Here is everything you need to know about the rivalry game between Texas and Baylor.
2:30 p.m. CT, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
TV: FS1 (Brian Custer, Robert Smith)
Away Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network, Sirius 108/XM 200/Internet 954 (Craig Way, Roger Wallace, Quan Cosby)
Home Radio: Baylor Sports Network, Sirius 108/XM 137/Internet 953 (John Morris, J.J. Joe, Ricky Thompson)
Texas Head Coach: Tom Herman (23-14 at Texas, 45-18 overall)
Baylor Head Coach: Matt Rhule (17-18 at Baylor, 45-41 overall)
Series History: Texas leads 78-26-4. Tom Herman is 3-0 all-time against Matt Rhule. The first meeting came in 2015 when Herman lead Houston past Matt Rhule’s Temple Owls on their way to a Peach Bowl Championship. Since then, Herman’s already talented Texas team has scored two victories while Matt Rhule has built Baylor from the destruction of the Art Briles scandal.
Series in Lubbock: Texas leads 31-16-2. Baylor’s most recent victory in the series came in 2013 at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Opening Line: Baylor -3
Moneyline: Texas +160/Baylor -185
Fun Facts: Tom Herman and Matt Rhule have similar paths to where they are now. Both have had major success prior to becoming head coaches. Herman won a National Championship as the Offensive Coordinator at Ohio State. Matt Rhule was an assistant withi the NFL’s New York Giants. Herman and Rhule both have conference titles from their time coaching in the American Athletic Conference. They both came to their respective programs in the Big 12 in the same year. Both made it a priority to hire coaches from Texas high school programs.
QB Sam Ehlinger
If you’ve read anything from me this year, it’s that you know I don’t like considering the quarterback as a key player. I typically avoid them because it’s the cop out position for most writers. Here’s why Ehlinger gets the nod this week. It’s not because he’s a quarterback. It’s because Baylor has the best defensive line in the conference. His decision making is going to make or break the Texas offense. In conference play, Baylor’s defense has 24 sacks. Second place goes to West Virginia with 19. That’s a five-sack margin. Against Oklahoma, Texas allowed nine sacks. That’s more than half of the Sooners’ total allotment this season. If the offensive line doesn’t protect Ehlinger, the other players don’t matter. This game is over and the Bears are victorious.
LB Joseph Ossai
Ossai is a playmaker. Stat wise, he’s the best overall player. He’s second on Texas in tackles, tackles for loss and interceptions. The former War Eagle out of Oak Ridge High School in Conroe is just a sophomore. Het tends to come through in dire moments too. When the game is on the line, look for Ossai to make a big play.
WR Denzel Mims
It’s Senior Day. These seniors want to go out with a victory over a rival. They’ve been through Hell, and that may be an understatement. Mims chose to play at Baylor while the Bears were under an interim head coach. He lasted through a 1-11 first year under Rhule. He’s seen the destruction, the rubble and the rebuild. Mims deserves this moment and if there’s one player on this team who could be a difference maker on a Senior Day against Texas, it’s Mims. He has seven touchdowns, averaging one per game, and over 500 yards during conference play. You know he wants this moment. And to top it all off, a win clinches the Bears their first-ever appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game.
LB Terrel Bernard
Okay, so he’s not a senior. So what? That doesn’t mean he’s not the key player for the defense in this game. Bernard has filled the void left by Clay Johnston after a season-ending injury. He’s made multiple appearances as our Heartland College Sports Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. He leads the Big 12 in tackles, averaging 10 per game. This dude is a stud and he’s a big reason why Baylor is No.1 in the Big 12 for scoring defense.
Big 12 Championship Implications
As I said in Bracketology, Texas could wind up anywhere from the Sugar Bowl to being a fill-in for the Birmingham Bowl depending on their results these next two weeks. The Longhorns are still in the Big 12 Championship hunt, but they must win out. If they lose this week, the Texas fan base may be severely disappointed with the bowl Texas winds up in. Think Cheez-It Bowl or Liberty Bowl.
It’s real simple. One victory clinches Baylor their first ever appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game. There’s more than that on the line though. For starters, absolutely any hope of appearing in the College Football Playoff. While that’s slim, there’s an excellent chance Baylor does wind up playing in the Cotton Bowl. If Oklahoma gets into the College Football Playoff, Baylor would likely play in the Sugar Bowl. If the bears wind up in the Camping World Bowl, it’s a disappointment, which says quite a bit about the job Matt Rhule has done with this program. From 1-11 his first year to possibly appearing in the Big 12 Championship Game his third season. And check this out: Art Briles failed to do that. If Baylor wins this game, it’s time to crown Matt Rhule as the greatest coach in Baylor football history.
Texas 23 Baylor 21
This prediction is based more on psychology than statistics. The statistics say Baylor wins this easily. Here’s the deal. Prior to the Oklahoma game, Baylor hadn’t played in a big game in a while. Texas plays in big games every week. Texas is used to being the hunted and they are used to having a target on their back. Baylor could easily have a hangover in this game. They’re a bunch of 18-22 year olds. That’s why I think Texas gets out to a big lead and prevails after a hard comeback from the Bears. Dicker the Kicker hits a heart-breaking game-winning field goal to keep the Longhorns’ Big 12 Championshp hopes alive.
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