Saturday provides one last shot for the Texas Longhorn to make a statement. The Longhorns have fallen short over the last two years in these situations, but the 2:30 p.m. tilt with Baylor will provide Texas a chance to claim at least a share of the Big 12 title.
The Longhorns won the last time they were on the road against West Virginia.
Here's how the Horns247 staff and contributors see this game playing out.
Everyone says it's a big deal that Baylor is playing at home. Does that really matter? In my mind, either you can stop or slow down the Bears offense or you can't.
I think it has very little to do with being at home or on the road. It's not like the "noise" hurt them in Stillwater or anywhere else this season. Instead, their relative offensive lethargy of late was created by a combination of losing offensive tackle Spencer Drango and wide receiver Tevin Reese and opposing defenses trying to mix things up.
But any way you slice it, Baylor is still a superior offense to anything the Horns have faced this year with the possible exception of Oklahoma State. The Horns will have their hands full, both against the run and pass.
As for the Texas offense, the Horns must complete passes early in the game to help loosen up the run lanes. And Texas can't let the Bears too far ahead on the scoreboard too early in the game.
For me, there are just too many "the Horns can't" statements for me to feel comfortable picking Texas. I think the final score will be similar to what it ended up two years ago in Waco.
Score: Baylor 49, Texas 24
Horns247 Longhorn Insider
I think Texas has the tools to beat Baylor. The way Texas is capable of running the ball, the fact that this is a different Baylor offense without Tevin Reese and Bryce Petty doesn't pose quite the run game threat that the other quarterbacks who have killed Texas this season posed.
I wouldn't be surprised if we get to the middle of the third quarter and Texas is within a field goal of the lead. That said, I think at the end of the injuries the Longhorns have suffered will impact this football game.
I don't like the matchup of the interior offensive line of Baylor against an undermanned middle of the Texas defense. With the margin for error being razor thin for Dalton Santos and Malcom Brown, it's not realistic to expect them to hold up for four quarters without issues.
I also don't like the Texas secondary having to chase the Baylor receivers all over the field all day and not give up a big play or two. The Bears have score 40 or more points in 23 of their last 28 games, and if they hit that mark I don't see Texas having enough firepower to hang in the whole way.
Score: Baylor 41, Texas 28
Horns247 Baseball Insider; Longhorn Blitz podcast co-host
I think there will be two key factors in this game, but the Longhorns can only control one of them.
The one controllable is the Texas pass rush. If the Longhorns are able to show enough different looks on defense to not allow Bryce Petty to get into a comfort zone, then the front four of the Longhorns should be able to impact this game.
The other key factor will be the weather in Waco. Right now, the forecast for kickoff is 35 degrees with 15 mile per hour winds and a 50-percent chance of ice pellets. I think that despite the sporadic passing game of the Longhorns, the restrictive nature of the game should end up favoring Texas because they will be forced to commit to the running game.
The Baylor defense is also probably as athletic as any unit the Longhorns have faced this season. I think the Bears will end up limiting the amount of explosive plays the Texas offense can create. The Bears defense is very aggressive as well and Case McCoy has struggled against similar style defenses.
Both teams should be able to run the ball against one another, and if Texas can win the turnover battle then the Longhorns can win this game. I think Anthony Fera may be the most underrated aspect of this game, but I don't think the final outcome will come down to a field goal. Unfortunately for Texas, Petty takes care of the football (two interceptions this season and I think he will be effective enough for Baylor to win this game.
Score: Baylor 34, Texas 29
Horns247 Recruiting Insider
I think there are so many variables in this game and the main one is the one no one can really predict: the weather. It’s going to be cold but if it’s raining, sleeting and just a big mess overall it could help the Horns’ chances because it’s going to hurt Baylor offensively.
The only problem is, no one will really know until gameday.
Texas has to keep up with Baylor if the Bears are having a lot of success putting the points up. The Horns’ offense isn’t really built to play catch-up when you’re down by 14 or 21 points with limited time. So in order for Texas to stay in this one, they have got to move the chains, take care of the football, they have to score – especially when those easy scoring opportunities present themselves – and they have to keep Baylor’s offense off the field as much as possible. If that happens, and that’s a big if, Texas can stay in this one.
Greg Robinson has his work cut out for him this week, but he did an outstanding job of slowing down Texas Tech last week, and you know he’s had this game circled for some time now for his defense.
I think Baylor wins, but it won’t be a blowout.
Score: Baylor 38, Texas 31
Horns247 Contributor, Longhorn Blitz podcast co-host
Score: Baylor 33, Texas 27