Texas Tech football: The Red Raiders must neutralize these Baylor Bears this weekend

Texas Tech football: The Red Raiders must neutralize these Baylor Bears this weekend
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Texas Tech’s head football coach Joey McGuire, left, shakes hands with Baylor’s head coach Dave Aranda after Baylor’s win, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at Jones AT&T Stadium. Baylor won, 45-17.
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The Texas Tech football team and Baylor come into this weekend’s game with quite a few similarities.  In fact, their seasons have almost been mirror images of one another.  That’s part of what makes Saturday night’s contest in Waco so intriguing.

For starters, both teams opened the year by dropping a game to a non-Power-5 opponent that they were fully expected to handle.  Tech fell at Wyoming in overtime (a loss that seems a little less inexplicable given the Cowboys’ 4-1 start to the season) while the Bears lost at home to Texas State 42-31.

The next weekend, both Tech and Baylor came up just short at home against top-15 PAC-12 teams.  The same day that the Red Raiders lost to Oregon 38-30, the Bears nearly upset Utah leading for most of the game before suffering a 20-13 defeat that came down to the last play.

Then, in week three, both teams rebounded with resounding wins over an FCS opponent.  As Tech was drubbing Tarleton State 41-3, Baylor was doing the same to Long Island, 30-7.

Week four saw Tech and Baylor drop games to teams that are currently sitting atop the Big 12 standings.  The Red Raiders’ 20-13 loss at West Virginia now is easier to comprehend after the Mountaineers took down TCU in Fort Worth the next week, while no one was shocked to see Baylor dominated by No. 3 Texas 38-6.

Last weekend, Tech and Baylor each picked up their first Big 12 win but did so in different ways.  While the Red Raiders scored a 49-28 win over Houston, Baylor had to rally from a 35-7 third-quarter deficit to stun Central Florida 36-35.

Now, the two teams collide in week six and the outcome could send these teams on different paths for the rest of the season.  That’s why this game is so critical.

The next four games for the Red Raiders will be rather difficult to navigate.  A home game against Kansas State, a road trip to BYU, a Thursday night home tilt with TCU, and a trip to Kansas will be a challenging month of games for Joey McGuire’s team to say the least.  Therefore, it would behoove Tech to enter that portion of the schedule with a .500 record.

Meanwhile, Baylor has a chance to get on a roll by beating Tech.  The next three games on their schedule are at Cincy and then at home against Iowa State and Houston, arguably the three worst teams in the conference.  If they beat Tech, the Bears could be in prime position for a five-game winning streak before they go to Kansas State on November 11.

In fact, to say that this is one of the most important games of the year for the Red Raiders is an understatement.  If a postseason game is to be in the cards this year, it feels like beating Baylor is mandatory given how difficult the rest of the schedule looks to be.

While Baylor is nothing special this year, there are some intriguing and dangerous players on the Bears’ roster that Tech will have to contend with.  Let’s get to know this week’s opponent by taking a closer look at the individual players that the Red Raiders must find a way to neutralize in order to move to 3-3 on the year.

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