Texas vs. Baylor: A Rivalry on the Brink of Change
In the world of college football, few things evoke as much passion and rivalry as the matchups between Texas and Baylor. These two in-state foes have a long and storied history, with their first meeting dating all the way back to 1901. However, as the 2023 season unfolds, this rivalry is on the brink of change.
Texas’ Final Quest for Big 12 Glory
As the No. 3 ranked team in the nation, the Texas Longhorns have their sights set on one final Big 12 championship before making their highly anticipated move to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 2024. Led by quarterback Quinn Ewers, who had an outstanding performance against Alabama with 349 yards and three touchdowns, the Longhorns are determined to leave their mark in the Big 12 before they depart.
However, the Longhorns have shown some vulnerability in recent weeks. Their game against Wyoming was far from convincing, as they found themselves tied at 10-10 entering the final quarter. It took a 21-0 run to secure the victory. Ewers’ performance in this game was also lackluster, completing just 52% of his passes for 131 yards. This raises questions about Texas’ ability to consistently perform at the highest level.
Baylor’s Struggles and Lasting Memories
In contrast, the Baylor Bears have had a rough start to their season under head coach Dave Aranda. They have dropped two nonconference games, a rare occurrence for the program that hasn’t happened since Matt Rhule’s 1-11 debut in 2017. Baylor’s struggles have been compounded by injuries to key players, including starting quarterback Blake Shapen and top running back Dominic Richardson.
However, this game against Texas holds extra significance for Baylor. It marks the last conference game between the two teams before Texas departs for the SEC. With the opportunity to rebuild some goodwill and create lasting memories, the Bears will be eager to give their all and potentially pull off an upset against their long-time rivals.
Key Factors to Watch
Poor Situational Football
A point of concern for Texas is their struggle to convert lengthy drives into touchdowns. Despite feasting on explosive plays early in the season, the Longhorns have found it difficult to consistently finish drives in the end zone. This has led to them ranking last nationally in adjusted offensive success rate. Texas needs to exhibit patience and discipline against Baylor’s defense, which has shown improvement in defending explosive plays in recent weeks.
Injury Woes for Baylor
Baylor’s injury situation is far from ideal, with key offensive starters like Shapen and Richardson sidelined. This has forced the team to rely on young and inexperienced players, hampering their momentum and potential success. However, adversity can bring out unexpected performances, and Baylor’s young players will be motivated to prove themselves against a strong opponent like Texas.
A Rivalry on the Brink
With Texas’ imminent move to the SEC, this game has added emotional weight for both teams. The decision to leave the Big 12 ends the third-most played rivalry in Longhorns history. It is a bittersweet moment for both sides, with Texas looking to end their Big 12 era on a high note and Baylor aiming to create a lasting memory in their final game against their long-time rivals.
Editorial and Prediction
In analyzing this matchup, it is clear that Texas is the stronger team on paper. Their ranking and impressive performances against top opponents like Alabama make them the favorites in this game. However, recent inconsistencies and Baylor’s motivated and injury-riddled squad could spell trouble for the Longhorns. While Baylor may lack the talent to secure a victory, they will undoubtedly put up a fight at home.
The predicted spread for this game is Baylor +15, according to SportsLine consensus. This suggests that while Texas is expected to win, it may not be a decisive victory. Baylor’s home-field advantage, along with their desire to leave a lasting impression on Texas, could make this a closer game than anticipated. A key factor to watch will be how Texas handles the high emotions surrounding this rivalry on the brink of change.
Prediction: Baylor +15
While Texas is deserving of their elite ranking, the potential for focus issues and an engaged Baylor squad could create some messiness on the field. Ultimately, Texas is likely to come out on top, but Baylor has the potential to make this a closely contested game.
As fans tune in to watch the final chapter of this historic rivalry before Texas’ move to the SEC, they can expect a battle on the field and a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era of Big 12 football.
<< photo by cottonbro studio >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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