Baylor vs. Kansas prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday’s Big 12 matchup between the Bears and Jayhawks.
Baylor vs. Kansas Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 15 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: McLane Stadium, Waco, TX
Baylor is coming out of its first of two bye weeks this month as it attempts to stake claim to the Big 12 pole position. The conference is looking for someone to carry the banner nationally, and the Bears are one of the league’s two remaining unbeaten teams. However, Baylor has yet to face a ranked team, and needed to rally to escape Iowa State two weeks ago. Kansas is making progress in David Beaty’s second year, even if it isn’t reflected in the standings. The Jayhawks, which have dropped 14 straight Big 12 games, had heavily favored TCU on the ropes Saturday, but squandered a lead and missed three fourth-quarter field goals in a winnable game.
What to Know About Baylor
The Bears’ best game so far was Sept. 24 against Oklahoma State. Their worst was a week later in Ames. Somewhere in between is undoubtedly where this team’s potential resides. Baylor continues to move up tempo in a post-Art Briles world, averaging 43 points per game. And the weapons remain diverse and explosive around QB Seth Russell, especially if WR KD Cannon is able to return from a groin injury. It’s on defense where there have been hints of vulnerability. The Bears enjoy attacking with their superior athletes, but did allow 465 yards and six touchdowns to Iowa State before the break.
What To Know About Kansas
The Jayhawks are coming off their best game of 2016. They outgained the Horned Frogs, picked off three Kenny Hill passes and generally played well on D, led by DE Cameron Rosser’s four tackles for loss. Still, there were far too many mistakes, which also led to big losses to Ohio, Memphis and Texas Tech last month. There were the missed field goals, three Ryan Willis picks and five sacks allowed. And Kansas lacks the talent to overcome sloppy play, particularly on the road against an opponent with Baylor’s speed and skill.
Offense: Baylor. The running game, led by Shock Linwood and Terence Williams, has been more than just a complement to Russell this season.
Defense: Baylor. The Bears’ strength is on the back seven, where linebackers Taylor Young and Aiavion Edwards and DBs Travon Blanchard and Patrick Levels cover a lot of ground.
Special Teams: Baylor. Special teams miscues cost the Jayhawks a shot at a signature upset last week.
Coaching: Baylor. Jim Grobe has done a nice job so far under difficult circumstances in Waco. Plus, Kendal Briles is a riser among offensive coordinators.
Intangibles: Baylor. Yeah, Kansas now knows it can compete with a top-tier Big 12 program, but the Bears are home and as healthy as they’ve been since the opener.
Matchup To Watch
Linwood and Williams vs. Rosser and the Kansas front seven
Considering the changes Baylor has endured at the line of scrimmage, the team is doing a great job of running the ball, a problem for the Jayhawks. The Bears are No. 5 nationally on the ground, crushing Iowa State for 469 yards and five touchdowns at the beginning of the month.
Spread: Baylor -35
Over/Under: No line (as of posting)
Baylor vs. Kansas Prediction
The Jayhawks are improving under Beaty, as evidenced by last week’s close call with TCU. But this trip to Waco is a step up in weight class that Kansas won’t be able to handle. Baylor will use its myriad offensive options to pop a series of big plays against the underrated Jayhawk D. Meanwhile, Willis will implode in the face of the Bear pressure, turning the ball over a couple of times to set up Russell & Co. with short-field opportunities.
Kansas vs. Baylor Score Prediction: Baylor 48, Kansas 19