In the mornin’ you go runnin’ for the man who stole your water;
And you fire till he is done in but they catch you at the border.
And the mourners are all singin’ as they drag you by your feet;
But the hangman isn’t hangin’ and the put you on the street.
You go back, Jack, do it again.
Wheels turnin’ ‘round and ‘round;
You go back, Jack, do it again.
I don’t know where I get my love for 70’s music. I know it’s weird.
Steely Dan is one of my all-time favorite listens when I close the door in my office. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen perfectly blended jazz, rock and even some reggae and blues with cryptic and even sometimes ironic lyrics in the early 1970s right up until breaking up in 1981. Their 1972 hit “Do it Again” came on my Spotify the other morning when I tried and find an inspirational song to use in these previews, and man, does it ever fit.
I was flat out wrong about last week. I am not too proud to admit. It’s tough to look at the win last week and find one place to credit, as everyone played extremely well on both sides of the ball, but I can’t help but feel really good about what we saw out of Jett Duffey. You could tell he has the player’s support and his a leader on the field and on the sidelines. I was extremely proud of him for his play Saturday and I don’t think I’m alone.
And can we finally give Jordyn Brooks the appreciation he deserves? He was magnificent.
Last Saturday was fun. For the first time in over a month, Texas Tech was the better team on all three sides of the football. Better prepared. Better physically. Better coached. Our guys were nearly flawless in their total destruction of the Copy Machine from Stillwater. It also marked the first time Texas Tech beat a ranked opponent at home since 2013. The performance Saturday also serves as a great reminder just how week-to-week the sport of College Football is.
Hat tip to the team and coaches. All wins should be celebrated. But now the real test begins. As the team makes the trip east to the Toilet Bowl on I-35, can they do it again?
First Down - The Enemy:
The Bears are coached by Matt Rhule. Once a questionable hire from Temple University, Rhule has found some success after an excruciating first season that ended with a 1-11 record and included him sleeping in his office. Rhule has even flirted with head coaching vacancies in the NFL, even “turning down” the Indianapolis Colts job in 2017 to stay at Baylor.
Sure he did. Whatever makes you feel better, Baylor.
Rhule has Baylor sitting at 5-0 and ranked for the first time since 2016, although I’m struggling to really take much from that record or ranking. If you go by stats alone, the Bears seem to be for real. 19th in scoring offense, 37th in rushing offense, 50th in pass offense, 15th in scoring defense, 28th in rush defense. 36th in pass defense. All great stats.
But, the Bears toughest game to date has been gutting out a win last week against a reeling Kansas State team in Manhattan. Other than that, they took care of business against lowly SFA and UTSA, but struggled to put a really bad Rice team away. Their current strength of schedule ranks 120th in the FBS. It’s not outlandish to say this Bears team has not been tested this season.
Regardless, this is a great opportunity for the Bears to prove what they are. Texas Tech comes in after a thorough dismantling of a better conference opponent and the confidence now to do it again. If the Bears want to prove any doubters wrong, this is a certainly a game to do it.
With the game being so close to the hot bed of Texas Tech Alumni in DFW, I expect to see a ton of Scarlet and Black at the game like there is when the basketball team travels there. If you are one of the many planning on going to the game, here’s a tip:
- George’s Bar sucks. It’s overrated and the food is terrible. Pat Green lied to us all. However, if you find yourself in that poor excuse for a bar, they do have the Tech Fight song on the Jukebox. Download the app and you can have it play 50 times for $30 bucks.
That’s all. That is all you need to know.
Second Down - Key Players:
The Bears offense is led by Charlie Brewer, younger brother of former Texas Tech QB Michael Brewer. Brewer is completing just 66% of his passes with a total of 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions. Brewer doesn’t overly impress, but he offers the Bears consistency and he doesn’t turn the ball over. Both desirable traits at quarterback at any level.
