Thursday, December 29, 2011
Alamo Bowl: Baylor vs. Washington
By David Ubben
Baylor will play the role of favorite and take on Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl in nearby San Antonio on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET in the Alamodome. Here's what to expect.
WHO TO WATCH: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. Obviously. He's the game's most electrifying player and the Heisman winner, which you don't see very often outside the BCS. He's been must-see TV for most of the season, engineering huge upsets of TCU on the season-opening weekend, leading the program's first win over Oklahoma and knocking off Texas to win the Heisman on the season's final weekend. He's the nation's leader in passing efficiency, and, if you haven't watched, he's more than able to make plenty of big plays with his feet, too.
WHAT TO WATCH: Baylor's rush defense vs. Chris Polk. Baylor is a nine-point favorite, but if the Bears lose this game, it'll be because they lose this matchup in convincing fashion. It's been a weakness all year for the Bears, who rank 102nd nationally in rush defense. Washington did it to Nebraska last year, and Polk enters this game with 1,341 yards and 11 touchdowns. The best part for Washington about winning this battle is it would keep a dangerous Baylor offense, which Washington is ill-equipped to stop, off the field. This is the best way for the Huskies to do it.
WHY TO WATCH: You like points, don't you? If you're reading this, you probably have a certain fondness for the Big 12, and I'd like to think a fondness for scoring is implied there. There will be lots of that in this one. Washington's Polk and quarterback Keith Price are dangerous, but Baylor's RG3 is flanked by Kendall Wright and Terrance Ganaway, the Big 12's leading receiver and leading rusher. Add to that each team's ranking in scoring defense (Washington ranks 98th, Baylor 109th) and you'll see why there's reason to believe we'll see fireworks.
PREDICTION: No. 12 Baylor 47, Washington 31: RG3 doesn't give many clues as to his future plans, but he'll look the part of an NFL quarterback in this one, sending Wright into the NFL with a big day. We expect plenty of offense in this one, and both teams should deliver. Polk will rack up big yardage on a suspect Baylor defense, but the Bears will pull away late.