Baylor Bears 2022 College Football Preview
July 22, 2022
Record – 12-2
ATS – 10-4
The Bears took the Big 12 by storm and rolled to a championship season in year two of the Dave Aranda experience. They found their way into the title game by virtue of some close shaves down the stretch and got SWEET REVENGE on Oklahoma St (W 21-16). That was a fun season for Bears fans and a stark improvement over the 2-7 record posted during the 2020 SCAMDEMIC campaign.
Does Baylor have the MINERALS to go back-to-back? Let’s dig in.
Baylor Bears 2022 Outlook
The Bears were a balanced bunch on offense LY (219 YPG rush, #1 Big 12; 203 YPG pass, #8 Big 12) but it was obviously the ground game that pushed them to a championship. The offensive line was elite LY (5.4 YPC, #2 Big 12, #2 Big 12 sacks allowed per game) and they still look like one of the best fronts in college football. They’ll have to be great again as the Bears lose their top-two RBs including Abram Smith who lit defenses up for over 1,600 (!) yards and 12 TD on the ground in 2021. It’ll probably be a committee approach at RB this year and it’s unclear if they have any elite bodies in the unit. QB Blake Shapen takes over the full time starting duties and looked solid in limited action LY (72%, 5-0 TD to INT). Shapen will have to work some magic as the Bears lose their top-three WRs and don’t return a single wideout that posted more than 100 receiving yards with Baylor LY. We have doubts about the RB/WR situation but they’ve got the key components nailed down in our estimation (QB/OL).
Baylor was fantastic on defense LY as they yielded a mere 18.3 PPG (#2 Big 12), 346 YPG (#4 Big 12), whilst sacking opposing QBs a whopping 44 times (#5 FBS!). They’ll be challenged BIGLY to come close to that performance as they return six starters on defense whilst losing a pair of stars in LB Terrel Bernard and Big 12 DPOY (!) DB Jalen Pitre who was taken in round two of the NFL draft. The DL looks REALLY good with the return of an elite space-eater in Siaki Ika and the addition of former Tulsa standout Jaxon Player. We’re not thrilled with the on-paper talent of the back-seven and think it will be impossible to duplicate the success the pass D displayed in 2021 (13-19 TD to INT, #26 FBS pass efficiency defense). We believe HC Dave Aranda and friends can have this defense perform better than expected but it’s clearly down a notch from the 2021 stop unit.
The kicking game is in really good shape with the return of PK Isaiah Hankins (14-20 FG LY) and punter Issac Power (41.7 net). The bad news is that they need to replace their dangerous PR/KR Trestan Ebner.
Overall – The Bears will only break a sweat in one non-conference game (at BYU) but have to go on the road to face Oklahoma, Iowa St and Texas. WHOA, NELLIE.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – November 5 – at Oklahoma
This will be Baylor’s third road tilt in four weeks and the Sooners will be pumped to avenge last season’s 13-point loss.
Season Win Total
per BetOnline July 22
Over 7.5 -150
Under 7.5 +120
That looks about right. This squad appears to have some holes but seven to eight wins is the most likely outcome.
It would surprise a lot of folks to know how successful Baylor has been over the L10Y. They’ve posted a record of 80-47 (.630) whilst being extra SPICY on their home field (45-16, .738).
It’s hard to underestimate the Bears after what they did last season but this roster doesn’t have the look of a Big 12 champ. The offense is gonna have to step up this year and we’re not convinced that the RB/WR are skilled enough for the challenge. They’ll be fine on the defensive side of the ball but not as impenetrable as last year’s unit. And that road schedule is a killer. Let’s call for seven or eight wins. Sic ‘Em!
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