The no. 12 Baylor Bears continue their quest to remain undefeated and gain national respect when they face the TCU Horned Frogs in a Big 12 rivalry game. Game time is at noon EST on Saturday, November 9 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. Fans can watch the game on FS1.
The latest betting odds have Baylor as a 2-point favorite on the road. There is also an over/under of 50 points. Click here to check out all of this week’s college football betting odds.
The Bears got a close call in their last game against West Virginia but survived 17-14 to get to 8-0 on the season. Baylor could lose the rest of their games this season and it would still be considered a step forward for Matt Rhule and the program. Of course, now that they’ve stayed undefeated this long, the Bears are surely hungry to win a Big 12 title and perhaps make their case for the College Football Playoff if they can remain undefeated. While reaching the CFP is unlikely, if Baylor can win at least three of their last four games, they will be assured of a spot in the Big 12 Championship. However, that won’t be easy with two of their in-state rivals and a top-10 Oklahoma team still on their schedule.
TCU, meanwhile, is just hoping to qualify for a bowl game. The Horned Frogs have failed to qualify for a bowl just twice during Gary Patterson’s 20-year tenure, so it’d be a massive disappointment if they fell short. Following last week’s loss to Oklahoma State, the Horned Frogs have lost three of their last four games and are just 4-4 on the season. The good news is that TCU has won both of their Big 12 home games, including an upset of Texas. The bad news is they’ve lost all three road games and will play two of their final three games away from home. That makes this week’s game with Baylor vital for their bowl chances.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the rivalry between these two teams goes back to 1899, long before the Bears and Horned Frogs were in the Big 12 together. The Horned Frogs currently have a four-game winning streak in the rivalry, which has swayed the all-time series in their favor. Baylor has just three wins in the nine games since they became Big 12 foes in 2010 and they have just one win in Fort Worth since 1994.
The Bears seem to be feeling the pressure of being undefeated after their close call against West Virginia last Thursday. They now have the pressure of going on the road for a rivalry game. However, the Horned Frogs are slumping and the Bears have obviously proven that the can win on the road. With the spread at two points, I’ll take Baylor to stay undefeated for at least one more week and be able to win by at least a field goal.
The Horned Frogs are dealing with some injuries at the quarterback position that cast some uncertainty over this game. Starter Max Duggan left last week’s game with an injury, although Patterson is hopeful that he’ll be able to play. Meanwhile, backup Mike Collins is also banged up and listed as questionable. Plus, Alex Delton, who began the season as the starter, has left the program, so depth could be an issue if Duggan can’t play or re-aggravates a previous injury.
TCU also has the challenge of facing the Baylor defense, which is coming off their best performance of the season. The Bears conceded one long pass play and a kickoff return against West Virginia but nothing else. They allowed just 219 total yards and forced a pair of turnovers. The Bears have been vulnerable at times against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, but the Baylor defense is allowing just under 21 points per game in conference play. They’ve also forced at least two turnovers in all five of their Big 12 games.
Meanwhile, Duggan has had some issues with turnovers in recent weeks, throwing three picks last week against Oklahoma State. Duggan also struggled to get much going a few weeks ago against a quality Kansas State defense. The Baylor defense could be nearly as tough for the young quarterback. Despite some good talent at the skill positions, the Horned Frogs have struggled against some of the better defenses in the Big 12, so I’m not sure the TCU offense is going to have everything clicking against Baylor.
I also remain high on the Baylor offense despite a sluggish performance last week. The Bears lost three fumbles against West Virginia, which is a big reason why they were held to just 17 points. But they had scored at least 30 points in three straight Big 12 games before facing West Virginia. If the Bears can avoid turnovers, they should have no problem moving the ball against the TCU defense.
In fairness to TCU, I expect them to make this a close and competitive game. But I don’t know if I can trust the Horned Frogs to find a way to win a close game like that given their recent form and the injury questions at quarterback. I feel more comfortable putting my trust in Baylor to make winning plays late in the game, allowing them to cover the modest 2-point spread.