Over/Under 6 Wins () vs Baylor Bears ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : First Game: Abilene Christian Wildcats @ Baylor Bears 8:00 PM
Location : McLane Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 6 Wins vs Baylor Bears
The Baylor Bears went through years of success under Art Briles as they made 6 consecutive bowl games and found themselves as high as 3rd in the AP rankings but his time brought more bad than good to the university after all the scandals that came about his football team. The Bears brought in Matt Rhule who was supposed to get this program on track but year 1 was a combination of failure and bad luck as the Baylor Bears went 1-11 with 5 losses coming by 10 or fewer points. Baylor was one of the youngest teams in college football last season which has Bear fans hoping that there are better days to come and there wish may just come true as they should be one of the most improved teams in the Big 12. The defense got destroyed last year in defensive coordinator Phil Snow’s scheme but if all stays on track the Bears should be better in their second year under Rhule and his staff. Matt Rhule knew he needed to shake up his youth roster with some veteran leadership which is why he brought in some grad transfers from the likes of Clemson, Tennesee, North Carolina State, and Texas A&M. Matt Rhule has been able to turn the page on the scandals that almost had this program shut down forever as he has been able to lure in some top-notch recruits. Rhule had the #4 recruiting class in the Big 12 this past offseason as he was able to sway some big names in the state of Texas to come to Baylor over in-state rivals like Texas and TCU. Rhule got six 4-star recruits to sign with the Bears with his best one being dual-threat QB Gerry Bohanon who chose Baylor over Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia.
Over/Under 6 Wins 's Latest Performance :
The Baylor Bears failed to ever gain their footing last season under first-year coach Matt Rhule as they won 1 game which was against the Kansas Jayhawks, arguably the worst team in the Big 12. Baylor will return a ton of key pieces this season especially at the QB position which should have this team in a better position than they were in last year. Rhule has this team moving in the right direction whether that be with the culture or with his recruiting classes which is the main reason oddsmakers have set the over/under at 6 wins.
Can Baylor Turn Things Around?
The Baylor Bears didn’t only lose 11 games in 2017 but they either did so in embarrassing fashion (59-16 @ OK State) or in a close game (49-41 vs. Oklahoma) which summed up the season for Matt Rhule. Baylor has an opportunity to pick up some much-needed wins in their non-conference slate as they will host FCS Abilene Christian and Duke as well as travel to UTSA. Baylor will have to face a tough road schedule in Big 12 play as the Bears will travel to Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia which is three of the top teams in the conference. Baylor will play their traditional matchup against in-state rival Texas Tech at the end of their season which once again will be played at a neutral site. Baylor won’t have much of an easier slate of games at home as they will welcome in Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and TCU. Baylor may still be a year or two from making a bowl game but if they want to contend ahead of schedule they will have to pick up some impressive road wins.
Baylor Bears's Latest Performance :
Baylor has always been known for their high-scoring offense that Bryce Petty ran so successfully in his time in Waco but since the Petty era, there has not been consistency at the quarterback position as we saw Jarrett Stidham transfer to Auburn and Arizona grad transfer Anu Solomon not work out for Rhule. The quarterback cycle did not end last season as the Bears saw three different guys take snaps but they may have found their QB of the future in Charlie Brewer. Sophomore Charlie Brewer stepped into the starting role for 4 games last season and he was really solid in those appearances as he threw for 1562 yards and 11 TDs which was good enough to earn Big 12 freshmen co-offensive player of the year. Rhule employed an air-raid offense at Baylor which kept the running back production to a minimum but they will return their top rusher from 2017 in sophomore John Lovett (422 yards & 5 TDs). There was uncertainty who would shoulder the load at the wide receiver position as Chris Platt tore his ACL midway through the season but Denzel Mims showed the ability to be a playmaker. Denzel Mims is a solid target as he stands at 6’3 and he should only expand on his 1087 yard sophomore campaign as a full year of Brewer should benefit the former 3-star recruit. Mims will be joined by Tennesee transfer Jalen Hurd a former running back who rushed for over 2,000 yards in his time in the SEC, expect Hurd to be a breakout performer in his new position. The defense will need to improve in their second season under Phil Snow especially considering they failed to have 1 guy record above 65 tackles in 2017. The linebacker corp will be led by junior Clay Johnston who is coming off a 54 tackle season last year which was good for 2nd best, Johnston should show more knowledge of the defense given another year of experience. The defensive line should be in the best shape out of any level of the defense as they will return DT Ira Harris who is coming off an 11.5 TFL and 5.5 sack season last year. The senior will be joined by Texas A&M transfer James Lockhart who departed after not seeing enough playing time in College Station but the junior has talent as he is a former 4-star recruit. The secondary will return some key pieces as well as they will welcome back cornerbacks Harrison Hand and Grayland Arnold which is dangerous considering the duo combined for 2 interceptions and 17 pass deflections last season.
Player To Watch
JaMycal Hasty, RB, Jr.
Baylor has always been an uptempo offense that likes to air the ball out but with the return of JaMycal Hasty, the Baylor Bears may be prompted to pound the ball more as they could have a deadly duo in the backfield. Hasty is the former #6 RB in the nation and he showed the ability to be a big-time playmaker in his freshmen season as he rushed for 623 yards on 119 carries. Hasty was banged up with injuries last season but if he can return to full health he adds an element to the offense that Rhule failed to have last year, a ground attack. Expect a 700-yard season out of the junior running back especially if he is able to play all 12 regular season games.
How Over/Under 6 Wins & Baylor Bears Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 6 Wins -105
Under 6 Wins -115
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- Abilene Christian- W
9/8- @ UTSA- W
9/15- Duke- L
9/22- Kansas- W
9/29- @ Oklahoma- L
10/6- Kansas State- W
10/13- @ Texas- L
10/25- @ West Virginia- L
11/3- Oklahoma State- L
11/10- @ Iowa State- L
11/17- TCU- L
11/24- Texas Tech- W
Overall Record: 5-7
Against The Spread Selection: Under 6 Wins -115
My reason for the pick :
College Football fans have watched the Baylor Bears go from a Big 12 contender to essentially nothing in a matter of years, but hopes are high in Waco, Texas as the Bears have turned the page. Rhule is a solid coach and has done well in changing around the culture and although he will take a major step forward in 2018 by winning 4 more games than the previous year, they will still miss out on a bowl game. Baylor is still a young team as they will have underclassmen starting at almost every key position and even though they are talented so is the rest of the Big 12. The only way that I see Baylor going over the 6 win total is if they can upset one of the powerhouses in the Big 12 but that is a tough task for a young program especially on the road. Baylor is still 2 years away from climbing back to the top half of the conference and they will fall below the 6 win total as I don’t see them pulling off any upsets.