MATCHUP: #8 Baylor Bears (9-2, 5-2) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-5, 3-5)
LOCATION: Waco, TX
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders 2021
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Viva The Matadors (VTM)
OURDAILYPODCAST: Gritty Win & Wedding Cosplay
OTHER BAYLOR PODCASTS: Between Two Bears | SourGrapesPod | Please Bear With Me | Bear Den | SicEm365’s Bear Cast
FIRST LOOK: Texas Tech Red Raiders
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | TT
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: Texas Tech
GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): Here.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Here.
SPREAD: BU -14.5, O/U 52
TV COVERAGE: FS1, 11 AM Saturday
UNIFORMS: Green, green, white.
Let’s Talk About the Weather Again.
It’s not going to be good no matter who you believe. A very November, outdoor BU-TT Bowl kinda day, actually. Below is the hourly forecast for tomorrow from Wunderground.com, which I’ve been watching like a hawk over the last couple of days.
The Sickos Committee is probably really looking forward to a cold, wet game between Baylor and Texas Tech, but even if that kind of environment might favor us because we have Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner and Texas Tech does not, I am not. Pack your cold-weather rain gear, which I assume you have, and get ready. AND GET YOUR BUTT TO THE GAME.
Because It’s Senior Day, That’s Why.
Nobody in the history of Baylor Football has played more games than Ebner. When the entire program basically fell apart after Briles got fired and we lost what had been to-date our best recruiting ever, one recruit stuck around: Jalen Pitre. I don’t know if there will ever be a statue of Pitre at/around McLane Stadium (if it seems like I am very pro-statue, it’s because I am), but there should be. Jalen Pitre—The One Who Stayed. Think of all the seniors that could have left when Matt Rhule did and probably had options to do so, could have transferred when given immediate eligibility and an extra season in the midst of 2-8 last season, and didn’t. Think of all the guys that have helped rebuild Baylor Football for the third time in the last 13-14 years when other schools couldn’t manage the feat even once. They deserve support, and even though it’s going to be cold and wet and will probably not be a fun experience tomorrow, I’m going to the game for them more than anything else. You should, too, if you can.
But I Won’t Be Wearing White Pants, Even If They Will.
If you saw the uniform announcement this week and thought “that seems weird,” you are justified. Baylor has never worn green-green-white since the rebrand, much less in our prior six home games this year, five of which had green helmets and jerseys but green pants, as well (the sixth was Iowa State, when we went with all gold/yellow).
If you’re mad about it for whatever reason, why? They’re just pants. I mean, I’m not wearing white pants because it’ll be wet and it’s after Labor Day, although I don’t really care about the Labor Day thing. I don’t actually own white pants.
This Spread Has Been Really Consistent.
Like remarkably so. Baylor has been a 14.5-point favorite since late Sunday evening, which is five full days ago. The O/U has only shifted slightly since then to 52 but not at all since Monday morning. I just find that really interesting. But let’s talk about the game itself!
Gerry Bohanon Isn’t Going to Play, Folks.
I rarely go out on limbs like this because of how much people like to “this aged well” on others, and once again, I am saying this without any inside information whatsoever. My question for you would be: why risk it? Assume he’s healthy enough to play tomorrow, do you really want him out there running around with what I assume would be limited mobility on a potentially wet field? Why? Just play Blake Shapen, let him hand the ball off about 40 times (but also air it out if circumstances permit), and lean on the Red Raiders.
According to FootballOutsiders.com, here are Texas Tech’s rankings in specific defensive line categories: Power Success (101); Stuff Rate (71); Sack Rate (118); Standard Downs Sack Rate (125); and Pass Downs Sack Rate (101). Baylor, by contrast, is #1 in the country in Standard Downs Sack Rate and #13 in Sack Rate. Let. Shapen. Cook.
Players To Know:
- #7 Donovan Smith—Listed as the starter at QB on Tech’s depth chart this week. His last two games could not have been less similar. Against ISU he was fantastic (25/32 passing for 322 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT). Against OSU he was horrible (9/29 passing for 83 yards). Let’s hope we get an OSU-like performance tomorrow.
- #4 SaRodorick Thompson—Listed as an “OR” starter at RB with several others, Thompson leads the team in rushing attempts, yards, and TDs.
- #13 Erik Ezukanma—Tech’s leading receiver in terms of receptions, yards, and TDs.
- #19 Tyree Wilson—Starting defensive end and Tech’s #2 in “havoc” plays, defined as TFLs, PBUs, interceptions, or fumble recoveries. Wilson leads Tech in sacks (5) and TFLs (11.5).
- #17 Colin Schooler—Starting SAM LB and the team leader in havoc plays, largely due to leading the team in forced fumbles and being above average in all other categories. Also leads Tech in tackles on the season.
- #25 Dadrion Taylor-Demerson—Starting safety and team leader with 3 interceptions and 7 PBUs on the season, both of which lead the Red Raiders.
Three major things stand out to me about this Texas Tech team—1) they are terrible at giving up explosive plays, particularly through the air, 2) they are bad at creating explosive plays on the ground, and 3) they are really terrible at giving up havoc plays to opposing defenses. That is a bad mixture against a team like Baylor that is basically the mirror image—we create a good amount of explosive plays, particularly through the air, and have the Conference’s leader in havoc plays in Jalen Pitre, as well as two others (Dillon Doyle and Terrel Bernard) that are 18th and 21st (in the conference).
If there is a silver lining for Tech, it’s the same one we’ve talked about against prior opponents—we’re still pretty bad at giving up explosive passing plays. We managed to keep that to a minimum against OU and KSU by containing Williams and Howard, and we should be able to do the same thing against Smith. It’s important to remember that Tech’s offense is led by a true disciple of the Air Raid—Sonny Cumbie—who McGuire decided this week to keep on. So I would expect that Tech will attempt to throw it early and often against us. Of course, they tried that against Oklahoma State last week, too, and only completed 10 of 32 passing attempts while giving up 5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
I still don’t know what to think of the role McGuire being there now could or will play in this game, but I’ll mention it again. I assume we will have taken steps to mitigate that role by changing signs and what-not, but mere familiarity with our players and scheme like what McGuire probably has is valuable, too. I don’t expect this to affect the ultimate outcome in terms of whether we win or lose, but combine it with the weather, and you might get a closer game than you would otherwise expect.
I polled our usual suspects about tomorrow’s game.
- Peter Pope (@pbpope): Baylor 34, Tech 14.
- Kendall Kaut (@kendallkaut): Baylor 31, Tech 17.
- Travis Roeder (@travis_roeder): Did not respond as of time of post, will update if he does.
- David Fankhauser (@dfank_bu): Baylor 31, Tech 16.
- Amy Pagitt (@amygrahampagitt): I was close. She said Baylor 18, Tech -2.
- Jeff Davis (@penland365): Baylor 33, Tech 19.
- Matt Wilson (@mattisbear): Baylor 27, Tech 10.
- Etta (@bayloretta): Baylor 24, Tech 21.
I’ve picked against Baylor each of the last two weeks, and we won both games. I’m not going to do that today, but I think it will be closer than the spread.
Baylor 28, Tech 17.
Predict the outcome of tomorrow’s Baylor-Tech game.
This poll is closed
Baylor, big (17+)
Baylor, comfortable (11-16)
Baylor, close (4-10)
Baylor, squeak (1-3)