Don’t adjust your computer monitors or smartphones. The Iowa State Cyclones are at the top of the Big 12 standings. The freaking Cyclones. In case you’re wondering, ISU last won a conference championship in 1912 on the strength of a stellar 2-0 record in the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Right now, the Cyclones’ 4-1 mark has them tied for first in the Big 12 with Kansas State, who just lost 37-10 to West Virginia.
Meanwhile, the Baylor Bears (1-3) has played just four games after having three others postponed in the first month of the season. The Bears are fresh off a 33-23 loss to TCU, a game that was not as close as the score indicates.
Baylor at Iowa State
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Iowa State -13.5
When Baylor Has the Ball
Get the jumper cables for this offense. Three minutes into the second quarter vs. TCU last week the Bears had 21 yards on 20 plays and trailed 27-zip. Yowza.
Four-year starting quarterback Charlie Brewer has sputtered with accuracy issues, and his receivers had a case of the dropsies. Larry Fedora was brought in as the new offensive coordinator and so far he has been met with groans from the Bears fan base. The phrase “if it weren’t for Kansas” is used a lot to discuss BU’s second-to-last offense in the Big 12. The offense could use some creativity and take some chances to get early momentum.
Gotta establish the run. Get creative? Yes. But also, go back to the basics too and get the ground game to establish some consistency. Due to COVID-19 issues, last week’s TCU game was the first time the Baylor O-line was finally able to start the five guys they intended to have to begin the season. That should be a good sign. In their three losses, the Bears have run the ball for 27, 64, and 75 yards. For the season, Brewer has run the ball 40 times, more than any of the running backs on the team. Not good.
Protection. In the last three games, Baylor’s offensive line has given up 13 sacks and 29 tackles for a loss overall. Iowa State ranks third in the conference in sacks with 18 so far this season with Will McDonald (5.5) and JaQuan Bailey (5.0) at the top. Again, the O-line is finally intact with all hands on deck. Time to establish an identity and assert themselves. Or time to mail it in.