This weekly feature considers five reasons why Texas Tech will win and five reasons Texas Tech will lose to each opponent. Check back tomorrow for "Five Reasons Texas Tech Will Win :: Baylor Bears Edition". ----- Ed. Note: I really had to hurry to get these up this morning. Apologies in advance for the quality.
Reason #1 :: Bowl Game: This is Baylor's finale for the year and it's only fitting that this is the #1 reason. It's a reason that the most of Texas Tech fans have expressed concern about since the TAMU loss and I still think there's a trust issue with this team. After sky-high wins, this version of the Red Raiders may be prone to letting press-clippings, girlfriends and other things let them know how great they are. There's plenty of talent on Baylor's squad and to discount Baylor because they are Baylor would be a huge mistake.
Reason #2 :: Short and Sweet: QB Nick Florence is a true freshman and he's not playing as bad as you would expect. Florence is a dink and dump sort of passer and he's not the type that likes to throw the ball deep. Florence is 7th in the conference in passing, again as a true freshman, and it will be interesting to see how Ruffin McNeill matches up with Florence in that there is no doubt that McNeill will play the bend-but-do-not-break methodology for this game.
Reason #3 :: Play Making Defense: Most of Baylor's opponents know about LB Joe Pawelek and S Jordan Lake. Both are seniors, Pawelek has 97 tackles (leads team), 2.5 sacks (2nd on team), and 4 TFL (3rd on team), while Lake has 83 tackles (2nd on team). You never underestimate the player that is playing his final collegiate game and is playing for pride. A little momentum could be dangerous thing for Texas Tech and both Pawelek and Lake are momentum makers.
Reason #4 :: Briles Knows Leach: This didn't help Bob Stoops last week, in part because I think Leach changed some things up this week, but there may not be a coach that knows Leach better than Art Briles and I think it showed last year. Of course, last year, QB Robert Griffin led the Baylor offense, which rushed for 229 yards total, while Griffin accounted for 99 yards and 2 TD's on the ground and Jay Finley ran for 105 yards on 10 carries. I know that Baylor lost LT Jason Smith, and it's been a huge loss for Baylor, but the Bears are capable and I think they are even more capable with Briles at the helm.
Reason #5 :: Shutting Down the Spread: I'm still somewhat shocked when I read the score and some of the status, but with Florence in charge, the Bears took down the Missouri Tigers, at Missouri. The subject line is a bit mis-leading in that Baylor really didn't shut down Mizzou, as QB Blaine Gabbert threw for 468 yards and 2 TD's, but the Baylor defense did register 4 sacks for the game and limited the Mizzou running game to 10 yards . . . for the day. The Tigers didn't seem to get their ground game going, and perhaps that's the key for the Red Raiders. Continue to run the ball, where Baylor is giving up 185 yards a game overall, but 230 in losses and only 108 in wins.