Texas at Baylor
Saturday, 9 am PT
CRIS Opener: Baylor -20 O/U 68.5
CRIS Current: Baylor -20.5 O/U 68.5
This BIG XII showdown pins two in-state rivals playing to boost their postseason resumes. Baylor is in all likelihood eliminated from the playoff but still has a shot at a Sugar Bowl invite. The Longhorns are also fighting for a bowl berth. Though they should have been eliminated following their 48-45 loss to Texas Tech, at least two 5-7 teams will be selected for a bowl game according to the NCAA. Given the strength of Texas' brand many fans think they would be in, but NCAA officials state the 5-7 teams selected will be determined by Academic Progress Rate which in Texas’ case (958) probably won’t be high enough to qualify. In any case with Baylor motivated and injuries mounting, it will be a tall task for Charlie Strong’s Longhorns in Waco.
The Longhorns have avoided major injuries for much of the season but that run of good fortune came to a screeching halt on Thanksgiving against Texas Tech. Linebacker Peter Jinkens (torn ACL), right guard Patrick Vahe (knee) and running backs D’Onta Foreman (finger surgery) and Kirk Johnson (knee) have all been ruled out for Saturday’s season-ending game against the Bears. Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (left ankle) and linebacker Malik Jefferson (left ankle) are also questionable. That’s at least six starters and two reserves that contribute; not the type of news any coach likes needing a win to have a shot at a bowl game. The Baylor Bears lead the nation with 50.8 ppg and 616 ypg. The line is under three touchdowns mainly because Baylor will have their third-string quarterback, Chris Johnson, under center. Statistically, Johnson didn't impress against TCU, completing only 7-of-24 passes for 62 yards. However, weather played a major factor as is poured throughout the contest. At home, with another week of practice and clear weather in the forecast, I expect a much better showing.
The Longhorns’ depleted defense will be no doubt overmatched by Baylor’s desire to run upwards of 90 plays per game. Grab the -20.5 while you can.