How much fun is Big 12 football these days? You can usually count on one crazy shootout each weekend. Expect one Saturday in Arlington, Texas, as No. 5 Baylor faces Texas Tech. The Bears are -17 on BetOnline College Football odds with a huge total of 89.5.
TTU So Close To Upset
I like offense, so in my opinion the most entertaining game in college football thus far in 2015 was last week's matchup between Texas Tech and No. 3 TCU, a 55-52 Frogs win. The Red Raiders had the upset in the bag. On fourth-and-goal from the TTU 4-yard-line in the final seconds, a pass from Horned Frogs quarterback and Heisman candidate Trevone Boykin was too high to star receiver Josh Doctson. However, Doctson was able to tip it, and teammate Aaron Green caught it at the back of the end zone. Then, amazingly, TTU got two Hail Mary chances due to penalty and came close to scoring on a lateral play on the second try.
Texas Tech had 607 yards of offense, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes completing 25-for-45 for 392 yards and two scores (adding one rushing) and DeAndre Washington rushing 22 times for 188 yards and four scores. Both were career highs for Washington and he was the first TTU player with four rushing scores since Baron Batch six years ago. TTU has now scored 30 or more points in each of its first four games of the season. The Red Raiders had not previously done so since the 2011 season. They rank third nationally in total offense and in scoring (53.8 ppg).
But TTU has never had trouble putting up yards and points. Defense has long been the problem there because of that up-tempo offense that leaves the defense on the field too long. TTU gave up 750 yards to Baylor. The Red Raiders are 107th in total defense. The loss dropped Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury to 6-13 career against Big 12 opponents.
There is a minor question whether Mahomes, who is fourth nationally in passing yards, will play here as he suffered a knee injury in the first quarter vs. Baylor but obviously played through it. He's being called day-to-day. I'm sure he plays. Junior Davis Webb is his backup and he has plenty of starting experience.
Texas Tech is 3-0-1 against the college football odds and 3-1 'over/under.'
Bears Have Played JV Teams
Baylor (3-0) has played perhaps the most laughable schedule of any ranked team in the country in slaughtering SMU, Lamar and Rice. The Bears, who are 3-0 for the fifth straight year, lead the nation, as they did last year, in scoring at 64.0 points per game and are No. 1 in yards per game at 767.0. They haven't missed graduated QB Bryce Petty yet. His former backup Seth Russell, is 50-for-80 for 995 yards, 15 touchdowns and four picks.
Baylor is the only school in FBS to be Top 10 in both passing (7th, 387.3) and rushing offense (1st, 379.7). The Bears have three guys with at least 235 yards rushing: Shock Linwood (42 carries, 363 yards, four TDs), Terence Williams (41 carries, 305 yards, one TD) and Johnny Jefferson (23 carries, 235 yards, two TDs). Baylor is also the only team in the country averaging over 9 yards per play, gaining 9.55 yards a snap. But that competition is just so sad.
Do you realize the Bears will leave the state of Texas just once before November? And that's next week at Kansas, which is probably the worst Power 5 Conference team in the nation. There is no excuse for Baylor to not be unbeaten when it visits Kansas State on Nov. 5, and it's not like the Wildcats are ranked.
Baylor is 1-1 against the spread this year and 3-0 O/U.
These teams played a thriller in Arlington last year, with No. 7 Baylor winning 48-46. Petty left that game in the third quarter with a concussion. Russell was 8-for-17 for 82 yards and a touchdown in his spot. Linwood rushed 24 times for 158 yards and two scores. Baylor led 42-17 with under four minutes left in the third quarter before Texas Tech stormed back. The Red Raiders made it a two-point game with 1:42 remaining on a Mahomes 40-yard TD pass to Bradley Marquez. But the two-point run conversion failed and the onside kick was recovered by Baylor. Mahomes set a Big 12 freshman record with his 598 yards on 30-for-56 passing that included six touchdowns. Texas Tech had 712 yards of offense (but four turnovers) and Baylor 547. The teams combined for 68 first downs. Baylor will be trying to win five games straight vs. TTU for first time since 1947-60 (11 in a row).
NCAAF Free Picks: That total is crazy, but you have to go 'over.' I'll take the points if Mahomes plays. The 'over' is 5-0 in the past five meetings. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five, but we feel pretty solid looking to the total with our College Football Picks.
Free Pick: Under 88 at BetOnline