Week 5 – Baylor at West Virginia..

Posted Sep 26, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – Baylor at West Virginia

Baylor (3-0) at West Virginia (3-0) Sept. 29, 12:00, FX

Here's The Deal: It's the first ever meeting between the two schools and the official kickoff to life in the Big 12 for West Virginia – is the team ready?

The Mountaineers haven't had any problems so far in three home layups, and the passing game has been stellar, but Marshall, James Madison and Maryland aren't anything more than tune-ups for the big stage. Can Geno Smith and the air show be enough to get through a slew of shootouts? Will the defensive pressure continue? Expected to be deep in the hunt for the Big 12 title, West Virginia has the talent, the speed and the tools to put together a special season. But Baylor has a far better, far more talented offense than anything the Mountaineers have faced.

The Bears haven't skipped a beat after losing RG3, rolling up 104 points in three games, but the defense hasn't exactly taken a major step forward having problems keeping ULM in place and struggling mightily from stopping anyone who can throw the ball. West Virginia can throw the ball, and Baylor is fifth in the nation in passing bombing away for 362 yards per game. Get your popcorn ready. Defense is going to be optional with the two teams possibly combining for over 1,000 yards of total offense. This might not end up making a big difference in the Big 12 title chase, but it's going to be one of the most fun games of the year.

Why Baylor Might Win: The Bears can hang yard-for-yard with the high-powered Mountaineers. No, BU doesn't have a prayer of keeping the West Virginia offense down, but it can bomb away with anyone and it has the talent and potential to keep up the pace without a problem. Granted, everyone has been throwing on the Mountaineers in a potential to rally back, but they really are having issues with a pass defense that gets plenty of help from the defensive front. Marshall bombed away for 413 yards and two scores, and Maryland threw for 305 yards and three scores.

Baylor isn't making a slew of big mistakes. There hasn't been any lost fumbles and the passing game has given up just four interceptions in 117 attempts. Meanwhile, the defense has been great at making up for its problems with takeaways, coming up with ten in just three games with at least three in each one. However …

Why West Virginia Might Win: West Virginia isn't screwing up, either. The offense has yet to lose a fumble and hasn't even put it on the ground in either of the last two games, and for all the bombs and all the high-powered passing, Geno Smith has been picked off just once. The defense hasn't come up with a slew of takeaways, but the six aren't that bad. The pass rush has been stellar with nine sacks in the last two games, and the mental mistakes have been kept to a minimum.

To have any hope of slowing down Smith, the Bears have to come up with steady pressure – that's not what they're built to do. The defensive front got into the backfield against Sam Houston State, but that's Sam Houston State. Unlike West Virginia, Baylor doesn't have a sure-thing pass rusher, and also unlike WVU, there have been way too many penalties committing 21 in the first two games before slowing things down with six against ULM.

What To Watch Out For: Geno Smith might be getting all the Heisman hype, but it's Tavon Austin who has been the real star. With track speed, terrific athleticism, and the running ability to finish third on the team with 182 rushing yards and a score last year, he's a great all-around playmaker who holds up well at just 5-9 and 174 pounds. After three huge games, he leads the nation in receptions with 34 for 345 yards and six scores destroying Maryland with 13 grabs for 179 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, on the other side, it's Nick Florence who's the top statistical quarterback in the game. The RG3 replacement leads the nation in total offense throwing for 1,004 yards in the first three games to go along with 159 rushing yards. A smart veteran, he has kept the offense rolling.

What Will Happen: Get ready for lots and lots and lots of offense. West Virginia's pass rush will make a little more of a difference, but it's going to be a rocky ride. The Bears are going to make this a fight.

CFN Prediction: West Virginia 52 … Baylor 40
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) West Virginia -12.5 O/U: 79.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 4