Baylor Looking To End Turbulent Season On A High Note

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Photo via Gordon DeLoach, TexasHSFootball.com

 

 

To say that it’s been an up and down season for Baylor is underselling the issues, and it’s likely giving too much emphasis to the word “up”. Baylor is 6-6, they’ve lost their last six games (some of which to teams that they definitely should’ve beaten), and outside of the recent hire of Matt Rhule, they haven’t had much hope on the field.

That’s the on the field stuff, the off the field stuff is another story entirely.

In the interest of transparency, we will have to talk about some of this off the field stuff, mainly because it’s becoming glaringly obvious that the off the field has affected the product on the field. We can’t talk about Baylor’s sudden inability to play offense¬†without talking about the assistant coaches going off on Twitter rampages and not preparing their team to play a rivalry game that they lost by 40 points. We can’t talk about dropped passes and bad blocking without talking about former head coach Art Briles suing Baylor. These events are tied together, these events distract teams, and no matter how much Baylor fans do not want it to be the case, they have affected this team. All the same, this is a football preview, not an opinion article, although it should be very clear what any sane human being’s opinions should be on what happened.

BOISE STATE NOTEBOOK

The Broncos, a program that was once heralded as the Giant-Killers of college football, are 10-2 in 2016 under Bryan Harsin.

They might be riding a little bit of a downer wave after a late season loss to Air Force, and victories over BYU and Washington State are definitely highlights.

They’re very balanced in their attack,¬†it’s unlikely that you’re going to shut them down. Their running attack is especially potent, running back Jeremy McNichols might break their single season rushing record.

They have holes on defense, but they also have the capability to beat you at any level – from defensive line to defensive backs.

BAYLOR NOTEBOOK

This is an extremely talented team that will miss one of the big things that makes it go: its quarterback. Zach Smith will start for the injured Seth Russell, who was taken out in Norman due to a brutal ankle injury.

Baylor is more balanced than one might think. They consistently pound the A gaps, and it sets up those deep routes that highlight reels love.

Their defense has struggled of late, but they still have pieces that can hurt you.

This is the last game of a tumultuous season. Motivation is a tricky thing, and there’s no way to accurately predict exactly how motivated Baylor will be in this game.

IMPACT PLAYERS

Boise State

Jeremy McNichols – RB – McNichols is the workhorse of a good Boise ground attack, and he’ll need to be excellent against a Baylor front that can be very physical.

Ben Weaver – WLB – Weaver has been one of the leading tacklers for the Broncos as well as one of their defensive leaders. He’ll be a major part of a linebacking corps that will have to play a tough game in the trenches against a good Baylor running game as well as chase some of that speed the Bears have at Wide Receiver.

Baylor

Terence Williams – RB – Baylor is going to need to pound the rock, and they’ll have a chance to do so with Williams. He’s a freaking load at 6’1 and 220 pounds, and he’ll likely tote the rock a lot in order to help Zach Smith.

K.J. Smith – DE – The most underrated member of the Bears’ D will have to stuff Boise when the down and distance is against them. He has 6.5 sacks on the season, and in this one, he might need to make a few plays in the backfield if Baylor is going to win.

X-factors

KD Cannon (Baylor) – WR – The explosive Cannon can draw coverage from defenses and make plays with the ball in his hands. He’s a must-shut-down for Boise.

Jonathan Moxey (Boise State) – CB – He’s more than a cover guy, he’s aggressive against the run too.

THE VERDICT

Everyone in the world is picking Baylor to lose this one. I think that motivation helps the Bears instead of hurts them, and that they have the skill to keep up and make some plays on Boise State.

Baylor: 38

Boise State: 35

 

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