Baylor (Nov. 25)
There’s no doubt in my mind that the defending Big 12 Champion Baylor Bears and head coach Dave Aranda will be a tough out for the Longhorns this season. Baylor has a pretty strong team returning in 2022. There are some question marks, though, that Aranda and the Bears must address this season before we should be buying into the hype for them as a top 15 team.
Moreover, one of the major reasons why I believe Baylor is a little bit overhyped heading into the regular season has to do with some of the key losses on offense. Baylor will have a new full-time starting quarterback in Blake Shapen that has well under a half-dozen starts under his belt.
Combine a mostly unproven starting quarterback with the loss of the two most productive running backs and two most productive wide receivers from a season ago, and there are some major question marks presented for this offensive unit this fall.
You can also see the stark contrast in Baylor’s preseason standing in the ESPN FPI, SP+ rankings, and returning production, compared with their preseason AP Poll spot.
- AP Poll preseason ranking: No. 10
- SP+: 40
- FPI: 22
- Returning production: 99
I’m definitely not saying Texas should take Baylor lightly. I just believe that Baylor is a little bit overhyped in the preseason polls than some of the other analytics and projections would indicate.
And the fact of the matter is that Texas nearly knocked off Baylor on the road in Waco last season, despite not having redshirt junior wide receiver Jordan Whittington healthy. If Texas is even close to healthy heading into the regular season finale at home this year against Baylor, they should have an easier time getting the win.
As long as Texas can avoid the pitfall of the second half collapses they faced in Big 12 play last season while staying healthy through the late stages of the regular season schedule, then this matchup against Baylor won’t be as daunting as it seems now.