Fresh off shaking the college football landscape to the core with a victory over Kansas State, the Baylor Bears will get an opportunity to clinch bowl eligibility against the in-state foe Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday.
The Bears absolutely destroyed the former No. 1 team in the country 52-24, leaving many stunned. Considering Baylor had lost five of their past six games coming into that matchup, it will be interesting to see which squad shows up on Saturday.
On the other side of the field, the Red Raiders are simply trying to lock up their bowl destiny. A loss to Oklahoma State last week ended any chances of an elite bowl, and they will now hope to lock in the No. 5 spot in the conference with a victory.
With bowl implications carrying much of the intrigue on Saturday, here's a look at a complete breakdown of this clash between Big 12 foes.
When: Saturday, November 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: Cowboys Stadium; Arlington, Tex.
Spread: Baylor -2.5
The fact that this game will be played at a neutral location gives us an opportunity to see one of the few "true" spreads of the college football season.
After beating the No. 1 team in the country, being favored by 2.5 points seems right for the Bears. Their offense looked fantastic last week against Kansas State, but what was more impressive was how the team handled Collin Klein.
Nevertheless, this game is an easy stay-away for bettors. Both Texas Tech and Baylor have been wildly inconsistent all season, looking like a top 10 team one game and getting eviscerated the very next.
If I had to choose at the moment, the Bears get the nod. Still, this is as close to a tossup as you can get this late in the season.
Over/Under: 78 (Vegas Insider)
I'm not sure how high the total would have to be for anyone to advise taking the under. However, one thing is for certain: 78 is not that number.
Texas Tech and Baylor boast two of the highest-scoring offenses in the nation and also have a not-so-great track record of stopping opponents on defense.
Considering the Red Raiders and Bears average a combined 80.7 points per game this season, take the over and be happy that Vegas was giving out free money this holiday season.
Baylor Injury Report (via USA Today)
S K.J. Morton, Groin, Questionable
LB Rodney Chadwick, Knee, Out
DB Demetri Goodson, Arm, Out
DT Kaeron Johnson, DT, Back
Texas Tech Injury Report (via USA Today)
OL Alfredo Morales, Shoulder, Doubtful
S Terrance Bullitt, Shoulder, Out for Season
FB Omar Ontiveros, Undisclosed, Out for Season
WR Javon Bell, Foot, Out for Season
UT Bradley Marquez, Knee, Out for Season
WR Shawn Corker, Undisclosed, Out
DL Michael Sharts, Illness, Out
RB DeAndre Washington, Knee, Out
With a tough matchup against No. 21 Oklahoma State coming up next week, Baylor will need to get a victory to make itself bowl eligible.
Wins in the final two games of the year would leave the Bears at 4-5 in the Big 12 and set up a possible trip to the Holiday Bowl. A loss on Saturday, however, would bring the team to 2-6 in the conference, leaving an at-large bid (possibly to the Heart of Dallas Bowl) as a best-case scenario.
Texas Tech, meanwhile, can essentially lock itself into the Holiday Bowl with a victory. The Red Raiders hold the tiebreaker against TCU, which is the only team that can take the No. 5 slot in the Big 12 with a win.
Losing on Saturday puts the team in a fluctuating position and its final destination will completely depend on other teams' results.
Keys for Baylor
Obviously, this is a matchup that will come down to whichever offense if running at a higher octane pace on Saturday.
That means the onus will be on the team's best playmakers to have a huge performance.
Quarterback Nick Florence has been fantastic all season, throwing for 3,429 yards and 27 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. His connection with leading receiver Terrance Williams, who has made 82 catches for 1,518 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, is a vital reason the Bears' season has stayed afloat.
Nonetheless, running back Lache Seastrunk may hold the true key to the outcome for Baylor this week. The sophomore back has been sensational over the past three weeks and ran for 185 yards and a touchdown last week against Kansas State.
If Seastrunk breaks free and has another huge game, it could go a long way toward controlling possession keeping the Texas Tech offense off the field.
Keys for Texas Tech
Quarterback Seth Doege's performance has been an indicator of result all season for the Red Raiders, and there's no reason to think that will change against Baylor.
Playing in Texas Tech's pass-happy system, the senior signal-caller has put up 3,575 passing yards and 35 touchdowns against a mere 11 interceptions this year.
While those are good numbers, Doege has also been pretty inconsistent. The Red Raiders star put up 24 of those touchdowns in just four games, leaving the remaining 11 to be intermittently spread over the other seven contests.
If Doege steps up and has another transcendent performance like he did against TCU on Saturday, Texas Tech wins. A similar performance to the 230 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions he put up last week, and you can put the Red Raiders' chances in a vacant grave.
After eviscerating the No. 1 team in the nation last week, I'm picking Baylor until the team swings its pendulum back to mediocrity.
We'll approach the 100-point mark with the total, but the Bears will get their second big win in as many weeks to become bowl eligible.
Score Prediction: Baylor 49, Texas Tech 45