This game involves a matchup of two teams aiming to get to the postseason, but each one got here via very different routes. The Red Raiders were 5-2 at one point, but they’ve lost four in a row, putting head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job status in jeopardy.
They’ll meet Baylor in Arlington on Saturday, where Bears head coach Matt Rhule will showcase massive improvement in his second year if Baylor goes bowling. The Bears were 1-11 last season, so a 6-6 finish this weekend would be a definite sign of progress.
Both teams have a lot to play for in this contest, so this should be a close one. The series between Texas Tech and Baylor has been close since the two teams started playing almost eighty years ago, with the Red Raiders holding the one win edge 38-37.
BAYLOR BEARS (5-6, 3-5)
Baylor’s offense is the strength of their team, with the Bears having the athleticism at the skill positions, and one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12 in Charlie Brewer. The Bears’ strength is probably their passing game, with Baylor averaging 279.8 yards per game through the air. Senior Jalen Hurd leads the team with 654 yards receiving, and the converted running back is also used as a ball carrier by the Bears in short yardage situations.
The Bears have been good in pass defense, only allowing 254.6 yards per game in conference play. Something to keep an eye on will be how well they hold up against the run, however, where Baylor is giving up 5.0 yards per play in Big 12 contests.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (5-6, 3-5)
Offensively, there are a lot of questions surrounding who will start at quarterback on Saturday for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have had been productive on offense, despite having three different signal callers start this season, and each of those starters have been injured at some point. Kingsbury has been ambiguous about the status of his quarterbacks, and it’s unclear who’s going to start against Baylor.
True freshman Alan Bowman suffered a collapsed lung earlier in the season, and though he’s probably the best option for Texas Tech, he’s had the type of injury that might end some football careers. Junior McLane Carter, who started the opener, has been banged up all season, and Kingsbury revealed that his other signal caller, Jett Duffey, who has performed well in spots, is injured as well. There is also some talk that fourth string quarterback Colt Garrett will get the start.
The Red Raiders have had injuries on the defensive side of the ball as well, with star linebacker Dakota Allen questionable for this game. Texas Tech has a very veteran defense, but they’ve struggled in defending opposing passing attacks.
Because there’s so much uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position for Texas Tech, this game is somewhat difficult to predict. In those situations, I usually go with what Vegas is thinking. The line for this game is holding at about five points, so I will pick Texas Tech to win in a close one. The key to this game will be how much success the Red Raiders are able to have offensively against the Baylor defense, which has been inconsistent this year. I think they will perform well enough to win, but not cover. Texas Tech by three.