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Baylor is back in the rankings for the first time since last year when they had Robert Griffin III. In case you haven't noticed, the Bears are also scoring over 50 points per game, fifth best in the nation. It's like they're the same team. Unfortunately, they are also giving up 30 points per game and their opponents have been less than stellar although you could make a case that Louisiana-Monroe is a decent team.
Without a defense, it will be a wonder how Baylor will go after West Virginia on the road. Geno Smith has looked close to flawless for the Mountaineers thus far. Again, their hardest game was against Maryland so there hasn't been a true sample yet. Nevertheless, Smith has completed over 81 percent of his passes for 1,072 yards, 12 touchdowns and most importantly zero interceptions. They haven't needed much ground game, but running backs Shawne Alston and Andrew Buie still have plugged in for 329 yards and four TDs. The two receivers Baylor needs to mark closely are Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. For the second straight season, both receivers are set for over 1,000 yards and eight-plus TDs. Through three games, each WR has five TDs and more than 330 yards.
Keep in mind, Baylor allowed 298 passing yards and 262 rushing yards last week against Louisiana-Monroe. West Virginia is a Top 10 team, ULM is not.
Baylor knows they will have to score a lot of points to even be in this game. Nick Florence has done his best RGIII impression so far on the season, throwing for 1,004 yards and rushing for 159 more. He has 11 TDs, but also four interceptions. He'll need to keep that INT total down against WVU. The Baylor running game isn't the greatest, but Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin have still totaled 363 yards and four TDs. They have a few explosive WRs that can be the difference for them. Terrance Williams (353 yards, four TDs), Tevin Reese (304 yards, three TDs) and Lanear Sampson (202 yards, two TDs) have all picked up where they left off from last season.
Even with both of these high powered offenses, both teams are 1-2 against the spread through their first three games. That of course, falls on their defenses. The advantage in this one will go to the home team, West Virginia though. With this being the Mountaineers first year in the Big 12, it will be the first meeting between these two teams.
Baylor is 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games, but 0-6 ATS in their last six games on the road. However, West Virginia is an ugly 2-10 ATS in their last 12 home games against a team with a winning road record. It's not big, but Baylor is 1-0 on the road. In case you doubted that these teams could score, there aren't really any good numbers that support picking the under in this one although an over-under set at 80 is hard to go over with.
This game is fascinating in that, we really don't know how good either of these teams are. West Virginia's most recognizable win was over Maryland, who really isn't that great. Most people wouldn't recognize any of the teams Baylor has beaten, though Louisiana Monroe beat Arkansas and almost beat Auburn. The difference here should be defense. Baylor has none. West Virginia? Well, the jury is still out, but it simply HAS to be better than the non existent unit Baylor fields. At any number less than two touchdowns, we have to side with WVA. West Virginia -12.5
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