While the Baylor Bears were ranked #2 in the AP and Coaches polls, the newly released College Football Playoff rankings had them #6 in the country last week. Any college coach or fan will politely inform you that none of the rankings really matter, except perhaps the final CFP release to determine who makes the round of four and the final one to crown the national champion. So why the disparity in the rankings? Well, Baylor hasn’t had a very difficult schedule until now and when you lose your starting quarterback, the CFP Committee might knock you down a notch or two. Baylor along with the Oklahoma State Cowboys now control their own destiny not only in Big 12 play but also in regards to making it to the College Football Playoff. If both teams are undefeated come November 21, the winner of their match up will have the inside track to the conference title and making it to the playoff.
Baylor Bears vs. Kansas State Wildcats Recap
The Baylor Bears headed into Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Kansas State Wildcats on a nationally televised game last Thursday night. The Bears did not approach the game lightly and with Jarrett Stidham making his first collegiate start at quarterback for the injured Seth Russell, the team did not hold back with the game plan. The Bears had touchdown scoring drives of 1:46, 56 seconds, 10 seconds and 2:39. In other words, they scored extremely quickly and efficiently.
The Wildcats playing in front of their home crowd hung with the Bears throughout most of the game. At halftime the Bears had a commanding 21-7 lead and I’m sure many thought the Baylor win was a forgone conclusion. The Wildcats played with a lot of heart and after scoring a touchdown in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, were only down by seven, 31-24. The ensuing Baylor drive stalled and when Bears kicker Chris Callahan missed a 51-yard field goal attempt with 51 seconds remaining, the Wildcats had great field position, no time outs and an opportunity to tie the game. However to begin the Wildcats drive, QB Joe Hubener passed laterally to WR Cody Cook who in turn threw down the sideline and had his pass intercepted by the Bears Terrell Burt. The pick sealed the victory for the Bears who remain undefeated.
Art Briles summed it up best when he said, “We feel like our team is a team of survivors”.
The Big 3
#1 – Jarret Stidham making his Baylor Bears debut as the starting quarterback had a great night completing 23 of 33 pass attempts for 419 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he did not have an interception. He is confident and trusts his O-line and receivers.
#2 – Bears WR Corey Coleman performed quite well, hauling in 11 receptions for 216 yards and a pair of TDs. By doing so, he set a new Big 12 record with his seventh consecutive game with two or more receiving touchdowns.
#3 – The Bears run defense was exposed somewhat. Sure the read option runs by Wildcats Hubener showed its potency. Collectively, the Bears gave up 258 yards on the ground to Hubener and running backs Charles Jones, Justin Silmon and Glenn Gronkowski (yes, little brother to Rob).
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Baylor throughout the month of November. This week they host the one loss Oklahoma Sooners, next week on the road to take on the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys and the week after; the one loss TCU Horned Frogs. The pressure is on and if the Baylor Bears can navigate this minefield and remain undefeated, things will be looking golden for their season finale with the Texas Longhorns at home.