Monday, August 16, 2010
Big 12 2010-Baylor Bears
2009 Record: 4-8 (1-7)
Head Coach; Art Briles (3rd season, 8-16...42-44 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Randy Clements (3rd season) and Philip Montgomery (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Brian Norwood (3rd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Not since 1994
Offense: There is one huge x-factor on offense for the Bears. QB Robert Griffin has to return from a major knee injury and prove that he is still the same dynamice talent that he was before it. Griffin scored a combined 28 TDs as a freshman, and that kind of offense would be hard for many teams to control. He is just starting full contact at fall camp, so we'll see how he responds. If he falters, than the Bears turn to Nick Florence, who played much of last year. Kendell Wright and Lanear Sampson return at WR, with Terrance Williamsand Josh Gordon fighting it out to see whho will start at the 3rd WR slot. Jay Finley returns at RB, but he was injured a bunch last season and had ankle surgery during the off season. The line returns three starters, but both guards must be replaced.
Defense: There are question marks all over the place on D. NG Phil Taylor and DE Zac Scotten are back, but the other 2 linemen are new starters. Antonio Johnson is the lone returning starter at LBElliot Coffey and Chris Francis are expected to be the new starters going into fall camp. Chance Casey is the lone returnee at CB, while FS Tim Atchinson is the lone returning safety as a starter.
Special Teams: Ben Parks and Aaron Jones are in a heated battle for the PK job coming into fall ball. Derek Epperson returns to punt, and averaged just under 45 yards per punt in 2009. His leg will be very much needed, especially if Griffin can't return full speed or at all.
Wins: 9/4 Sam Houston State, 9/11 Buffalo, 9/25 @ Rice
Toss Up Games: 10/2 Kansas, 10/16 @ Colorado, 10/23 Kansas State
Losses: 9/18 @ TCU, 10/9 Texas Tech (@ Dallas), 10/30 @ Texas, 11/6 @ Oklahoma State, 11/13 Texas A&M, 11/20 Oklahoma
I don't see many opportunities for the Bears to distinguish themselves with this schedule. I see them starting out hot and then running into a wall. 6 wins would be possible, but that means stealing every game in the toss box. Even then, a bowl would not be possible as Baylor would have one win against a 1-AA squad in Sam Houston State.
Outlook: Expectations always have to be tempered with Baylor. They have a phenominla talent in Griffin if he is healthy, but there is not exactly a ton of talent around him that makes this football team competitive in the Big 12, especially in the South. Baylor will actually benefit when divisional play goes away in 2011 wth the departure of Nebraska and Colorado. Art Briles is a decent coach who is probably getting more out of this team than most could.