No. 19 BYU always has a very unique schedule because the Cougars are independent, and they face future Big 12 foe Baylor in an interesting matchup of one-loss teams Saturday.
Let’s see what the college football odds have in store for their matchup.
Brigham Young Cougars vs. Baylor Bears
Saturday, October 16, 2021 – 03:30 PM EDT at McLane Stadium
No. 19 BYU and Baylor have this in common: They are private universities with religious affiliations -- Brigham Young is the pre-eminent Mormon program in the country and Baylor is Baptist. They also will be Big 12 foes in a few years when BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida all join that conference after Oklahoma and Texas leave. ESPN has the telecast of this non-conference game on Saturday.
Not much to go on trends-wise here as the Cougars and Bears have met just twice and not since 1984. Baylor beat BYU in the 1983 season opener in Waco and then the Cougars went on a 25-game winning streak, including an ’84 win over Baylor, which included the national championship in that 1984 season.
This is BYU’s lone game against a Big 12 opponent in the 2021 regular season. The Cougars have covered the NCAAF betting spread in their past five vs. the Big 12 but have not faced a league school since 2016.
BYU’s Playoff Hopes Dashed
Any shot that No. 19 BYU (5-1) had of reaching the College Football Playoff for the first time went out the window last Saturday when the Cougars were -6 at SBR’s top-rated books at home and lost to Boise State 26-17.
Quarterback Jaren Hall returned after missing a couple of games injured and was 22 of 37 throwing for 302 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Turnovers were the difference as BYU gave it away four times.
Two fumbles led directly to touchdowns for Boise, and a third stopped a long BYU drive. The Cougars didn’t have any takeaways -- BYU entered with just two turnovers on the season and 10 takeaways. The Cougars outgained Boise 413-312 and averaged 6.5 yards per play to the Broncos’ 4.2.
“I saw a lot of mistakes, and against a good team, it’s hard to overcome those mistakes. We made mistakes, but they made the plays,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “Ball security is something that we’re always preaching. It’s something we can always improve and always get better.”
Running back Tyler Allgeier is No. 11 nationally with 637 rushing yards. His average of 106.8 yards per game ranks No. 17. However, he was held to 73 yards on 19 carries vs. Boise State and lost a fumble for the first time in his career.
BYU is 21-for-23 in the red zone this year (91.3 percent), scoring touchdowns on 16 and field goals in five. The Cougars are now 14-3 under Sitake when ranked.
This will be their first game outside the state of Utah since the season opener vs. Arizona in Las Vegas. For the first time since 2004, BYU will wear a navy helmet on the road. The Cougars are 4-0 ATS on the NCAAF picks in their past four as underdogs.
Baylor Deserves to Be Ranked
I’m a little surprised that Baylor (5-1) isn’t ranked, but it did get some votes in both the AP and USA Top 25 this week and should be ranked with another victory. The Bears might lose a little focus, though, coming off a big home win over West Virginia and with a non-conference game set right in the middle of league play.
Baylor trashed the Mountaineers 45-20 last Saturday. QB Gerry Bohanon, in his sixth start, threw for a career-high 336 yards and four touchdowns and added a one-yard TD run against a good defense. He was the first Baylor quarterback to throw for 300+ yards and account for five total touchdowns since Seth Russell in October 2015 also against West Virginia. Bohanon has gone 145 pass attempts this season without an interception.
Baylor had 217 yards total offense by the end of the first quarter when it led 21-7. WR Tyquan Thornton had a career day with eight catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Ben Sims also had two TD catches.
The Bears finished with 525 yards offense, their most in a Big 12 matchup since gaining 536 vs. Oklahoma State on Oct. 19, 2019. The week prior to this year, Baylor lost to Oklahoma State 24-14 and punted eight consecutive times to begin the game.
Some Baylor coaches are very familiar with BYU. Head coach Dave Aranda faced the Cougars four times as a defensive coordinator when he was at Hawaii, Utah State, Wisconsin, and LSU. Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes served at BYU in the same capacity from 2018-20 and O-Line coach Eric Mateos held the same job on the Cougars’ staff the past two seasons.
“Their input just on philosophies is going to be helpful for us,” Aranda said. “I know BYU is going to be an angry team (after losing to Boise State). And they are going to be motivated and they are going to want the stage to show that they belong.”
While I understand why Baylor is favored at home, that spread is a few points too high. The Bears are just 2-5 ATS on the NCAAF odds in their past seven following a cover.
NCAAF Pick: BYU at +6 (-110)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.