And now the truth comes out
Well with our cupcake out of the way UB gets into the meat of it's out of conference schedule. Any win in the next three games would be a major success for the still new Quinn regime. A win in Texas against a Big12 team would be a sign that this team is ready to go Bowling in year one.
Baylor is going to provide an interesting challenge, take away one person and I think this is a push. Robert Griffin is easily the closest thing to a Heisman candidate that the Bulls face this season, if you have not seen this guy just watch:
Griffin missed most of 2009 due to injury but he is back. Most of Baylor's offense is keyed around him so rather than look at 2009 I am forced to go back to 2008, he is that important to their success.
Where are the Bears at:
Where they usually sit, firmly entrenched at the bottom of the Big12 South. Sure they might slip up to second last in the south on an odd year but that's as high as they get.
Still any team in the Big12, cellar dweller or not, has budget and recruiting advantages over mid majors so they are not to be overlooked.
Season High Point:
It's a young season and they have only played a cupcake but seeing Griffin back on the field is a highlight for many Baylor fans.
Season Low Point:
None to speak of yet, they dominated Sam Houston pretty much from whistle to whistle.
Do they take care of the Ball?
Yes, in 2008 Griffin threw just three pic's against eighteen touchdowns. They do cough it up once in awhile but
How is their Passing Offense?
UB's defensive backs are probably good enough to match up with Baylor's wide outs but between their offensive line and Griffins mobility eventually one of their wide outs will spring free. Baylors wide outs have great speed (they are basically a track team) but if there is one match up where UB stands at par with Baylor its our DB's against their wide outs.
How is their Rushing Offense?
Robert Griffin... Just watch the highlights from 2008. He is likely going to be Baylor's leading rushing this season and he is very elusive. They lean more towards the pass, and Griffin runs like the wind so he gets a disproportionate number of carries.
How are their Receivers?
They are fast but they are nothing that Shannon, Cook, and company can't handle if the front seven does it's job.
How about their offensive line?
Bottom rung Big12 line, even with a QB like Griffin 2008 was not a banner year for them, and last season they really struggled. Still for UB's new look 3-4 defense they may be able to give Griffin and the skill players enough time.
Are they High Powered?
They thrive on big plays, last week feature more 20+ yard plays than UB managed most of last season.
How Well do they convert on 3rd?
The struggled last week against Sam Houston (5-14). If, and this is a big if, UB can keep them under 4 yards between first and second down their is the distinct possibility that they can end the drive.
Can their offense close a drive?
The last time this team was lead by Griffin they were scoring about 4.8 points per trip which is a bit lower than you would like, if you're a Baylor fan. On a side note they seem to punch in the ball on the ground far more than through the air when they get inside the 20 (2:1 in 2008)
How Good is their defense?
The Bears have a defense which is usually not capable of handling their conference opponents, unfortunately their opponents feature way more powerful offenses than UB is. This year they are dealing with some key losses in the defensive backfield so assuming you keep Davis vertical and un-flustered there is the potential to score some real points.
Do they take the Ball Away?
A bit less than 1.5 per game last season, that's in the bottom third of the league.
Can they stop the Run?
Baylor has a tenancy to let the occasional big run, and that contributes to their better than 4.5 yards per carry last season. Against Sam Houston in week one they did a decent job containing the backfield letting just one or two 10+ yard carries, and holding their foes to 2.5 per catty for the game.
Can they stop the Pass?
Near bottom quarter of the nation but given some of the teams they were facing in 2009 that is to be expected. They have taken some real personnel looses in the secondary, most notably Jordan Lake so this is perhaps the most exploitable aspect of their defense.
How do they perform on third downs?
Sam Houston was only 2-17 against the bears, last season Kent (a fellow MAC team) was just 4-15. In short Baylor is a pretty solid defense on third downs.
How is their red zone defense?
Remarkably stout, especially given their conference. The give up scores less than 80% of the time in the red zone (32nd in the nation last season). They are giving up only about four points per trip into the red zone (as always not counting extra points).
The flip side of this is that they gave up nearly 20 touchdowns of 20 or more yards.
How well do they get after the QB?
Not too well, as a unit they only averaged on sack per game last season. Three of those came from Jason Lamb who is now gone and three more from Tracy Robertson who nailed two against Missouri.
Do they get after you in the backfield?
No, they were near the bottom of the nation last year. They got into the backfield ten times on Sam Houston, and they have been getting more athletic up front so their past woes might be behind them.
How is their return game?
Anyone return game is scary after the last 13 games of UB football but Baylor is more so than most. Baylor's skill positron players would pass as track athletes at most schools so their is zero room for error on kickoffs and punts.
How well do they defend returns?
Not too well, they were ranked in the bottom 20 teams in terms of put return defense and near the bottom third in kickoff returns. Last week their FCS foe was respectable in the return game.
How well do they Kick?
Last season they were very inconsistent, looks like they are breaking in a new place kicker this year who was 2/3 against last week so its way too soon to know.
How Well do they Punt?
Derek Epperson is back for his senior year and that means about 40-45 yards gross per punt.
How good is Baylor at home?
This early in the year they are a hard place to play. On top of the heat you have 45 thousand Bear fans that have yet to have their hopes crushed by the Big12
How Big is this game for Each Team?
While this would be huge for UB, on the road BCS opponent, it has to be a bigger game for Baylor. For a team which is luck their is still a big twelve to bottom feed off of pulling their weight in 2010 is critical.
Baylor not only needs to Bowl soon, but the need to keep Floyd Casey Stadium near capacity all year. Buffalo is one of only a handful of teams Baylor will be favored against and the urgency level should be high in Waco. Baylor needs these five games (Sam Houston, Buffalo, Rice, Colorado, Kansas) and to upset someone else to go Bowling, a loss to Buffalo and it's almost certain they will be staying home.