 44.5
TV COVERAGE: ESPN+ and ESPN App
UNIFORM: PICKLE

WEATHER (IN WACO): From WundergroundPossible isolated/scattered showers throughout the day and into the evening Saturday with what looks like the highest chance of rain right around game time. High of 86 degrees with a game-time temp of 83, dropping into the 70s by the time the game is over. Not ideal weather considering there is a scheduled fireworks show after the game, honestly.

YOU HAVE QUESTIONS:

  • WHAT IN THE WORLD IS AN ALBANY GREAT DANE—Well, a Great Dane is a breed of dog that the American Kennel Club characterizes as “friendly, patient, and dependable”, and Albany is a state school in New York that competes in the FCS as a football-only member of the Colonial Athletic Association. Their colors are purple and gold, making them look kinda like the Vikings?
  • YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT, WHY ARE WE PLAYING THEM—We weren’t supposed to. This game was originally scheduled to be the second in a three-game series with Louisiana Tech that saw the first canceled in 2020 due to COVID and this game and one other canceled in January for unspecified reasons. It’s not clear who decided that series was a bad idea, but LA Tech replaced us with Missouri, so I’m going to assume they were scared.
  • ALBANY, REALLY—Listen, we’re less than a decade out from having played Wofford more than once. Calm down. We have Utah in non-conference for 2023 and 2024 (assuming that’s not a conference game by then...), Auburn in 2025 and 2026, and Oregon in 2027 and 2028, plus several open slots that will probably be finalized when we know how big our conference will actually be. Also, this is the first night home game we’ve had since Texas Southern last year, so I’m not too upset about it.
  • IS THE OVER REALLY 44.5 ON A 42-POINT SPREAD—Glad you asked, and yes. No, I’ve never seen that before, either. I’m tempted to say that appreciable rain might mean you should take the under, but ... no.

THOUGHTS ON THE GAME:

I don’t have many considering how little we know about either team, particularly Albany, given that this is the first game of the new season, and we have a somewhat new QB in Blake Shapen. None of the advanced stats are worth much at this point because they are entirely projections, and some even include elements from recruiting rankings that I can understand including in the absence of other information because hey, it’s data, but would ascribe almost no meaningful weight. It’s times like these that I really miss Bill C’s previews on the mothership from before he jumped over to ESPN.

Baylor should handle its business relatively easily, and from Aranda’s comments at his presser, it is obvious that’s what he expects to happen. He specifically mentioned last year’s opener—a 29-20 win at Texas State—as the type of game they want to avoid, namely one where they look somewhat uninspired/like they’re going through the motions, although I think (and thought at the time) that the trepidation about that game was massively overblown. The reality is that with this type of game, there are probably only two possible outcomes: either you meet your expectations, which are to destroy an inferior opponent, or you don’t and are disappointed. Rarely do you come out of a game like this with tremendously positive vibes, although that may be possible here if Shapen really lights it up considering how relatively inexperienced he and our young wideouts are, particularly playing together.

The “right” way to look at a game like this is that strengths should be strengths. The OL and DL should dominate considering they are vastly superior to their opponents in experience, talent, and depth. The former should open the way to a very strong running game, which is something I will watch closely as we are replacing both Smith and Ebner, and the latter should limit Albany’s, which lost its nearly 1000-yard rusher from last season in Karl Mofor. For Albany’s part their strength appears to be at wide receiver, where they return their top 2 pass-catchers last season in Roy Alexander (#2, listed as the starting slot receiver) and Jackson Parker (#10). Throwing them the ball, at least to start, will be Reese Poffenbarger (#7), and I’ll just lay this out there—if we get lit up by someone named Reese Poffenbarger, life is going to be really tough for me on Twitter. Hopefully that does not happen.

As far as things to watch, other than the running back rotation with Taye McWilliams, Qualan Jones, Josh Fleeks, and Sqwirl, is it too obvious to just say Shapen and sit with that? Aranda made a bold—and legitimately laudable—move in the spring to name Shapen the starter over Gerry Bohanon, the starter for nearly all of last season, allowing Bohanon to transfer to USF and grab the job there. They did it because, paraphrasing, they knew they needed to get better in the passing game to take the next step. The logic makes sense if you believe Bohanon was limited in that area, but I will admit that I’m not completely sold on Shapen as being that much better, although maybe being better at all is good enough to make the justify the move in the first place. I’ve frequently been wrong before, though, and I hope that happens again.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:

46-1, you heard it here first.

There wasn’t much about this specific game, so I went a little more general. Let’s chat in the comments below!

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