Week 4 - Baylor at ULM

Posted Sep 21, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Baylor at ULM

Baylor (2-0) at ULM (1-1) Sept. 21, 8:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal: All of a sudden, Louisiana-Monroe football has become must-see television, and Baylor has been wild and crazy offensively – even in the post-RG3 era – and is always a fun watch, making this likely to be one of the most interesting shootouts of the entire weekend.

It's not like Baylor has been tested yet against SMU and Sam Houston State, but all that anyone wanted to see is whether or not the attack would still flourish in the post-Griffin era cranking out 107 points over the first two games and over 578 yards per game in two blowouts. The Baylor defense will always be the Baylor defense, but the passing game is still flourishing under quarterback Nick Florence as it gears up for the Big 12 opener at West Virginia in a few weeks. But first, the Bears have to get by a middle of the pack SEC West team.

ULM basically ended Arkansas' season with a stunning 34-31 win, and then it had its chances against Auburn in a 31-28 overtime loss. The offense hasn't backed down from the challenges against the SEC teams, and the defense has been good enough to stay alive, but now it's all about the shootout. Can the Warhawks keep up the pace in a national showcase game? It's going to be wild.

Why Baylor Might Win: Florence should have all day to work. The ULM defense hasn't been awful, and it hasn't been too bad against the pass, but it's not getting to the quarterback and it's not generating any pressure with just two sacks in two games and has just four tackles for loss. The defense has been more read-and-react than attack, and it has worked. However, Baylor has the ability to do a little of everything right offensively and has to be pressured. Give Florence time and he'll rip apart the ULM defense.

Why ULM Might Win: ULM is throwing well and should be a lock to hit the 350-yard mark. Baylor's secondary is lousy, and while it doesn't give up too many huge plays, it gets picked apart with SMU starting out the season with 393 yards and five scores and Sam Houston State throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns. ULM has showed it can rally, and it showed it can keep up with Kolton Browning throwing for 388 yards per game over the first two. That's not going to stop with the wealth being passed around to keep everyone happy. Baylor's biggest strength so far has been turnover margin with a +5 over the first two games, but ULM has been terrific, too, at a +3 in the first two dates.

What To Watch Out For: Browning is getting most of the attention in ULM's great start, but someone has to catch the ball. Brent Leonard has been terrific so far catching 11 passes for 112 yards and a score against Arkansas, and making seven grabs for 53 yards against Auburn. Considered a complementary receiver coming into the season - there was a thought that he was going to be moved over to corner earlier in his career – but he showed last year with a few blowup games that he's too good to move. Now he's being used in a variety of ways to get the ball in his hands.

What Will Happen: 800 passing yards? It's not out of the realm of possibility with two of the best passing attacks in college football. Baylor will come up with a bit more balance and will pull ahead late in a wild back-and-forth shootout.

CFN Prediction: Baylor 50 … ULM 38
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Baylor -7.5 O/U: 68
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 3.5