College football picks

Week 8 Expert College Football Picks

(Photo: © Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports)

It’s time to accept one simple fact – Baylor is for real.

Since the Bears became nationally relevant, critics have focused on their perpetually weak schedule. And rightfully so. Once again, Baylor has among the softest schedules in the country so far this year – the 108th toughest schedule out of 128 FBS teams.

But a team’s strength of schedule and sheer overall strength are two very different things. Baylor has beaten the teams in front of it and done so with authority, outscoring opponents by nearly 40 points per game. The Bears offense has been as close to unstoppable as an offense can be.

Baylor is scoring 63.8 points per game and averaging 719.7 yards per game, nearly two touchdowns and 100 more than any other team in the country. The Bears’ 32 passing touchdowns and 52 total touchdowns are also tops in the nation. They also lead the country in yards per pass (11.7), yards per rush (7.1) and yards per play (8.9). Excluding games against FCS opponents, Baylor’s marks of 50.2 yards per drive, 4.5 points per drive and 62.9% of drives ending in a touchdown are also the most among FBS teams.

Long story short – Baylor’s offense is really, really good.

Picks after the jump ...

(Photo: 247Sports)
(Photo: 247Sports)
(Photo: 247Sports)

For the first time this year, Baylor is rated as the best team in the country, according to the least squares optimization model used here to project the outcome of every FBS game with a 59.86 rating. That’s nearly six points better than the next best team (Alabama, 54.03 rating). Among teams who are still undefeated, Baylor has the best chance to run the table with a 44.43% chance to finish the regular season 12-0 this season.

But we are about to find out if the Bears are for real. It might not be this week. This Saturday they host Iowa State, who they are projected to beat by 36.7 points – just shy of the 37-point spread. It might not be the following week when they travel to Manhattan to face a Kansas State team who just fell to Oklahoma, 55-0, last weekend.

However, Baylor’s next three opponents after that are all in the model’s Top 25, two of which are in the top 15, including No. 4 Oklahoma. If the Bears get past the Sooners in Waco on Nov. 14 unscathed, they still have to get past road games against No. 22 Oklahoma State and still unbeaten No. 13 TCU the following two weeks.

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