Week 14 Free College Football Picks and Spreads: Texas Longhorns @ Baylor Bears 2011 NCAA Football Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on ABC Saturday 12/3/11: Although the Big 12 title will be decided later in the afternoon, Saturday’s meeting between the 22nd-ranked Texas Longhorns (7-4) and 17th-ranked Baylor Bears (8-3) could still decide an important honor for the conference. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III has thrust himself into the thick of the Heisman conversation, and Saturday’s game is his last chance to impress voters. That being said, the Longhorns won’t be doing him any favors, and Texas would love nothing more to end his Heisman hopes. However, the Bears are 2 ½-point favorites in this matchup.
The focus of this game is going to be Griffin III. Texas and Baylor are already bowl eligible, and neither is going to make a BCS bowl regardless of the outcome. Granted, winning is always important, but in terms of the big-picture, Griffin III has the most to gain. Entering the game, Griffin III has thrown for 34 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while completing more than 72 percent of his passes. He has also run for more than 600 yards and seven scores. He put himself on the map with a comeback win in the closing seconds against Oklahoma, and with the voters now watching, he could seal the deal with a big game Saturday.
For the Longhorns, slowing down Griffin III won’t be easy. Baylor ranks fifth in the country in terms of passing yards per game, 17th in rushing yards, and sixth in points per game at 43.1 a contest. Texas has been solid on defense, giving up just 21.0 points per game, but the unit struggled against the high-powered offenses of Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Baylor is every bit as potent on offense, and the Longhorns’ defense could be in for another long afternoon.
While the Bears are likely to put some points on the board, the Longhorns may have a chance to control the tempo on offense. Texas gains more than 200 yards per game on the ground, and Baylor has struggled on defense, ranking 111th in the country at 36.7 points per game. If the Longhorns can go on extended scoring drivers and dominate the time of possession, Griffin III and the Baylor offense will have less time to do damage.
Playing at home will be an advantage for the Bears as well. Baylor has yet to lose at home this season, and Griffin III and company have scored at least 42 points in all but one of their home games. Overall, the Bears really don’t have a bad loss on their resume. Baylor has lost on the road to Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. The Longhorns aren’t any better than those teams, and Baylor gets to face them on their home field.
While the Heisman may be an individual award, it reflects a player’s entire team. Griffin III will likely get a special effort from his teammates this weekend because they all know what the Heisman would mean to him and the school. The Bears have been scoring in bunches all season, and it is hard to imagine that a Texas team that is averaging just 15 points per game in its last three can keep pace. Baylor has been unbeatable at home, and the best season the school has had in quite some time should end on a high note.
Prediction: Baylor Bears (-2 ½) Cover the Spread
Free College Football Picks and NCAAF Predictions: Baylor -2.5 to cover the spread
|College Football: Texas @ Baylor
Time: 3:30 PM EST on ABC
Vegas Odds – Favorite: Baylor -2.5 Total: Over/Under 61.5
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