SMU at Baylor
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - FS-1
CRIS Opener: Baylor -32 O/U 76
CRIS Current: Baylor -32 O/U 76
SMU went 1-11 in 2014, and the one win came in their season finale against an equally dismal 2-10 UConn squad. Last year, Chad Morris – the architect of the Clemson offense that hung 40 on Alabama in the National Championship Game in January – took over as head coach. There was a thorough housecleaning. Former Texas A&M quarterback Matt Davis – a top 10 dual threat prospect coming out of high school – got his feet wet in the first year as the starter and in Morris’ offense. But it wasn’t a successful season as SMU went 2-10.
This year, Davis is ready to take the next step, and SMU is primed to explode into an uptempo, high scoring offensive juggernaut. Their skill position talent has been dramatically upgraded – talented, fast kids want to play in this offense – and they’re healthy. After being forced to start freshmen on the line last year, this year, SMU returns 73 career starts on the offensive line. An offense that returns nine starters improved from 11.1 to 27.8 points per game between 2014 and 2015. Expect another fairly dramatic jump this year!
Here are some Chad Morris quotes that stand out: "I felt like last year we started out playing fast. As the year went on, we kind of scaled our offense back to help our football team out. We didn't have the depth, we couldn't hold up in the long run on defense, and so we actually slowed things down, which goes totally against everything I'm about, everything I've stood for the last five six years. And my response to that is, we still went 2-10.
"That didn't work. We really have depth in our defensive line, which is a plus for us. That will help keep a lot of guys fresh. But we're going to go back to doing what we do. We're going to play fast, extremely fast. I felt like in the spring we played as fast as we've ever played, going back to our time at Clemson. That was our method, that was our goal coming out of the spring, to continue to play fast, and that's what we're going to do.
"We're not going to get away from what got us here. Our guys have really adapted to that. We want to turn it loose, get in the left lane and have some fun with this thing."
Davis is a little bit banged up, and we’re not going to know for sure if he is playing until gameday. That being said, his backup Ben Hicks threw an 88-yard TD in relief of Davis last week. Hicks drew recruiting interest from the likes of Michigan, Florida, Houston, Indiana and Texas Tech – he’s no scrub, and I’m comfortable recommending an over wager here whether Davis of Hicks is behind center on Saturday.
Baylor averaged 52 points per game in 2013, 48 points per game in 2014, and 48 points per game in 2015. They hung 56 on SMU last year. While Art Briles is gone, the skill position speed and talent he recruited to Waco is most assuredly still present which is bad news for an undersized, slower stop unit like the one the Mustangs possess.
The betting markets haven’t put much upwards pressure on the highest total on the board this week, offering very reasonable value for an over wager in a game between two explosive offenses that should be played at a ridiculously fast pace.