Here we are, people, the last game of the regular season. Texas Tech and Baylor abandoned every ambition of a good season a long time ago, but this game is important as the winner will receive a Bowl bid. Indeed, both teams currently have a 5-6 record and the victory in this contest would guarantee another game in December.
There are many similarities in the paths of these two schools in 2018: Texas Tech started the season 5-2 and went 0-4 after this. Baylor began with four wins and two losses but went 1-4 in its last five games.
The biggest difference between these two teams is a fact of expectations.
The Red Raiders were expected to have a big season, with a defense that seemed to be finally ready for the Big 12 and with the addition of true freshman quarterback Alan Bowman. The Bears came from a 1-11 season in the first season of head coach Matt Rhule, but quickly and unexpectedly began to climb the standings.
Both offense and defense improved their numbers, but if there’s something to note is an increased stability at quarterback, with Charlie Brewer named the starter at the beginning of the year. He maintained his position all year long, despite a concussion suffered against West Virginia.
In addition, the Bears found another top receiver to pair with junior Denzel Mims, and we’re talking about Jalen Hurd. Does this name sound familiar? It’s normal, as he’s a former star running back from Tennessee who transferred to Baylor looking for a team making him switch position to WR.
I’d say the transformation went pretty well, as Hurd leads the team in receptions (66) and yards (905). He’s also one of the six players with more than 100 rushing yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears don’t shine in any particular stat, but the defensive line is interesting, a good mix between talent and experience, and is always a tough matchup for opponents.
It’s clear we’re talking about an all-or-nothing game for both teams, and neither of them is in a good period of shape and results. Probably, the team that will find some extra motivation in this game will win it. And a personal note to close: Matt Rhule is an outstanding coach who knows how to work. So, let’s beat Baylor before it becomes out of reach once again.