Bears host Mustangs in intrastate clash
After months of fielding ugly questions about off-field conduct, Baylor returned to the actual gridiron last Saturday. And, if only for one evening, everything in Waco was right again.
The Bears bombed Northwestern State, 55-7, giving interim coach Jim Grobe his first win with the program. They’ll shoot for another rout when SMU hits McLane Stadium tomorrow, with a 2:30 p.m. ET kickoff in the Lone Star State. Online sports book BetDSI currently lists the home squad as a 32.5-point favorite. The over/under is 76.
Grobe replaced Art Briles following a wide-ranging sexual assault scandal at the university. The 64-year-old’s initial effort at the helm saw quarterback Seth Russell for 163 yards and four touchdowns, while Shock Linwood added 97 yards on the ground. Such success bodes well heading into a tussle with a Mustangs defense that gave up 311 passing yards in its opener against North Texas.
SMU’s task this weekend becomes doubly difficult when one considers the tenuous health status of signal-caller Matt Davis. The senior, who rushed for 91 yards and racked up another 155 through the air, continues to wrestle with a knee injury. If he can’t suit up, heralded wideout Courtland Sutton’s (55 career catches) values takes a significant dip.
In any event, Baylor’s primed to do major damage for the second straight contest. The Bears’ only obstacle would appear to be figuring out how to account for stellar safety Travon Blanchard’s (meniscus surgery) absence. Yet the overwhelming talent gap validates bettors’ faith in the hosts.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: BAYLOR -32.5