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Baylor vs. Texas -- GAME DAY -- Links, Notes, TV Schedule, Game Time

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The last game of the 2015 regular season is here, and our Baylor Bears will welcome the Texas Longhorns to McLane Stadium with a Sugar Bowl berth on the line.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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12/12/7 BAYLOR (9–2, 6–2) vs. NR/NR/NR Texas (4–7, 3–5)
Dec. 5, 2015 | 11 a.m. CT
Waco, Texas | McLane Stadium (45,140)

TV: ESPN
Watch | Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Notes

OPPONENT: Texas Longhorns
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. Texas Longhorns 2015
MEET THE PRESS: Baylor vs. Texas
FIRST LOOK: Baylor vs. Texas
PREDICT THE SCORE
: Baylor vs. Texas
ADVANCED STATS PREVIEW: Baylor vs. Texas
SB NATION BLOG: Barking Carnival and Burnt Orange Nation, at right
SPREAD: Baylor –21.5 (Open: Baylor –21)
TV COVERAGE: ESPN, 11:00 a.m. CST Saturday
WEATHER FORECAST: Partly Cloudy, high of 62° (wunderground puts) game time temp at 52° AND A 3% CHANCE OF RAIN)
BAYLOR UNIFORM: It's the Chrome Pickle!

SBNation.com Texas Preview
baylorbears.com Preview
Bears vs. Longhorns Coverage

The Big News:

Baylor closes out the 2015 regular season with Senior Day today against the Texas Longhorns in what should be the first good-weather game in Waco since we played West Virginia on October 17.  That's the great news.

Unfortunately, the taint of injuries will still be present today as both sides will be without key players.  Chris Johnson will get the start for Baylor again at QB, and Tyrone Swoopes will do the same for Texas.  It's unclear if Jerrod Heard is completely unable to play, or if they're just keeping him out at the beginning.  But we'll find out.

Baylor will also be without one or both starting safeties, I believe, in Orion Stewart and, maybe, Chance Waz, while Texas is missing so many players on their defense that I can't even list them.  DT Hassan Ridgeway is an unknown, freshman sensation LB Malik Jefferson is out alongside MLB Peter Jinkens, and so is maligned-but-important safety Dylan Haynes.  That's just on defense; on offense, Texas will start RB Chris Warren (who tore up Tech a week ago, as most RBs do) in the place of D'Onta Foreman, and there's a rumor going around that the Longhorns may (but absolutely should not) pull the redshirt of freshman QBs Kai Locksley or Matthew Merrick.

Advanced Stats:

Take a gander while you've got a chance over at Peter's Advanced Stats post this week. I'll give you the highlights below.

Category

Baylor (9-2)

Texas (4-7)

EDGE

Overall F/+ Rk 7 (42.5%)
82 (-8.7%)
BAYLOR
Overall FEI Rk 9 (.184)
76 (-.028)
BAYLOR
Overall S&P+ Rk 8 (19.5)
84 (-1.6)
BAYLOR
Field Position Advantage 76
47 Texas

So there's a lot of BAYLOR on Peter's stats post, and it's not at all mysterious why.  The Texas offense is simply horrendous at everything except running the ball, where they're slightly better.  The Texas defense is pretty bad, too, although they have a slight edge on us in stopping the pass, somewhere we've struggled in recent weeks relative to our earlier performances.

The one thing Baylor needs to keep control of in this game is protecting Chris Johnson.  Texas has the #8 adjusted sack rate in the country on passing downs, and I guarantee you they will sell out to put as much pressure as possible on Johnson to try to interrupt his timing and give their secondary a chance to stick with our wide receivers.

Thoughts on the Game:

Rather than go with my normal keys or themes to the game, I'm going to highlight specific unit matchups that will decide how successful Baylor is today against Texas.

  • Baylor OL vs. Texas DL: As I said above, Texas is going to rely on a pretty good pass rush to disrupt our offense and put Chris Johnson on his back.  In their last games at McLane Stadium, our senior tackles Spencer Drango and Pat Colbert need to keep that pocket as clean as possible, while senior guards Blake Muir and Jarell Broxton need to pave the way inside.
  • Baylor WRs vs. Texas Safeties: We have a chance here to put together big plays down the middle of the field against Texas safeties, and if we can take advantage, this game shouldn't be close. K.D. Cannon should have a HUGE day as Texas gears up to stop Corey Coleman.
  • Texas RBs vs. Baylor LBs:  I've discounted his stats against Texas Tech a bit for obvious reasons, but Chris Warren is good.  And I'm inluding Swoopes in this because he's basically a RB in their "18-wheeler" formation, anyway.  Texas' offensive strategy will likely involve a ton of both of those guys, and our LBs have to be ready to fill gaps and get off blocks.

In addition to the above, my big key for this game is LIMIT TURNOVERS.  Yes, the game last week was played in a monsoon on a field that didn't hold up.  But the reason we lost that game, above basically all other reasons, was turnovers.  We simply cannot give Texas free possessions or easy opportunities as a big underdog in a rivalry game.  That's how you lose.  Thankfully, I think we'll get that largely cleaned up, leading to...

My Prediction: Baylor 49, Texas 24.

LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS:

No. 12 Football Faces Texas in Home Finale - Baylor Official Athletic Site
Baylor hosts Texas in its regular season finale at 11 a.m. CTSaturday on ESPN.

How the final Saturday's changing the College Football Playoff picture, updated throughout - SBNation.com
Notes on what each Playoff committee-ranked team is up to during conference championship weekend.

How to watch Texas vs. Baylor on TV or online, plus 3 things to know - SBNation.com
The Longhorns and Bears will finish their 2015 regular season with a game that doesn't mean much.

John Morris: Senior Day, sunshine mean great football - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Bears Football
I remember one year before Baylor was in the Big 12 when the Bears played Houston in Waco, and it rained for a really long time. It was like a monsoon hit town.

Weather back on Bears’ side vs. Texas at sunny McLane Stadium - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Bears Football
Playing in a torrential downpour at TCU, Baylor sophomore quarterback Chris Johnson never really felt comfortable throwing the football.

Turnovers piling up for Baylor offense in recent weeks - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Bears Football
When Baylor dropped a 28-21 double-overtime decision to TCU last Friday in Fort Worth, the rainy weather made hanging onto the ball a constant challenge. Quarterback Chris Johnson described it as like "trying to play with a wet bar of soap with the weight of a bowling ball."

College football: Baylor looking for Sugar Bowl bid without Big 12 title | NCAA.com
No. 12 Baylor looking for Sugar bid without 3rd Big 12 title

College Sports: Baylor prediction: QB Chris Johnson rebounds, leads Bears to spirited win over Texas | SportsDay
No. 12 Baylor vs. TexasWhen: 11 a.m. SaturdayWhere: McLane Stadium in WacoRecords: No. 12 Baylor Bears (9-2, 6-2 Big 12); Texas Longhorns (4-7,...

College Sports: Five things Baylor fans should know about the Texas Longhorns, including young contributors | SportsDay
Baylor football picked up its second loss on Friday night to TCU, but still has plenty to play for this season. With a win over the vaunted Texas...

TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS:

Well-said, Amy. Remember, it doesn't matter HOW we win today; the Committee is irrelevant to us now. We just need to win. Just win. #SicEm