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    Illinois takes on Baylor in Texas Bowl

    Updated: December 12th, 2010
  • CollegeFootballBreakdown.com

    Texas Bowl Preview

    Baylor vs Illinois

    The beauty of bowl games is the fact that they often match teams that would never see each other during the regular season. The Houston Bowl is another example of this as 6-6 Illinois takes on 7-5 Baylor in the Bears home state of Texas at 6pm on December 29th.

    Who wants it more?

    It is flawed thinking to assume a team playing in its home state is automatically more focused. Sure there is often a crowd edge but when playing a university with a large alumni population, such as, Illinois, it is normally neutralized. Baylor is the smaller school with more to prove. So their motivation is a given. Illinois should be excited to complete a comeback season in fine style but after playing the Big names of the Big Ten all year, Baylor may not be looked at as a challenge.

    When Illinois has the ball:
    Illinois is not fancy. They run the read option with a physical offensive line that will pound you into submission if you cannot man up. According to CFBStats.com, Baylor has given up 4.2 yards per carry this year but seem to struggle late in games against the stronger teams in the Big 12. Illinois will no doubt have success on the ground with QB Scheelhaase and QB Leshoure but will they score touchdowns? I think they will.
    Edge Illinois

    When Baylor has the ball:
    Baylor’s offensive line really struggled in pass protection against the better Big 12 Teams. Illinois has a strong defensive front featuring DT Cory Liuget who did not receive enough attention when handing out trophies at the end of year. However, Illinois can be vulnerable against the pass since its secondary is still not where coach Zook would like it to be. The Bears feature a lot of quick outs and bubble screens. Illinois will have some trouble matching up against this spread attack even though Illinois did have success against Northwestern who was minus QB Persa. Baylor’s Rober Griffin will poise a greater challenge. With plenty of time to prepare, the Bear offense can either lose its crispness or have a new gameplan that totally confuses Illinois. Illinois DC Vic Koenning is too good to be caught with his pants down. I expect Illinois to corral the spread attack of Baylor by dominating the line of scrimmage.
    No Edge

    Special Teams:
    Illinois’ kicking game has been solid all year. They led the Big Ten in punting average and made 21-26 field goals. I give them a small edge but with a long layoff, return coverage can often be a wildcard.

    Big Ten Analyst-Jim Fahs

  • JJBeatz


    John "JJBeatz" Jacobson is a handicapping analyst who covers the Big Ten, Sun Belt, MAC, Big East, Big 12 and Conference USA for www.collegefootballbreakdown.com. His nickname, "JJBeatz" was given to him by colleagues on Wall Street for his ability to make them money betting college football. JJBeatz is short for JJ beats the spread.

    John's passion for the sport of college football began when he played his first parlay card in elementary school. His fascination with making informative predictions allowed for a smooth transition into equity analysis and trading on Wall Street. As John often says, "Similar skills, such as money management, an analytical mind, hard work, an attention to detail, and perseverance, are needed in both trading and sports betting." JJ continues to work on his craft and loves to make people money.

    E-mail JJBeatz: jjbeatz@collegefootballbreakdown.com.

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