BAYLOR DANGER...LOOK OUT TECH
By mark rogers
November 15, 2008
If Texas Tech beats OU next week, they'll play for the Big 12 Championship, win that game and play in the BCS Title Game. Simple as that. Lock it up. Put it on the board.
That's what the Red Raiders have been hearing every time they turn on the TV, pick up the paper or fire up their computers.
And trust me, those college athletes definitely watch ESPN and FSN and hear the experts saying this over and over and over.
There's just one problem with all that: no one is saying anything about Tech having to play Baylor in Lubbock to close the season.
Upsets happen for two reasons: injuries to the favored team and complacency.
Wouldn't it be disastrous for Tech fans if they beat OU in Norman then lose to Baylor in Lubbock...and crazier things have happened.
41-point underdog Stanford beat #1 USC in LA. Oregon State beat #1 USC. Pittsburgh beat #2 West Virginia. Ole Miss beat #4 Florida in Gainesville. 1-AA Appalachian State beat Michigan in the Big House.
...and that was all in just the last two seasons...
I would bet that the Tech players aren't even thinking about Baylor. They're thinking about OU and the Big 12 Championship.
That's a dangerous mind set.
Let's take a look at what Baylor's done this year:
They're 3-7 but three of the losses have been by two scores or less, two were by three points. Plus they've played Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Wake Forest and Connecticut. That's a tough schedule.
Baylor QB Robert Griffin is a star in the making. He'll go to the Olympics in the 400m Hurdles one of these days so you know he's fast, and he's got an arm...and he's a true freshman.
The Bears also have athletes on their roster, another factor in upsetting a ranked team. As we've seen in the SEC for the last several years, if you have athletes on your roster, anything can happen.
Griffin was inserted into the season opener against Wake Forest, but his breakout game came against lowly Northwestern State in the second game. He threw for 294 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 42 yards and another score.
The next week Baylor beat Washington State 45-17.
Against Connecticut (a team still in contention to win the Big East) Baylor had more first downs, total yards and time of possession than the Huskies. The Bears lost by three, had zero turnovers and led the game in the fourth. Griffin threw for three scores and ran for another. The game was at UConn.
Baylor was smeared by #1 OU, but Griffin rushed for more than 100 yards and didn't turn the ball over.
The Bears beat Iowa State by gaining more first downs, winning the time of possession battle and not turning the ball over (seeing a pattern there?). Griffin completed 88% of his passes and threw two touchdowns.
The bright spots in a big loss to Oklahoma State were: Griffin didn't throw a pick and Baylor held OSU to 4-12 on third down...something Baylor has been good at this year.
In a close loss to Nebraska, Baylor racked up 350 total yards and didn't turn the ball over. They led late in the third and Griffin rushed for 121 yards and a TD.
Maybe their most impressive loss was against Missouri. Down 21-7 in the third, Baylor came back and tied the game with 2:30 left. Griffin threw for 283 yards and 2 TDs. He ran for 33 and another score. Baylor was 4-4 on fourth down and won the time of possession battle.
And last week in their loss at Texas, Griffin rushed for more than 100 yards and a score and Baylor held Texas to 8-16 on third down.
Those aren't jaw dropping stats, but I bet they made you raise your eyebrows in surprise.
And I'm not saying that Baylor is good enough to beat Tech or that they're better than Tech...obviously.
All I'm saying is that if Tech forgets about Baylor and sees them as just a 3-7 team win one conference win...the Red Raiders will be in for a surprise.
A lesser opponent at home...I can see it now: Tech thinks they can just show up, Baylor hangs around late and wins in OT or at the last second 38-35...that would be crazy, but like I said before - crazier things have happened.
I repeat, that's not my prediction for the game. I'm just pointing out a possible major upset that is brewing. All the pieces are coming together for something like that to happen.
However, If the Tech coaching staff does a good job of building Baylor up and not looking ahead (because who knows what's going on in the locker room), then Tech will smear Baylor, and the game will be over in the first quarter. That's what should happen on paper.
But that's also why they play the games. It's why I love college football.
It may not even matter if OU beats Tech next week...just a thought.
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