Texas Bowl 2018: Baylor vs. Vanderbilt TV Schedule, Time and Odds.The Baylor Bears and Vanderbilt Commodores can each earn their first winning season under their respective head coaches with victory in the Texas Bowl.
In order to reach Thursday’s contest at NRG Stadium in Houston, both teams had to win their final regular-season games to become bowl-eligible.
Baylor used an 11-point victory over Texas Tech to salvage a campaign in which it lost four of its last six contests.
Vanderbilt closed with victories in three of its last four games, including a 38-13 demolition of Tennessee to reach six wins.
Date: Thursday, December 27
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN or ESPN app
Odds (via OddsShark): Vanderbilt -4; Over/Under: 55.5
Unlike past bowl games with a pair of .500 programs, the Texas Bowl should be an intriguing watch because of where both Baylor and Vanderbilt have been in recent years.
Baylor went 1-11 in Matt Rhule’s first season in charge and deserves credit for bouncing back in his second year.
The Bears are hoping to secure their third postseason win in four years after winning the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl and 2016 Cactus Bowl.
Vanderbilt is traditionally one of the punching bags at the foot of the SEC, but the Commodores’ effort in November was commendable, as they earned the second bowl berth in Derek Mason’s five-year tenure.
Mason’s team carries more momentum into Houston, as it rebounded from a brutal October stretch to beat Arkansas, Ole Miss and Tennessee to reach the six-win mark.
Quarterback Kyle Shurmur and running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn rose to the occasion in November by producing a collection of impressive performances.
Shurmur threw 11 of his 23 touchdowns in the final four games, and he dazzled against the Volunteers with a season high of 367 passing yards.
Vaughn eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground by the slimmest of margins, when he totaled 1,001 yards in the regular season.
Against Arkansas, Missouri and Ole Miss, he scampered for 481 yards and five touchdowns.
Baylor’s offensive playmakers weren’t as consistent as Vanderbilt’s top players, but they still got the job done against Texas Tech.
Quarterback Charlie Brewer is coming off one of his most successful games of the season after he threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-24 victory over the Red Raiders.
However, Brewer and the Baylor offense might not have enough firepower available to challenge the Commodores.
Leading receiver Jalen Hurd is out of the Texas Bowl following a knee procedure and running back JaMycal Hasty is dealing with a knee injury, per Selby Lopez of the Dallas Morning News.
The production of running back John Lovett and wide receivers Chris Platt and Denzel Mims in place of the injured stars will determine how much the Bears are capable of.
In the win over Texas Tech, Lovett ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, while Platt and Mims combined to catch 11 passes for 179 yards and a pair of scores.
Both teams are capable of putting up points, but they haven’t done so on a consistent basis in 2018, as Baylor ranks 46th in the FBS in total offense and Vanderbilt sits 77th.
Baylor 21, Vanderbilt 17
The Texas Bowl isn’t the most intriguing bowl game on paper, but it will turn into one of the more competitive contests you’ll watch in December.
Given the inconsistencies of both offenses, the under is a safe bet but picking the outright winner will be more difficult.
Although Vanderbilt possesses more healthy playmakers, Baylor finds a way to rally around Rhule and win inside its home state.