5/6/7 BAYLOR (9-1, 6-1) vs. NR/NR/NR TEXAS TECH (4-7, 2-6)
Nov. 29, 2014 | 2:30 p.m. CT
Arlington, Texas | AT&T Stadium (80,000)
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OPPONENT: Texas Tech Red Raiders
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders 2014
MEET THE PRESS: Baylor vs. Texas Tech
FIRST LOOK: Baylor vs. Texas Tech
STATS PREVIEW: Baylor vs. Texas Tech
ROLL CALL: Baylor vs. Texas Tech
SB NATION BLOG: Viva The Matadors, at right
SPREAD: Baylor -26.5 (Open: Baylor -21.5)
TV COVERAGE: ABC/ESPN, 2:30 p.m. CST
WEATHER FORECAST: Jerry World, ergo weather is irrelevant.
BAYLOR UNIFORMS: STORMTROOPER
As far as I am aware, Baylor is playing with as close to a full complement as we've seen in some time. All indications are that starting CB Ryan Reid will return this week after having missed the game against Oklahoma State, and it's clear by now that all three of Shock Linwood, Devin Chafin, and Johnny Jefferson is a big boon to our running game.
On the other side, things aren't so good. The Red Raiders have been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks, particularly in the secondary, where safeties J.J. Gaines (shoulder), Keenon Ward (head), Jalen Barnes (head) and Dorian Crawford (head) and cornerback Justis Nelson (head) have all missed time. It's unclear how many, if any, of them will play this week. According to the article I linked earlier in the week, we might see true freshman Derrick Dixon and special teams star John White at safety this week, although it's also possible that Kingsbury and co are playing possum a bit on whether any of the previous guys will play. I will say that if Tech is having issues at safety, that's a really bad sign for them against the Baylor defense. Few teams, if any, challenge opposing safeties like the Bears.
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that whether Davis Webb will play is still a question at this point. I think he practiced this week.
I'm having difficulty finding other injury information for Tech going into this game that is updated from weeks past. If you see something, please let me know.
Because of the holiday, it's probably been a couple of days since you looked over Peter's Advanced Stats Preview for Texas Tech. I highly suggest you do so again. The broad strokes:
|Overall F/+ Rk||10 (27.9%)
|Overall FEI Rk||11 (.229)
|Overall S&P+ Rk||5 (249.3)
|Field Position Advantage||6 (.561)
Baylor is a big favorite going into tomorrow's game for good reason. By almost any measure, Tech has had an extremely disappointing season. Their offense, typically extremely strong, has been ravaged by injuries and inconsistent QB play this season and ranks just 48th in F/+. Their defense, which hoped to take a step forward, has done everything but and now ranks in the bottom 10 of the country. If you believe FootballOutsiders' stats, we have the better offense, defense, and special teams, and thus should handily win the game.
But this is college football, after all, so let's not go counting chickens.
Thoughts on the Game:
I'm going to dispense with most of this section this week not because I think this game already won-- far from it-- but because it's already late on the day before the game in a holiday week and I haven't had all that much time to look at Texas Tech. I will say that although they have struggled considerably this season, they remain extremely dangerous if only because they have absolutely nothing to lose. I guarantee you they would love nothing more than to ruin our chance at the CFB Playoff, and it wouldn't necessarily take actually winning the game to pull that kind of feat off. As Briles said earlier this week, we're going to get their best shot in this, their bowl game for 2014, and we need to be ready. While I don't see any reason to think their defense is going to be able to stop us consistently, it's entirely possible, if unlikely, that their offense has a little bit of early success, gets in a rhythm behind their young QB, and makes Baylor fans nervous in the first half for the third straight year.
Thankfully, that's about as far as it should go. Tech's defense, simply awful against the run and only slightly less so against the pass, has trouble in virtually every area where Baylor excels. They give up a ton of explosive plays, first downs, and value drives, and their defensive line stats are just ghastly. That's a big problem for them against a Baylor offense predicated on the run that will also challenge them down the field and needs an eye-popping day on national TV. Their best hope may be to try to keep the score relatively low by taking away the big play, but as they've seen before, we are more than content running the ball as often as makes sense. See Ganaway, Terrance in 2011.
When Tech gets the ball, they'll have to face a Bayor defensive line that has risen to #5 in the country in adjusted line yards (check the link above), #3 in power success rate (that's success rate against), and #4 in passing down line yards. That last one will actually be strength-on-strength for this game, since Tech's OL is ranked #4 in that stat*, mostly because they don't give up many sacks (#4 in adjusted sack rate). One reason that's true is that their offense is designed to get the ball away quickly from a shotgun snap, although it will be interesting to see how our typical coverage (tight with the corners and little safety help) affects that, either by forcing the QB to hold on to the ball longer waiting for receivers to get open or convincing Tech to try to go deep more often and doing the same.
*If you were curious and didn't look, our OL is #1 in passing down line yards.
At this point, the O/U on the game is listed at 80 points, probably a safe bet considering the game is indoors and on turf. Also, Baylor will be looking to score a lot of points for obvious reasons, and if Tech throws as much as we can probably expect, it could mean fast possessions for both sides and a ton of scoring opportunities. That may, however, work against us just like it helps us, since it's likely that Tech will have at least some success throwing the ball against our defense, and more opportunities for them probably means more points.
Final Score: Baylor 62, Texas Tech 27
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