UT scored the biggest win of second-year head coach Tom Herman’s tenure last week in a 48-45 thriller over Oklahoma. It put the ‘Horns right in the thick of the conference title picture.
Meanwhile, the Bears gutted out a 37-34 victory over Kansas State to run their record to 4-2. Coming off last season’s 1-11 season, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule could end up in the national coach of the year conversations if his team keeps playing this way.
Baylor at Texas
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Texas -14
Three Things to Watch
1. Letdown factor for Longhorns
Tom Herman’s teams have a great track record as underdogs in his four years as a head coach, as seen last week in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma. It’s the opponents his teams are supposed to beat that tend to give them more problems. Texas can’t look past a well-coached squad such as Baylor.
2. Baylor’s explosiveness
Despite securing a big win over the Sooners, the reputation of Texas’ vaunted defense took a hit. OU gained 532 yards of total offense on just 58 plays.
The Bears’ offense isn’t quite in OU’s league, but it’s not too far off. Baylor is in the middle of the pack in the Big 12 (fifth) at 499.5 yards per game but that's still good enough for 15th nationally.
3. Limiting turnovers
Texas has made a living this year off of taking advantage of turnovers. That included starting two possessions in Oklahoma territory last week.
If Texas has an edge in turnover margin against Baylor, it will probably have an edge on the scoreboard at the end of the game. The Bears enter this game minus-two in the turnover department although they were plus-one last week in the win over Kansas State.
The feistiness of the Texas-Baylor rivalry has dulled since scandal waylaid the Bears. Make no mistake, though — there’s bad blood between these two schools.
Texas should expect BU’s best effort. Keeping a team focused after a win like the one the Longhorns scored last week tests all college football coaches, and Tom Herman is no exception. That makes this a danger game against a relentless opponent.
UT still owns a decided advantage in the trenches over the Bears, which should open up some opportunities to move the ball on the ground and get in BU quarterback Charlie Brewer’s business. Brewer could hit a few deep shots to receivers Denzel Mims and Chris Platt in the first half while the ‘Horns are still getting their wits about them. By the end of the game, however, the mismatches up front will prove decisive.
Prediction: Texas 34, Baylor 28
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.