Baylor College Football Betting Preview and Schedule – 2020

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Last season was kind of a whirlwind for Baylor, starting 9-0 before running into Oklahoma and then Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Things aren’t expected to be as easy going for the Bears in their first season under Dave Aranda, who served as LSU’s defensive coordinator the last few years.

Their early preseason over/under was set at 7.5 wins with +25 to 1 odds to win the Big 12, placing them fifth in the conference.

Matt Rhule Gone

Without Matt Rhule, Baylor’s offense will turn to new coordinator Larry Fedora, the former UNC head coach. It’s up to quarterback Charlie Brewer to learn the offense in a limited offseason and match last year’s 421.5 yards and 33.6 points scored per game.

It won’t be easy, but the players are there for continued success. Brewer is coming off a solid campaign, tossing 21 touchdowns and seven picks, while running for 344 yards and 11 more touchdowns. With four starters back on the line, he could improve his overall numbers and hope to not be sacked 31 times again. 

With the returning core in the line intact, the rushing attack should again be solid after averaging 4.6 yards per carry as a team, sacks included. John Lovett (655 yards, 5 TDs) remains the lead back with Trestan Ebner (255 yards) set to take over as the top back up.

The question is who becomes Brewer’s favorite target in the passing game. Tyquan Thornton (782 yards, 5 TDs) and R.J. Sneed (437 yards, 3 TDs) are the most likely candidates, but some new faces will have to step up.

Defense Returns Just Two Starters

Despite Aranda having a defensive pedigree, that may not help a group that returns just two starters. Not to mention, this is the new coordinator’s (Ron Roberts) first shot at a big program after serving as the DC at Louisiana the last couple seasons.

The defense was the key to success last year, allowing less than 20 points per game, but the lack of returning production could be a problem early.

Most of this year’s starters received playing time throughout 2019, but all are headed for a much bigger role. Of course, linebacker Terrel Bernard (112 tackles) is still around and will run the show in the middle of the defense after receiving rave reviews from Aranda in the offseason.

Still, the lack of experience on the front end can’t be overlooked. At the least, the secondary has some pieces to work with led by senior corner Raleigh Texada. If others like safety JT Woods and end William Bradley-King can pick up the slack, this group may not fall off as much as expected.

Looks Like 7 Wins

The problem for Baylor is that things get started right off the bat with a game against Ole Miss in which it was an early underdog. Win that and surpassing seven wins is in sight and even if the Bears lose, they still have three winnable home games immediately after.

The problem will be getting through the Big 12 with five road games on the slate this season. Two of those come at Oklahoma and Texas, and they get an ugly stretch of three of four games on the road late in the campaign.

It doesn’t help that OK State is slotted between those. If Brewer can work his magic and repeat what the offense did last year, Baylor will again be competitive, but finishing near the top of the standings will be difficult for Aranda in his first season, mainly because of the onslaught of road games.

2020 Baylor Bears Schedule

Sept. 5 vs. Ole Miss (NRG Stadium, Houston) (BAY +1.5)
Sept. 12 vs. Kansas
Sept. 19 vs. Incarnate Word
Sept. 26 vs. Louisiana Tech
Oct. 3 at Oklahoma (early preseason line BAY +14)
Oct. 15 at Texas Tech
Oct. 24 vs. TCU
Oct. 31 at Texas
Nov. 7 vs. Oklahoma State
Nov. 14 at Iowa State
Nov. 21 at West Virginia
Nov. 28 vs. Kansas State