MATCHUP: Baylor Bears (6-4, 3-3) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (10-0, 7-0)
LOCATION: Waco, Texas
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears at TCU Horned Frogs 2022
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Frogs O’ War (FOW)
OURDAILYPODCAST: Terms and Conditions Accepted (KSU Recap / TCU Preview)
OTHER PODCASTS: Please Bear With Me | Bear Den | Locked on Baylor | Between Two Bears | BearsIllustrated | SicEm365
ODB QUICK HITTER: TCU.
GAMEONPAPER PREVIEW: TCU.
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | TCU
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: TCU.
SPREAD: TCU -2.5 (same as open), O/U 57
TV COVERAGE: FOX, 11 AM (Big Noon Saturday)
UNIFORM: It’s the Pickle Again
We are firing up the Virtual Watch Party again on Playback for both tomorrow’s game against TCU and the basketball game tonight against Virginia. You should join! It’s a fun little environment for watching a game with other Baylor fans.
With all the uncertainty surrounding Twitter these days, we decided to set up a Discord where Baylor fans can meet and talk online. We went live with it yesterday to the masses and are already over 100 members. It’s been fun. See the link below for the invite:
WEATHER (IN WACO):
Cloudy and cold. That’s the forecast for tomorrow. Cloudy and cold. The temperature should be around 44 by the end of the game, but with a north wind, the wind chill won’t get out of the 30s. Bundle up!
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
These two teams have had very different seasons after starting in very different places. I won’t post the schedules because I think you know how things have generally gone. TCU started unranked after changing head coaches last year, and all they’ve done after stealing Sonny Dykes from SMU is reel off 10 straight wins to start the season, including a big win last week over then-ranked Texas in Austin. They are now #4 in all rankings, including the College Football Playoff and have clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game regardless how their last two games (us and ISU) turn out. But they’d obviously prefer to win those games.
Baylor, on the other hand, started the season ranked in the top 10 and now been unranked since the loss to West Virginia. We bounced back from that with three-straight wins over Kansas, Texas Tech in Lubbock, and Oklahoma in Norman, and the vibes were good. We went into last week in a home night game against a ranked KSU with Big 12 Championship Game hopes still alive provided we won out ... and then had one of the worst games of the Dave Aranda Era so far, losing 31-3.
I don’t want to call the KSU loss disappointing because every loss is disappointing in one way or another. Disappointing connotes something less than outright dejection and despair. This loss was disheartening. The offense, which had been trending upward over the last few weeks, completely fell apart after an early Blake Shapen interception. The defense could not stop Deuce Vaughn even when it was obvious that the ball was going to him. After Adrian Martinez left the game, KSU’s offense got better, and we had no chance. We lost 31-3 in the first home game where Baylor did not score at least 10 points since the 2020 Oklahoma State game that preceded nearly wholesale changes on the offensive side of the ball and the transfer of Charlie Brewer. I don’t think anything similar will happen this year as a result of this game, but it was nearly that bad. This was an ass-kicking in the purest form, and it started on offense. We were not competitive. Just writing this paragraph made it even more disheartening than it already was, if you can believe it. We’re off to a great start here.
ADVANCED STATS MINI-PREVIEW:
Baylor vs. TCU F+ Rankings
This is the first game of the season—as far as I am aware—where F+ clearly favors our opponent, as you might expect when they are 10-0 and we are ... not. F+ loves TCU’s offense, ranking them 9th, but is less strong on their defense. The difference is supported by total EPA and related stats as shown by GameonPaper (although EPA is much lower on TCU’s defense than F+, likely due to opponent adjustments):
Moving to a situation where Baylor may have an edge, let’s look at the run vs. run numbers (both offenses above, both defenses below):
Now, I want to qualify this with the statement that TCU has done extremely well against the run in recent weeks, holding all-everything RB Bijan Robinson to just 29 yards on 12 carries in the Texas game, Deuce Vaughn to just 83 yards on 12 carries against KSU, and Taj Brooks and SaRodorick Thompson to a combined 105 yards on 18 carries against Texas Tech. The Robinson number is particularly incredible because he’s really good. Like really, really good.
Somewhere that things look decidedly less positive for us is the passing game, particularly considering how downright bad Shapen was against KSU and how well they threw on us. See below:
TCU’s leading wide receiver is Quentin Johnson, and he’s a game-breaking wide receiver with all kinds of NFL prospects. Throwing the ball to him is a legitimate Heisman candidate in Max Duggan, who has a 25-2 touchdown-interception rate this season. If we’re relying on him throwing a bunch of picks to keep us in the game, that isn’t likely to happen.
ODB STAFF PREDICTIONS:
Here’s this week’s predictions. I’ll note that I did not give people very much opportunity to respond, so don’t hold it against them if they didn’t.
- Peter Pope (@pbpope): BU 31, TCU 34.
- Branden MacKinnon (@Branden_MacK): BU 14, TCU 42.
- Michael Nichols (@pckt_chng): BU 10, TCU 35.
- Jenna Patteson (@jenp108): BU 28, TCU 24.
- Noelle Kakimoto (@NKakimoto): BU 24, TCU 21.
- Will Boles (@_willboles): BU 34, TCU 31.
- Jed Johnston (@BearMySoul17): BU 42, TCU 38.
- Scott Byrne (@BearNTex): BU 31, TCU 28.
- Fielding Montgomery (@FieldinOfDreams): BU 28, TCU 38.
- Deonte Epps (@DEppsRightStepS): BU 28, TCU 31.
I don’t think it’s going to be some big shock how I’m going on this game. TCU has everything to play for in a dream season with the CFP still very much in-play. Baylor came out against KSU and laid one of the biggest eggs in years when we still had an opportunity to make the Big 12 Championship Game. Unless things change dramatically in a rivalry game, I don’t know how you’d be very sanguine about our chances. TCU is the best team we will have played this year, possibly by a lot.
The biggest problem that I see with our team this year isn’t QB play, or play-calling, or an inexperienced secondary on which we are unwilling to rely, leading to a hesitance to blitz. It is a lack of player leadership. Last season, we had an abundance with guys like Jalen Pitre, Terrel Bernard, JT Woods, Abram Smith, and Gerry Bohanon. The team responded to every setback, finished better than it started, and never looked overwhelmed by the moment. We don’t have that this year, and where you would otherwise expect someone to step up to fill the void, we haven’t yet. And the entire team has suffered.
I’ve gone against Baylor in recent weeks as a sort of anti-jinx, and it worked until KSU. Then it didn’t work against KSU when I actually thought we had a chance to win. So whatever I’m doing today is not because I think it might have an impact on the game, however small. The reality is that I don’t see the fight in this team that it would take to overcome what is probably a much better team in this kind of game.
My Prediction: Baylor 24, TCU 38.
But what do you think?
Predict the outcome of tomorrow’s game against TCU.
This poll is closed
Baylor, huge (21+)
Baylor, big (14-20)
Baylor, medium (7-13)
Baylor, close (1-6)