Like Texas Tech, Baylor’s running back is a bit by committee right now. Out of the three, I venture to say RB JaMychal Hasty, who has 35 rushes for 179 yards and 5.1 yards per rush, is the most talented and can easily beat you if he sneaks into the third level. Denzel Mims, who is one of the best wideouts in the Big 12, has 29 catches for 438 yards and garners most of the headlines, but he is certainly helped with the threat on the opposite side with Tyquan Thornton. After just two receptions for 25 yards in the first two games, Thornton has picked up 14 receptions for 211 yards in the last two games against Big 12 competition. At 6-foot-3 and exceptionally quick feet, he can give defensive backs fits all day.
Baylor’s defense has been its calling card thus far this season, specifically their front seven. The Bears have only given up over 20 points once this season. While that’s pretty great, it’s mostly against teams like SFA, UTSA and Rice. Even in their conference games, KSU’s Skylar Thompson isn’t Peyton Manning and holding Iowa State to 21 points offensively isn’t the bragging point it once was. Baylor is fourth in the Big 12 and 36th overall in the FBS in pass defense, only allowing 195 yards per game on average. Limiting big plays by dropping eight in coverage is how the Bears attack most offenses they see.
Baylor’s leading tackler is linebacker Clayton Johnston with 48 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the season. Defensive tackle James Lynch is their best pass rusher with six sacks at the midpoint of the season. While Baylor isn’t really giving the ball away offensively, their defense isn’t taking it away either. Douglas Coleman III has as many interceptions himself (3) as the entire Baylor defense, which ranks 73rd in turnovers.
I think this game comes down, once again, to the play of Texas Tech’s offensive line. Baylor leads the Big 12 in sacks with 18, while Texas Tech is tied in the lead with fewest sacks allowed with just 4 logged this season. A trend with every Bears victory? At least 3 sacks logged and winning mightily in the tackles for loss category. If the Tech offensive line can match the Baylor defensive line’s physicality in the trenches, I think Tech can sneak out of the Toilet Bowl on I-35 with a victory.
Third Down - By the Numbers:
- The series record between Texas Tech and Baylor is tied 38-38-1, with Texas Tech owning the largest margin of victory 62-11 and the longest win streak with 15 straight.
- Baylor does, however, lead in the “Number of Major Athletic Department Criminal Scandals” category by a score of 2-0.
- Baylor also leads in the “Actual Documentaries on a major network about scandals and corruption in the Athletic Department” by a score of 1-0.
Fourth Down - Prediction:
#TexasTech's last game against Baylor was a 35-24 loss, and Kliff Kingsbury's last game as TTU's HC.— Jon Sokoloff (@JonSokoloff) October 7, 2019
"The implications for that game were deeper than us. It was very personal with hard feelings. We will not be well-acquainted with that feeling ever again." - Travis Bruffy pic.twitter.com/H839mRQdUO
I don’t know if you guys were able to see Travis Bruffy’s statement during his media availability on the loss Tech suffered at the hands of this Baylor team last season. In short, this team knew it meant a lot more than just Tech not making a bowl game. It meant that a very honorable and hardworking man who gave his all to the team and the school would be fired from his position as head coach. It meant the staff and their families that recruited all of them would be out of jobs. That’s a tough pill for a group of 18-22 year olds to swallow.
Why do I reference this? I can only assume Bruffy has a very good feeling of the temperament of the locker room to come out and say something personal like that in a media session.
This isn’t a game played in a billionaire’s stadium at a neutral site for the first time in 10 years. This is a chance to beat a ranked team in front of their…let’s call it hundreds of fans at their homecoming. This one seems kind of personal. Maybe not to the coaches, but certainly to the players.
While I don’t think Baylor is as good as their record, I think they see this game as proving ground, as well. And while I think college football is definitely a week-to-week sport, last week showed how good Texas Tech can be when all the parts play really well. Biggest question: Can Texas Tech build off the momentum of winning against a darn good Oklahoma State team and surprise Baylor with an upset at their homecoming?
I predicted this as a loss early this week, but after seeing Bruffy’s comments, I think the team knows this is a winnable game. I’m riding with the good guys on this one.
The cheating people of the Brazos, 27
Texas Tech, 42