Big 12 conference play is picking up in earnest this week and a few teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack in pursuit of the two spots in the title game later this year. Thursday night's showdown between Baylor and West Virginia will go a long way in deciding those spots as the Mountaineers are looking to hang on while the Bears can creep closer to that top position with a win on the road.
For West Virginia, the midweek game is a chance to get right and to begin rectifying the wrongs that ended up costing it a loss at Iowa State earlier this month. This is still a team with Big 12 title game hopes, but to maintain those, it can't afford to drop games in which it's a double-digit favorite. For Baylor, it may need to steal a win to have the best possible chance of finishing at least .500 or above. To do that in Year 2 under coach Matt Rhule would be a major sign of progress.
Here's what you need to know for Thursday's game.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 25 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Milan Puskar Stadium -- Morgantown, West Virginia
TV: FS1 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
West Virginia: Either the Mountaineers can get back on track after an embarrassing loss at Iowa State, or this thing can start spiraling out of control. The open week came at the right time; West Virginia had not been playing well and were banged up defensively. After this game is the tough four-game stretch in which the Mountaineers have to go to Texas and finish the season vs. Oklahoma. A get-right game is a must here.
Baylor: Rhule inherited a mess on multiple levels and the end result was a one-win season in 2017. This year? The Bears are a quiet 4-3 with only a couple of more wins needed for bowl eligibility. Should Baylor get a road win, it would be the first significant victory under Rhule and an equally significant sign that things really are returning to competent levels.
Game prediction, picks
West Virginia limped into the Iowa State game and got picked apart by Brock Purdy. Well, Charlie Brewer is no slouch, either, with 14 total touchdowns and just three picks. Baylor should have the offense to hold serve, but can the defense make the necessary stops? The Bears are dead last in the Big 12 in points per game allowed. Pick: Baylor +13.5
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