What to Know - Baylor

Bears finally accepting role as the hunted in the Big 12

Even after a conference championship, a Heisman Trophy winner and a string of winning seasons that hadn’t been seen at Baylor for years, the Bears weren’t quite sure of their standing in college football.

Leading up to the Fiesta Bowl last year against South Florida, they still saw themselves as the hunter. Only nobody else was looking at them that way – especially the Golden Knights, who knocked off the Bears 52-42.

“What we got to see is maybe how we got viewed when we weren’t viewing ourselves that way.” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “ … The only way to get experience is to go out there, feet it, touch it, have a taste for it, and that taste wasn’t very good.”

With how fast the Bears have progressed in just a few years, it’s no surprise that there’s a level of amazement around the school – and it’s not just because of the new stadium that quarterback Bryce Petty called the ninth wonder of the world, behind JerryWorld in Dallas.

In the past decade alone, Baylor has gone from an easy win for opponents to one of the toughest outs in the country.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t amazed,” Petty said. “It’s kind of crazy how fast this has changed, but that’s how these things happen. You’ve got a guy that has a vision and a determination of where he wants to be like coach Briles. That’s what I testament it to. It’s him.”

Baylor, which plays Oklahoma in Norman on Nov. 8, is now living with that new perception, one that has them preparing a little differently than they have in the past.

“We’re having to deal with a little bit as perception, the image of Baylor football, it’s a little different than what I has been in the past thanks to our players,” Briles said. “We have to learn how to prepare as the hunted as opposed to the hunter. We’ve always been the hunter.”

NUMBERS TO KNOW

4 - number of major defensive categories (sack, tackles for loss, interceptions and takeaways) in which the Bears have improved in during the past four seasons. … 1.6 - Baylor’s average national rating in total offense during the past three season. The Bears have been in the top two each year. No other team has more than one top-three appearance. … 5 - the number of Baylor receivers draft by the NFL since 2010, tied for the most of any school. … 7 - Baylor has won its past seven games against top-25 teams at home during the last three seasons.

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