Texas A&M-Baylor: Which Team Will Win the Big 12 'Battle of the Brazos?'

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Texas A&M-Baylor: Which Team Will Win the Big 12 'Battle of the Brazos?'
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

“Don’t mess with Texas” means don’t litter the streets or the waterways.  The slogan is almost omnipotent in the Lone Star State — one of the tidiest places on the face of the earth.

The Baylor Bears will need to tidy up their defense this week if they want to beat the visiting Texas A&M Aggies football team — and the spit clean cadets that come with them.

Only 90 miles of country roads separates the two schools.  The Brazos River runs past both campuses — in opposite directions, probably.  Throw the record books out of the window when this rivalry game gets played.   

Saturday night at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, another version of the “Battle of Texas” goes down on the gridiron.  The Bears host the cadets from College Station.

The Aggies are seeking consecutive victories over Baylor; A&M won at home, 38-3, last year.

This is a nonconsecutive rivalry that goes back to 1899.  The programs have met approximately 94 times.  Texas A&M has won about twice as many as Baylor.

It’s an old school rivalry, complete with pranks and brawls.  Accusations of stealing boyfriends and girlfriends abound — along with brawls over the accusations of the accusations.  

Between these fine academic institutions of higher learning, the Bears won the last meeting in Waco, 41-21, in 2008.  A&M won in Waco, 31-21, in 2006.

This year’s installment of the “Battle of the Brazos” will take place not far from the banks of Lake Waco, where the jet skiers may be out there doing their thing.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III will try to do his thing against a suddenly stout A&M defense.  Great Aggies supporters, the Bush family could roll through Waco since A&M is on a roll.

Their win over the Sooners in Texas gave them life for the rest of the season, possibly.  The Aggies (6-3, 3-2) only conference losses were to Missouri in Texas and OSU in Oklahoma.

A&M's defense shut the Sooners down with the ball fifteen feet away from the end zone.  Under two minutes remained in the game, and Oklahoma had a fourth down to convert.  OU tried running the ball, on two consecutive snaps, and got jammed.

"Our guys really stepped up to the challenge," Mike Sherman said after the game.  Stopping A&M could be a challenge for their remaining opponents.  I expect Jeff Fuller to finish very strong no matter who the quarterback is.

The Aggies could still win the South. 

Former president Bush Sr. is probably proud of Baylor playing stand-up football this year — loving all things Texas is his thing.

Last week, his beloved Aggies won for the third straight game.  With a fourth consecutive victory, A&M could move into second place in the South past Baylor. 

Oklahoma State sits atop the division. 

Baylor’s coach Art Briles has his challenges, and Mike Sherman does, too.  Coming off losing to OSU and battling expectations after defeating Oklahoma, respectively, both men need big games from the quarterback position to seal a victory.

A senior, academically, Jerrod Johnson is A&M’s all-time leader in total offense.  Ryan Tannehill replaced him against Texas Tech and hasn’t looked back.

Tuberville could be going with the hot passing hand.  Insisting there isn’t any quarterback controversy, he claims he has two good quarterbacks and will need both.

Griffin operates in a rhythm offense.  If he is forced to adjust, then he is subject to pull the ball down and throw with poor mechanics.  The way to make him adjust is by blitzes, stunts and spins.  If he is allowed to stand in the pocket, he will pocket a victory like good quarterbacks do.

BU has the ultimate bend but don’t break defense.  They will have to stop Jeff Fuller, who is one of the best receivers in the nation, from breaking them.  OSU’s Justin Blackmon, another one of the best, torched the Bears secondary last week.

I expected a shootout when Baylor went to Stillwater to face the Cowboys.  It was a shootout, but only one team was doing the shooting. 

Oklahoma State, one of the best offenses in the nation, one of the best programs in the nation, put a match to Baylor for 55 points. 

The Bears scored 28 points after the half, but it was too little, too late.

Griffin has skills like Michael Vick, and we may see Baylor's quarterback in the NFL in the future.  Baylor has a decent corps of receivers and running backs.  Every Bear has its day, and last Saturday wasn't Baylor's, but Griffin will keep them from hibernating at home.

Don’t expect the Bears to sleep on goose eggs in Waco this week.  A&M may be on a roll, but the Bears want their honey.

Prediction: Thanks to the bitter taste in their mouths, the Bears are hungry for a sweet victory.  They laid an egg in Stillwater, but I believe strong currents from Lake Waco will wash the egg downstream.  Baylor will beat Texas A&M, 36-33.

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