Both in the midst of dreadful seasons of varying degrees, Texas and Baylor have a chance for a rare bright spot and an intra-state victory on Saturday afternoon when they meet at McLane Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPNU. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game online, on your phone or on another streaming device via one of the following over-the-top, cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch today’s game for free:
DirecTV Now: ESPNU is included in the “Just Right,” “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” channel packages. They range from $50 to $70 per month, but it comes with a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: ESPNU is included in the “Sling Orange” plus “Sports Extra” channel packages. That costs a total of $25 per month, but it comes with a free 7-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
PlayStation Vue: ESPNU is included in the “Core,” “Elite” and “Ultra” channel packages. They range from $45 to $75 per month, but it comes with a free 5-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the PlayStation Vue app
With two losses in a row, Texas sits at 3-4 and now has some work to do just to get to a bowl game. Baylor, meanwhile, is simply looking for its first win of the season. As such, pride may be the biggest thing on the line when they face off on Saturday.
Nevertheless, for as bad as things have gone for these Texas schools, they have both provided some reason for optimism over the last couple of weeks. The Longhorns have pushed Oklahoma and Oklahoma State–both Top 15 teams–to the brink the last two weeks before losing by five and three points, respectively. Holding the Cowboys–a team that dropped 31 against TCU earlier in the season–to just 10 points in regulation was one of the best defensive performances of the year from anyone.
Baylor, meanwhile, trailed by 25 heading into the fourth quarter against No. 22 West Virginia before storming back and ultimately coming up short of overtime after a failed two-point conversion attempt. It was ultimately a loss, but it was an indication that the Bears aren’t ready to just give up on the season.
When these teams meet on Saturday, it may ultimately come down to Baylor’s ability to move the ball against the Longhorns, who are just 40th in the nation in scoring defense (23.0 points per game allowed) but looked fantastic a week ago.
And when it comes to Baylor’s offense, there are questions about who will be under center. Zach Smith has been the starter for the majority of the year but has struggled at times behind a porous offensive line, while freshman Charlie Brewer came in and led last week’s furious comeback. Nevertheless, the former will remain the starter against Texas.
“Zach will start,” Rhule told reporters. “He led that comeback against Oklahoma, and I think it’s too quick to say ‘Charlie played great.’ Charlie needs to be ready to play, but I don’t want to have a quick trigger on our quarterback. I think Zach got into that ballgame not feeling real well and pressed a little too much, and he didn’t have much help.”
No matter who starts, oddsmakers don’t seem to believe in Baylor’s ability to crack Texas’ defense, as the Longhorns are favored by 9 points on the road.