College Football Picks: Texas Tech vs. Baylor

Willie Bee

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 2:27 PM GMT

Don't blink, or you might miss a touchdown Saturday night in Arlington where the Baylor Bears entertain the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a Big 12 showdown. A quick trip to the fridge or bathroom could put you two scores behind.

Two of the most prolific offenses in college football collide at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowgirls, er, Cowboys. Television coverage begins at 7 PM (ET) on big FOX, and it's not a stretch to imagine 52 points being scored by 7:45 when ESPN starts its coverage of the Alabama-Mississippi State game, with online sportsbooks currently listing a 52 point total for the entire affair.

A much higher scoreboard bar has been raised for the Bears and Red Raiders, the total opening at 85 before sliding back a half-point. SBR's live college football odds show 27 point chalk on Baylor after the spread started at 28.

Officially known as the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Shootout, this is the fifth straight year the Bears and Red Raiders have met in the Dallas area, fourth time at former Cowboys Stadium. Baylor has won the last two after TTU was victorious in 2009-10, part of a 15-game win streak for the lads from Lubbock (1996-2010). The Red Raiders have a 36-34-1 all-time edge in a series that dates to 1927. Last year's barnburner produced 97 points and 1,241 yards of offense in Baylor's 52-45 overtime triumph; in 2011, the Bears posted a 66-42 dubya in a game that had 400+ return yards to go with over 1,060 yards of offense.

Be sure to check out our College Football Picks: Week 12 Betting Odds Report.

Baylor Rises To No. 5 In BCS Standings

You can't say enough about the job Art Briles has done after the former Houston receiver and Texas Tech graduate was hired before the '08 season. It took a couple of 4-8 showings the first two years, but the Bears have been gaining recognition ever since, Robert Griffin III's Heisman Trophy season of 2011 helping a lot, and they're now very much in contention to reach at least a BCS Bowl, if not the BCS Championship.

Baylor (8-0 straight up, 7-1 against the spread) will certainly earn a BCS Bowl invite with four tough games on the closing docket. Following Texas Tech, the Bears have trips to No. 12 Oklahoma State and TCU before ending at home vs. No. 24 Texas on Dec. 7, what could turn out to be the unofficial Big 12 championship game.

Briles and his staff have enjoyed time to prepare for Tech after throttling then-No. 10 Oklahoma last Thursday, 41-12. Their backers laying 16.5 at the closing bell, the Bears came out of the chute slow before quarterback Bryce Petty and the offense got things in gear. Petty, the nation's top-rated passer (210.6), threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more.

We could spend all day talking Baylor offense, but the effort turned in by the defense so far has been the biggest surprise in Waco. Ninth in the nation in total defense, it's the No. 7 ranking in the passing department that sets up the most intriguing battle Saturday night.

Tech Mired In 3-Game Losing Skid

Kliff Kingsbury had the Red Raiders off to a fast start in his first season, that 7-0 bolt from the gate good enough for Texas Tech to rise to No. 10 in both polls on Oct. 20. But three consecutive losses -- at Oklahoma, home against Oklahoma State and Kansas State -- have ended their hopes for a conference title. Beating Baylor and then Texas in Austin on Thanksgiving would make up for the losing streak, however, and still send the Red Raiders (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS) to a decent bowl payout.

A pair of freshmen QBs have helped Texas Tech to country's top-rated passing unit (408 ypg); Baker Mayfield started the season as Kingsbury's No. 1 QB, lost that role to Davis Webb for a while, then relieved Webb in last week's setback vs. K-State. We may very well see both again.

Is Mother Nature the only thing that can slow down the Bears and Red Raiders? The weatherman is calling for a 40% to 50% chance of showers during the day, but they're supposed to taper off in the evening with a low-to-mid 60s reading on the thermometer at kickoff and 5-8 mph southerly breeze. Always check the forecast before making your sports picks.

Part of Baylor's slow start last week was a better-than-average OU defense, and Texas Tech won't put up as much resistance. Still, I believe the Red Raiders can stay inside this number, and will place my college football picks on Kingsbury's kids in this one, with a lean to the 'under.'

My pick: Texas Tech +27

Season record: 21-8 (+12.2); three picks pending