The 6th ranked Baylor Bears hit the road this week as the back-half of the 2016 season gets underway. After 2 byes in 3 weeks, the Bears will have a sprint to the finish line the last 6-weeks of the season, starting with a trip to Austin, TX to take on the Texas Longhorns. UT is 3-4 on the year and has lost 3 of their last four games. However, they are 3-0 at home with victories over UTEP, Iowa State and Notre Dame (who have a combined 5-wins on the season). The Bears have no room to talk about schedule difficulty though. Texas will easily be the 2nd best team they have faced in 2016, with Oklahoma State clearly superior via their 49-31 victory over this UT team.
The Bears have been on the road though before and have victories over Rice and Iowa State on their ledge. However, Texas is at another level than both of those teams, as Rice might be the worst FCS team in the nation and ISU lost 27-6 in Austin just 2 weeks ago.
Baylor will be facing a team in flux, and one that could be looking at a new coach in 2017, which is usually a good sign for the Bears. In fact, every exiting coach in modern Texas football history has lost to the Bears in their last season. This is a stunning historical note, and one that does not bode well for Charlie Strong, especially needing at least 4 more wins to save his job. Could the Bears once again be the final nail in the coffin of a Texas coach?
A new Texas offense was suppose to avoid this fate for Strong and save his job. Transitioning to a "Baylor" offensive system. However, as Texas fans are finding out, that isn't so easy. First year offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert is the man in charge of the Texas offensive attack. He spent a year as a graduate assistant under Art Briles at Houston, and was the offensive coordinator with Dino Babers at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green as well as joining Philip Montgomery at Tulsa for a total of 4-seasons. One thing Gilbert did not do is call plays, as Babers and Montgomery held control of the offense.
With a first year play-caller, the going has been slower than most expected. Gilbert has said himself he is running his version of the Briles spread attack, but it might be a stretch to even call it that. Do they spread the field and do zone-read? Sure. But the dynamic motion, sets, and overall scheme are lacking. The beauty in the Briles' system is in the way it is very simplistic yet confusing all at the same time. Gilbert has yet to come close to that balance, and might be running out of time to get there.
6/8 BAYLOR (6-0) at Texas (4-4)
Oct. 29, 2016 | 2:30 p.m. CT
Talent: Steve Levy (pxp), Brian Griese (analyst), Todd McShay (reporter)
|Listen | Gametracker | Notes | Tickets|
- The Bears have won 7-straight dating back to last year’s bowl - tops in Big 12 & tied for 7th in FBS.
- The Bears are the only team in FBS to not allow a 4th-quarter point in 2016.
- The Bears have won 7-straight games following an off-week by an average of 34.0 points.
- Baylor has won 4 of the last 6 games against Texas. The Bears will be looking to win back-to-back games in Austin for the 3rd-time ever (1936/‘38 & 1989/‘91).
- BU has won 32 of its last 36 games played in Texas and is 43-7 in the state over the last 5+ seasons.
- Baylor is 13-3 in true road games over last 3+ years, after going 7-17 in the previous 5 years.
- BU has won 19 of its last 24 played outside of Waco, including 10 of its last 12 Big 12 away contests.
- Baylor is 21-5 vs. in-state schools over last 5+ seasons and has won 14 of last 16 vs. Texas foes.
Quick Look at Texas
- Location : Austin, Texas
- Enrollment : 50,950 (39,619 undergraduate)
- President : Gregory L. Fenves
- Founded : 1883
- Nickname : Longhorns
- Mascot : Bevo XV
- Colors : Burnt Orange & White (Pantone 159)
- Conference : Big 12
- Home Field : Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium/Jamail Field (Capacity: 100,119)
- Surface : FieldTurf
What Happened Last Time
With Chris Johnson exiting the game in the 2nd quarter, and the Bears trailing 17-0 soon after, Baylor turned to junior wide receiver Lynx Hawthorne and a collection of skill players to lead the Bears back. An offense installed at halftime that featured direct snaps to running backs brought the Bears back into the game, and cut the lead to 23-17 after a late Texas field goal. With 75 yards and 4-minutes left on the clock, the Bears last drive just simply ran out of time. The Bears normal uptempo offense that goes at a blazing speed was replaced with one that could not pass and usually took the entire play clock to run a simple play. As a hail marry by Johnny Jefferson (yes, that was the best option for a long pass) fell out of bounds, the Bears close lost cost them a New Year's Day Bowl game.