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NCAA Team Preview: Baylor Bears

The Baylor Bears come into the 2014 season ranked 10th in the country. Baylor feels they could not only the Big 12 Conference, but make a run at the national title game. The Bears were the best offensive team a season ago; scoring 52.4 points per game. Baylor brings back a quarterback, that many consider will be a front runner for the Heisman. Bryce Petty a season ago, threw for just shy of 3,900 yards and 30 touchdowns. Petty has all the weapons around him and the Bears have a favorable schedule. If the defense can make the big plays when needed, look for the Baylor Bears to be a national title contender.

Baylor will be moving into a new stadium this season. That, along with Bryce Petty, this team should put on quite the show. Petty will use senior receiver Antwan Goodley a bunch. Last year Goodley caught 71 passes for 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Bears will see Shock Linwood as their top running back. Last season he garnered over 880 yards and 8 touchdowns as a freshman. The offensive line will be new for Baylor, but they appear to have a ton of talent. Looking to replace Cyril Richardson is probably the biggest obstacle for the offense.

Clearly, the defense is the question mark for this team. The Bears only return four players from a season ago. The Bears are looking forward to seeing what they get out of Bryce Hager, a linebacker who will return after missing a few games at the end of the season. Hager finished with 71 tackles. Up front for the Bears will be Shawn Oakman and Jamal Palmer, who have shown the ability to get the job done. In the secondary, junior Terrell Burt will man the safety position.

The Bears schedule is one of the weakest of all national title contenders. The Bears only play two teams all season that are ranked within the Top 25. Baylor will open the season on August 31st at home against the Mustangs of SMU. Following that, the Bears host Northwestern State. After that, Baylor will go away from Waco for the rest of the month. Baylor heads to Buffalo, Iowa State and TCU. On October 11th, the Bears come home and will host the TCU Golden Bears. The final six games starts with a trip to West Virginia, followed by a home game against Kansas. The biggest game on the schedule is November 8th when the Bears travel to Norman, to battle the Oklahoma Sooners. Then, Baylor will host Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and then Kansas State in the season finale.

Look for the Bears to score in bunches again. We have talked about everything the team will bring to the table and some of our concerns. Look for Baylor to get to October unbeaten. That game in Austin against the Longhorns will be quite a test. If they get past that game, the trip to Norman will be the best of the week. This could be a pair of Top 5 teams against each other. Obviously with a tough road schedule on their plate, Baylor could still find a way to be the 2014 Big 12 Champions.

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