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Rounding Up National Pundits’ BYU-Baylor Predictions

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NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

#21 BYU hosts #9 Baylor in one of the top college football matchups in week two. We roundup some of the predictions from national writers previewing the game. All links go to the full story.

Stewart Mandel of The Athletic predicts BYU to cover the 3-point spread.

“It’s a rare Top 25 matchup After Dark. Hopefully fans back East will stay up, because they’re already sleeping on BYU. The Cougars flew cross-country last week and hung 50 on USF while running for, um, 312 yards at 8.4 per attempt. Dave Aranda’s Baylor defense will be better prepared, but the Cougars will be a tough out in Provo at night.”

BYU 31, Baylor 26

Pick: BYU -3

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic predicts Baylor to come away with the victory.

“The Jeff Grimes Bowl. I almost picked BYU to beat the Bears here but I think the Ron Roberts/Dave Aranda defense will be too strong up front and take over the game in the second half.”

Baylor 24, BYU 20

Pick: Baylor +3

3 of 5 staff writers of The Athletic predict BYU to cover a 3.5-point spread.

“Both Baylor and BYU lit up the scoreboards in their blowout victories in Week 1. Consecutive lopsided wins for either school would be unexpected, given that BYU enters the matchup as only a slight favorite.

It’s not hard to see why the Cougars come into this one with the books backing them. They had their way with South Florida in Week 1 behind a solid showing from quarterback Jaren Hall and a dominant 312-yard ground attack. BYU also has just one loss in Provo over the prior two seasons and you can count on the fans giving Kalani Sitake’s squad all the advantage it needs. But will it be enough to overcome the Baylor Bears, which beat the the Cougars by 14 points a season ago in Waco?

Baylor will be fielding a different offense than it did a season ago when it played the Cougars. Still, if the offense performs anything like it did in Week 1 vs. Albany, this game could be one that far surpasses the projected points total.”

247 Sports writers Brad Crawford and Chris Hummer are split on the game.

Hummer: (Baylor +2.5) — This game wasn’t close last year. Honestly, shockingly so. BYU couldn’t run the football and Baylor pounded them up front. Things will be different in the altitude of Provo. But largely, I think Baylor is better up front offensively and defensively. I really like both teams this year, but I just think Baylor is a touch better, especially when you consider how familiar Bears OC Jeff Grimes is with BYU. … Baylor 31, BYU 28.

Crawford: (BYU -2.5) — This is the first of several games I’m keeping an eye on for BYU, a team with a real shot at getting to the New Year’s Six because of the schedule. The Cougars play Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame and Arkansas over the next six weeks, all teams ranked in the top 20. How many of those games do they win? This line has already jumped a bit, so if you can get it under 3 points, I do like BYU at home. ... BYU 38, Baylor 31.

Ralph Drusso of The AP predicts BYU to win but Baylor to cover.

“The Bears pulled away from the Cougars in their meeting last year in Texas, a big win in what turned out to be one of the best seasons in school history. The return trip is the first of five games against Power Five opponents for the Cougars. Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes came from BYU to turn around the Bears’ offense last season.”

Line: BYU by 3 1/2. Pick: BYU 30-28.

Bill Bender of The Sporting News predicts a Baylor win.

“A reason to stay up late. The Bears beat the Cougars 38-24 last year, but the road rematch will be tougher and the line has ticked up a half-point in the Cougars’ favor. A strong running game and a tough offensive line travels well. Baylor is 1-5 S/U as a road underdog under Dave Aranda, but we think this is the break-through game.”

Pick: Baylor wins 30-26 in an UPSET.

2 of 3 writers at Athlon Sports predict BYU to win.