Baylor vs. Texas State College Football Odds & Picks: Bet the Under for In-State Matchup (Saturday, Sept. 4)
John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Pitre (No. 8).
- Baylor begins its season on the road, making the short trip to play Texas State.
- The visiting Bears will hope for better success in Year 2 under Dave Aranda after a 2-7 year in 2020.
- Check out CJ Vogel's full betting guide with odds, picks and predictions for the game.
Week 1 College Football Odds
Baylor vs. Texas State
It is football season in the great state of Texas. And what better way to kick off the return of college football with a star-studded matchup between Baylor and Texas State. Am I right?
Baylor enters the 2021 season in the second year of the Dave Aranda era, hoping to improve on what was a disappointing start to his tenure in Waco.
The Bears are really still finding their identity following the departure of Matt Rhule to the Carolina Panthers after the 2019 season. With Aranda at the helm and the defensive identity he brings, the bar is set for Baylor to improve significantly in 2021.
Despite being only an hour and a half away from one another, this Saturday’s matchup will be the first time in the series history that Baylor will make the trip south down I-35 to San Marcos for a game at Texas State.
The aforementioned head coach of the Baylor Bears is looking to right the ship this season and prove the 2–7 season in 2020 was a fluke. Of course, Rhule’s first season was a 1–11 nightmare and three years later he is an NFL head coach.
Baylor had the sixth-worst offense in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus, and has to replace a four-year starter Charlie Brewer at QB.
First-time starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon enters his redshirt junior campaign with just 46 career passes under his belt, with just four of them coming in the past year. You may remember Bohanon back in the 2019 Big 12 Championship game when he stepped in for an injured Brewer and put up a rather stinker of a performance throwing for 56 yards while going 4-for-15 in the air.
Bohanon has no starting experience, and commands an offense who lacks true playmaking ability. While he is by definition a dual-threat quarterback, he struggles to read read-pass windows and is rather inaccurate.
Baylor brought in former BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes to call plays. If there is one thing he is known for, it is the outside zone.
The average depth of target for Baylor quarterbacks in 2020 was just 7.5, a putrid number. Last season under Grimes, No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft Zach Wilson averaged 10.4 YPA and had great success throwing the ball deep, though that’s the difference Grimes will have to account for — Bohanon is not a first-round QB.
Underneath routes and outside zones will be plentiful meaning the clock will run.
As for the other side of the ball for the Bears, I am hopeful.
Linebacker Terrel Bernard, linebacker/defensive back Jalen Pitre and cornerback Raleigh Texada are three players who will all get a crack at the next level. Bernard and Pitre received All-Big 12 honors and will likely hear their names called on the same list at the end of the season.
Aranda, despite going 2-7, had his defense in the right direction. The Bears were right outside the top 50 in Expected Points Added (EPA) per pass allowed and EPA per rush allowed — a promising sign, especially for a Big 12 team.
With Bernard back after an injury cost him his 2020 season, this defense will be significantly better in 2021.
Texas State has seen better seasons than what happened in 2020. A 2-10 record shut down any sense of happiness about football being played in San Marcos.
Off the bat, Texas State has a talented receiving corps. That is undeniable. Marcell Barbee is the lead target and had an impressive 2020 campaign with 584 yards and 10 touchdowns on 14.6 yards per catch.
However, what is not impressive is the Bobcats’ quarterbacking situation.
Brady McBride and Tyler Vitt both received starts last fall, and neither exactly produced quality play. Combine that with the fact they are facing a secondary with two redshirt seniors and three true seniors, it is going to be a long day for either quarterback through the air.
Could Texas State get it done on the ground? They could, but it is unlikely. The Bobcats were tied for 96th last year in rush yards per game at 131.2 on 4.23 yards per carry. Not exactly a great fallback option when the passing game is not there.
However, when Texas State gets into the red zone, a field goal is usually not an option. In 40 red-zone trips last year, the Bobcats converted just three field goals. There is aggressiveness in the red zone with touchdowns being converted at 75%.
Texas State does not get many snaps off. In 2020, it ranked 101 in snaps per game with 67.0. In the final three games, that number dropped even lower to 56.3.
Safety Troy Lefeged Jr., who shined for Utah State in 2019, will be someone to watch for the Bobcats when their defense takes the field Saturday. Keeping wide receiver RJ Sneed in check is key, and Lefeged will be able to help make sure explosive plays are held to a minimum.
Texas State has six graduate transfers in the two-deep alone on the defensive side of the ball, putting experienced players into game-altering situations right away.
The defense should be significantly improved, especially with eight upperclassmen on the field to begin the season.
Baylor vs. Texas State Matchup Analysis
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Baylor Offense vs. Texas State Defense
Texas State Offense vs. Baylor Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Baylor vs. Texas State Betting Pick
Weather should not be an issue, though it will be warm at kickoff. Regardless, the offenses involved will not be moving the ball up the field. Unless there are several big special teams plays in this game, points will be hard to find.