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Baylor Football

Baylor's Preseason Outlook: Must Win, Toughest Matchup, Best Individual Opponent

August 22, 2019
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2019 Baylor Schedule

Aug. 31: Stephen F. Austin
Sep. 7: UTSA
Sep. 21: @Rice
Sep. 28: Iowa State
Oct. 5: @Kansas State
Oct. 12: Texas Tech
Oct. 19: @Oklahoma State
Oct. 31: West Virginia
Nov. 9: @TCU
Nov. 16: Oklahoma
Nov. 23: Texas
Nov. 30: @Kansas

Related: Baylor’s alpha in 2019 | Baylor’s Defensive Changes | Thoughts on 84 scholarship Bears


The Breakdown

Must Win: Iowa State. The Cyclones are going to be one of the toughest teams in the Big 12 and I believe they will have the top defense in the conference. They play Baylor and Oklahoma on the road but get the other top teams in the conference at home so the Bears will need this one to keep the conference race close. Last year Baylor dominated just about every metric against the Cyclones but were horrific in the red zone and made too many mistakes to get the road win. After letting Iowa State off the hook in 2018,  they can’t let that happen again. This has the feel of the Duke game a year ago. If Baylor wins this game 9-3 or 10-2 are in play but if they lose this game 7-5 is a possibility and 8-4 is likely.

Toughest Matchup: Last year I said that the toughest matchup was the West Virginia game and that definitely came out to be true as Baylor lost by 44 points in Morgantown. This year every game is winnable but the least likely victory is Oklahoma. I know the game is at home but this is the best team on the schedule and a team that will run the ball well on any team in the country. I don’t trust Baylor being able to handle their rushing attack so they are the one team on the schedule that I do not believe the Bears can score with. Jalen Hurts, Trey Sermon, Kennedy Brooks, and a massive offensive line will be an issue. The good news is that I do not expect Baylor to get blown out by 20+ points in any game this season so it will not be ugly.

Most Intriguing: The matchup against Texas in Waco on November 23rd is a game that stands out in this category. Last year Baylor had the Longhorns on the ropes and if it wasn’t for a complete breakdown to end the second quarter (17-0 run the final 4:21 of the quarter) Baylor would have won. Sam Ehlinger was hurt in the first quarter of the matchup and also didn’t play in the game in 2017 so maybe we will finally see the first matchup between Brewer and Ehlingher since high school this season. This is a type of game that Baylor has not won over the past two seasons: an upset over a top team in the league. The Bears will have a chance in this one and it could be the game of the year for both teams.

Best Player: I usually don’t like saying a wide receiver is the best player on the schedule but when there is someone as talented as Tylan Wallace on the opposing team he deserves it. The  wide receiver had 86 receptions, 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns. Against Baylor, he had eight receptions, 122 yards, and a touchdown. Wallace had seven 100-yard games and only had four games without a touchdown. There is a reason he was an All-American last year and is a preseason All-American this year. He is a surefire All-Big 12 pick and a guy that could have a very special year if the Pokes can find a quarterback. Baylor plays in Stillwater this season where Wallace absolutely thrived a season ago. He averaged over seven catches, over 122 yards, and over a touchdown a game. Baylor will have to be ready for this playmaking wideout when they meet on October 19th.

Final Thoughts: Baylor has one of the easiest schedules of any Power 5 team in the country and the main reason why is because of a non-conference schedule that features Stephen F. Austin, UTSA, and Rice. Those should all be wins and a 3-0 start before conference play should be a sure thing. Then the most important stretch of the season comes up as the Bears play Iowa State, at Kansas State, Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, and West Virginia all within a month. If Baylor wants to be in contention for a Big 12 Championship come November they can only lose one of these games. Then the November of opportunities arrive as Baylor travels to TCU, face Texas and Oklahoma at home, and the go to Kansas. If the Bears only lose two of these games they will have a solid chance at being in the Big 12 Championship Game with a 9-3 record. On the flip side, they could easily lose three of those games and struggle down the stretch.

 
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