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Baylor vs. Texas Tech Preview / Prediction / Poll Thread

Football time has come again, almost as if it was a weekly thing at this point! I'm excited. Saturday, Baylor takes on Texas Tech in Jerryworld in Arlington. Let's go ON THE RECORD.

I was THIS close to choosing the picture of the girl in the wedding dress as "Mrs. Kingsbury."  THIS close.
I was THIS close to choosing the picture of the girl in the wedding dress as "Mrs. Kingsbury." THIS close.
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

4/4/5 BAYLOR (8-0, 5-0) vs. NR/RV/NR TEXAS TECH (7-3, 4-3)
Nov. 16, 2013 | 6:00 p.m. CT
Arlington, Texas | AT&T Stadium (80,000)

Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Notes | Tickets | In-Game BlogSportStream | Gameday Central

ODB Game Hub: Baylor Bears vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders 2013
Stats Preview: Baylor vs. Texas Tech Stats Preview
First Look: Texas Tech
SB Nation Tech Preview: Hello Again, Fun
Week 12 F/+ Picks: Baylor by 31
2013 Baylor Depth Chart: vs. Texas Tech
2013 Texas Tech ROSTER, DEPTH CHART (opens as .pdf, page 11)
Texas Tech SB Nation Blog: Viva the Matadors
VTM's Baylor Iconography
SPREAD: Baylor -27.5

UNIFORMS: Don't know yet.


Baylor -- This is going to be ugly.
Tevin Reese -- OUT for the remainder of the regular season (wrist)
Lache Seastrunk -- DAY-TO-DAY (I'm going to guess OUT for this game)
Glasco Martin -- DAY-TO-DAY (I'm going to guess OUT for this game)

Otherwise, it's all roses and sunshine!

Texas Tech -- Hoping someone from the Tech side can help me out here.  I know they have a myriad of injuries, especially on defense, but I couldn't find a good list.  If someone would be so kind, I will credit you in the post.

Brian Nance News:

He waits. He watches.

Statmilk Infographic:

H/T to Luke Zimmerman, the head honcho of college blogs, for providing this about 5 minutes after I requested it.  And Statmilk, of course.  Check it out.  It's customizable.

Thoughts on the Game:

I don't have many, to be honest.  According to the stats, it seems like a total mismatch.  That's why F/+ favors us by 31 points and Vegas threw down a ~4 TD spread.  Of course, as the commenters on VTM were nice enough to point out, stats don't win games.  If you printed out my stats post and mailed it to Lubbock, it wouldn't stop them from showing up for the game.

So what does Baylor have to do to win?  Find an adequate replacement for Tevin Reese from among Corey Coleman, Levi Norwood, Robbie Rhodes, Jay Lee, and/or Clay Fuller (or some combination of those people), establish a running game to suck the Tech defenders into the box, and go to work.  On defense, we have to challenge whichever freshman QB starts -- either Baker Mayfield or Davis Webb, VTM seems to favor Mayfield -- to throw the ball down field.  If we let them nickel and dime us with short passes, they will.  I have to believe Kingsbury is totally ok throwing the ball to Jace Amaro 20 times if that's what it takes to sustain drives and score points.  Speaking of Amaro, I asked Ian Boyd on twitter how best to handle him (and the Tech offense, generally).  He responded:

I think he's right.  Texas Tech's offense at this point is not one conducive to big plays down the field.  That's not what the Air Raid does as a matter of course, anyway.  Baylor has to make them try to do too much, opening up opportunities for incomplete passes putting them behind schedule and/or turnovers that give us the ball.

I'm quite confident that even should our top 2 RBs not play as I suspect, Rashodrick Linwood and Devin Chafin, with perhaps a carry or two to Antwan Goodley throw in for good measure, will be able to carry the load.  The Tech defense, decimated as it is by injury and plagued by the ineffectiveness of those who remain, is not good against the run.  According to S&P+, it's even worse against the pass.  Establishing a running game against it gives us the opportunity to throw the ball down the field as we love to do and put up points that Tech can't match.

Everything about this game points to Texas Tech throwing the ball a lot.  I mean a lot, a lot.  Last week, Mayfield and Webb combined to throw 64 passes against Kansas State.  The week before, Webb himself threw the ball 71 times.  Expect more of the same almost regardless of the outcome on Saturday.  That will be an interesting challenge for our linebackers, corners, and safeties, particularly Eddie Lackey, Sam Holl, Demetri Goodson, and K.J. Morton.  Thankfully, all are playing extremely well right now and should be more than up to the task.

Key Matchups:

Jace Amaro vs. Sam Holl/Ahmad Dixon -- I'm assuming that Baylor will give a significant amount of safety help to whoever draws Amaro on a given play.

Kenny Williams vs. Baylor DL / Bryce Hager -- Tech is the 9th-best running team in the conference by yards per game.  If Baylor can stop their running game without committing extra players to the effort, it helps us stop their short and intermediate passing game.  Also, it takes the threat of play action off the table.  I know I just finished saying that Tech will likely throw the ball all over the field, but I don't think they want to, if they can avoid it.

Baylor OL vs. Texas Tech Blitzers -- Without our top 2 RBs helping on blitz pickup, I'm a bit nervous what a Texas Tech defense that has little to lose could bring at our offensive line.  We saw against OU how awful free rushers can be off the edge, and Tech saw that, too.  I've heard people say before that blitz pickup is one of the more difficult things a RB does in our system, so it makes sense that the relatively inexperienced Linwood would suffer in that area.

Antwan Goodley vs. Bruce Jones / Olaoluwa Falemi -- Those are the corners for Tech most likely to line up opposite Goodley.  They're also 5'9" or shorter and very slight of build.  Goodley could be in for a big game in terms of yards after the catch against the smaller DBs.

My Prediction:

Last week, I almost nailed the final margin of victory for the Bears (I was off by 1 point 29-28).  Unsure of how we would do against the run but confident of our ability to throw the ball, I overestimated the offense and underestimated the defense.  That's what I get.

It's easy to forget that this will be just the third game away from Floyd Casey that the Bears will play this year, and the first not taking place in the Sunflower State.  Tech should bring quite the crowd to Arlington, and if things go well for the Red Raiders early, they could impact the game.  Still, after looking over the matchups and how I expect things to play out from the stats, I'm confident in predicting that Baylor will cover the spread, albeit by only a little. I think Bryce Petty has a big day throwing the ball, Linwood reprises his role from last week as the #1 back, and the Bears keep Tech in the 20s.

FINAL SCORE: Baylor 54, Texas Tech 24.

Now what do you think? Share your predictions for this game in the comments and vote in the poll below!