Baylor had some kind of turbulent offseason, it was a complete and utter mess. First, there was of course the rape allegations against several players on the football team. And then a week or two before the season opened, there were reports of a Baylor player beating a dog. There wasn’t much media hype surrounding the dog, but I watched the video and the guy deserves more than a two-game suspension. I don’t know the kind of kids this school recruits, but hopefully it’ll be cleaned up in the future.
I’m just a sports fan and handicapper though, so for the purpose of my work I am trying to pick winners. Baylor takes on Rice University, who has all kind of problems on the field. With all of the talk of players transferring out of Baylor, there really wasn’t too much of it happening for this season. Now players recommitting and heading elsewhere? There were several after Art Briles was fired.
However, for the purposes of 2016, Baylor should be just fine in the talent department. Are they going to make it to the college football playoff? I don’t see it, but this isn’t a team that is suddenly a dumpster fire because of what happened in the offseason. Baylor enters with a record of 2-0, following wins over Northwestern State and SMU. That is one stingy start to the season for Baylor. It’s about to get even more difficult for the Baylor Bears with Rice on the docket. Okay, kidding aside, the only thing that matters in these games is the point spread.
Baylor failed to cover the spread in Week 1 and 2. They very well could have against SMU if they brought a complete team effort throughout the duration of the match. Baylor looked like they were sleepwalking in the first-half, as they were tied at halftime, 6-6. The Bears blew it open in the second-half and it ended up being a 40-13 final score. SMU is a much better team than they’ve been in the past, so the Mustangs do offer some resistance. I liked SMU with all of those points, but didn’t end up playing it, sigh. In any event, we’ll see if Baylor plays four-quarters of football tonight at Rice.
Baylor Bears vs. Rice Owls NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Rice +30.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Baylor vs. Rice Pick:
Baylor will continue to put up the points in 2016. Despite all of the negative attention on the team, Baylor will have an offense that can explode at any moment. Back at the helm is quarterback Seth Russell who is the clear-cut starter on this Bear’s team. There are a lot of teams juggling between quarterbacks, but Russell is the main guy at Baylor. He has thrown for 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on the year, with another touchdown on the ground. Russell was one of the better quarterbacks in college football a year ago, passing for 29 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Baylor has a run game to complement him, so they are not a one-dimensional unit.
Rice on the other hand would like to find a component quarterback. The play from under center has been horrid at best, along with the entire offense. Starter Tyler Stehling has passed for 3 interceptions and only 1 touchdown. This wasn’t against elite competition either, this being Western Kentucky and Army. Over the first two weeks, they scored 14 points in each, while allowing 38.5 points per game.
The Owls should find issues moving the ball on Baylor. If SMU, who actually have a pretty nice offense, couldn’t manage to do anything, Rice is going to be in for a world of hurt. Also I don’t think Baylor was too happy with how they started last week. They didn’t wake up until the second-half opened. I expect Baylor to come out guns a blazing, jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead and pretty well sealing the fate for Rice on Friday night. Baylor should be able to control the line of scrimmage and game throughout. This is a lot of points, but I think the odds makers are 4 or 5 points too short of what the correct line should be. Baylor rolls Rice tonight in a big way.
PICK: BAYLOR -30.5 (-110)