There is no team in the country more ready for the college football season to start than the Baylor Bears. After an offseason of turmoil that saw head coach Art Briles relieved of his duties Baylor can now look ahead to the coming season under interim head coach Jim Grobe.
Grobe has been smiles as of late and why shouldn’t he? With key returning players like Shock Linwood and Seth Russell there is plenty of talent for the Bears to compete in the Big 12.
Northwestern State at Baylor
Kickoff: Friday, Sept. 2, at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports Network
Three Things to Watch
1. Northwestern State is deep on defense, but will it matter?
The Northwestern State coaching staff feels there is significant depth on the defensive side of the ball stating they are 22 deep on the depth chart.
The Demons should be able to stay fresh defensively and they will need to. Baylor is still potent on offense and even though Briles is gone there are plenty of playmakers that remain for the Bears.
2. How long with Grobe keep his foot on the pedal?
Let’s be honest, Baylor is going to score almost at will in this game. Grobe will have plenty of opportunity to go down the depth chart for playing time.
Risking injury in a game like this will not be an option and those coming to see Linwood or Russell will have to get their early as they may not see the field in the second half.
3. Northwestern State’s JeMarcus Marshall
The Demons do have one player in particular to keep an eye on. After totaling 8.5 sacks as a freshman, Marshall Marshall sustained a nasty back injury in 2014. He returned last year and finished with 28 tackles.
Now a senior, Marshall is considered a leader both in the locker room and in the community. The defensive end has the size (6-5, 255) and strength to make plays, even against a far superior team.
Watch for Marshall to be a bright spot Friday night for the Demons.
Baylor has been criticized in recent years for its lackluster non-conference schedule, and this opener is no exception. Baylor will have its way with Northwestern State, which went 4-7 in the FCS last season. This will not be a true test in any fashion and football fans will watch only because it is college football on a Friday night and their options will be limited.
Prediction: Baylor 60, Northwestern State 10
— 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.