Chase Field hosts Mountain West-Big 12 bout
After a 6-0 start, Baylor proceeded to lose its final six regular-season contests. But can the Bears earn at least some measure of redemption against Boise State tonight?
The two programs collide – for the first time ever – in the Cactus Bowl at 10:15 p.m. ET. Online sports book BetDSI opened the Broncos as 7.5-point favorites over their adversaries from the Lone Star State. The over/under is set at 68.
Interim coach Jim Grobe hopes to guide Baylor to one more victory before yielding to former Temple head man Matt Rhule in 2017. In order to pull off an upset, though, the Bears need an exceptional performance out of quarterback Zach Smith. Since taking over for the injured Seth Russell, the true freshman has thrown for 879 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions in three starts. Smith’s main target is junior KD Cannon, who boasts 73 catches for 989 yards and 11 scores.
Bryan Harsin’s team loves inflicting damage through the air, too. Sophomore signal-caller Brett Rypien absolutely torches the likes of Louisiana Lafayette, New Mexico and BYU throughout the fall. Co-offensive coordinator Zak Hill will also prescribe a heavy diet of carries for Jeremy McNichols here. Preparing for his last college game, the California native already ranks fourth in BSU history with 44 career rushing TDs.
Baylor, of course, no longer possesses such an immense threat on the ground. Senior Shock Linwood decided to skip the tilt to prepare for the NFL draft. His absence renders the high-flying Bears just a bit more predictable, whereas the Broncos’ balance bows to no one. Roll with Harsin’s troops in a barnburner.
TUESDAY NCAA PICK: BAYLOR/BOISE STATE OVER 68 POINTS