With both teams ending the season in disappointing fashion there isn’t much for either to play for in this game other than pride.
Baylor at Texas Tech
Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Baylor -5.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Baylor run game vs. Texas Tech defense
This is a matchup of the Big 12’s best rushing offense versus the Big 12’s worst rushing defense. The Red Raiders gave up 171 rushing yards and five touchdowns to Iowa State’s Joel Lanning, a backup quarterback, last week. For the game, the Cyclones piled up 272 yards on 43 carries (6.3 ypc) and six scores.
Texas Tech is allowing nearly 237 rushing yards per game this season. Baylor is averaging 255 yards on the ground per contest. Something has to give here and it will probably be the Red Raiders’ defense, again.
Shock Linwood has been quiet most of the season (and he was suspended for a game because of attitude issues), averaging only 78 rushing yards per game. Expect that average to increase after Friday’s game, especially considering he’s run for 566 yards in three games (188.7 ypg) against Texas Tech in his career.
2. Patrick Mahomes vs. Baylor’s pass defense
Despite losing six of their last seven contests the Red Raiders’ offense is still as potent as any in the country. Averaging 555.3 yards per game is an impressive feat. And Mahomes is still a threat, accounting for 406 of those yards per game.
However, with a lack of a running game Mahomes will be faced with a Baylor defense that has only given up eight touchdown passes all season. That does not bode well for Mahomes, who will face a secondary that is not going to respect the run.
3. Kliff Kingsbury vs. Jim Grobe
This is the most interesting aspect of this game. Grobe, the interm head coach for the Bears, will undoubtedly be gone after the season as he is not on Baylor’s short list of candidates.
So Grobe presumably has two more games to use as résumé builders, assuming he wants to take on another job after he’s done at Baylor. Finishing the season 8-4 with a team that went through so much scandal, off-field drama and a few key injuries could make huge impression on those schools who will be looking for a new head coach this offseason.
Though not under the same circumstances, Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury may be coaching for his job as well. The 66-10 loss to Iowa State last week was a major blow to the program. With more fans and supporters questioning Kingsbury’s future in Lubbock, he needs to make his own statement in this game, because it could be his last with Red Raiders.
Expect both coaches to hold nothing back. There is no conference championship on the line, there is no bowl eligibility on the line, but there is job security.
It has been a disappointing year for both of these programs. And while there isn’t a lot to play for don’t expect either team to roll over.
Baylor is still jockeying for a better bowl bid and the Red Raiders could be playing for their head coach’s job.
Neither team has really lit up the scoreboard as of late but then again neither has played much defense either.
Baylor will have the edge in this game simply because of its ability to move the ball on the ground. There may be fewer points in this game than some are expecting, but it should still be interesting and fairly entertaining to watch.
Prediction: Baylor 40, Texas Tech 37
— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of BlueGoldSports.com, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow BlueGoldSports.com on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.