Very little of the conversation about Baylor football this year has involved actual football. Fans would surely appreciate seeing the team on the field sooner than later.
Unfortunately for them, they’ll have to watch Baylor take on the usual cavalcade of non-conference lightweights once the Bears are finally in action. In conference play, it gets decidedly tougher with road trips to Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
The Bears need to gear up for a severe finishing stretch of six consecutive games against some of the Big 12’s best.
12. Sept. 3 vs. Northwestern State
The Bears kick off the season in typically lily-livered fashion with a visit from the Demons, an FCS team that finished 4-7 last season. Northwestern State lost its two 2015 games against FBS opponents by a combined score of 106-30. Points should come fast and furious for Baylor in this one.
11. Sept. 10 vs. SMU
Whether or not Chad Morris has the Mustangs on the right track remains to be seen. Even if the Mustangs field a team that can improve on 2015’s 2-10 campaign, SMU won’t put up much of a fight against the Bears.
10. Oct. 15 vs. Kansas
Baylor took no mercy on the hapless Jayhawks last year, cruising to a 66-7 win. The trip to Lawrence is sandwiched between bye weeks for the Bears, so they should be fresh and focused for another slaughter of a Big 12 bottom-feeder.
9. Sept. 16 at Rice
The Bears hit the road for a date with the Owls. With just six days between games, interim head coach Jim Grobe’s team will face a test of its depth. It won’t make much of a difference in the outcome, though.
8. Oct. 1 at Iowa State
Baylor’s recent history on the road indicates anything is possible in Big 12 play. Still, the outgunned Cyclones shouldn’t pose much of a threat to pull off an upset.
7. Nov. 25 vs. Texas Tech (Arlington, Texas)
The likelihood of a loss picks up significantly in the remaining seven games. Texas Tech and quarterback Patrick Mahomes will bring enough firepower to AT&T Stadium for this neutral-site shootout to keep up with the Bears. In light of a thin roster, personnel issues could start to take their toll on Baylor at this late point in the season.
6. Nov. 19 vs. Kansas State
Bill Snyder has shown a knack for frustrating high-powered offenses since the spread took hold of the Big 12. The Purple Wizard will have a ball-control game plan ready to slow down Baylor. Kansas State’s underrated secondary has the players to stick with the Bears’ touted wideouts, a key to beating Baylor.
5. Sept. 24 vs. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys will want revenge after the Bears handed them their heads in 2015. Getting it in Waco won’t be easy, however. If Baylor can stymie Oklahoma State’s running game like last year (23 attempts for just eight yards), this will likely go down as a win for the home team.
4. Oct. 29 at Texas
The Bears will have revenge on their minds against the Longhorns after last year’s fiasco in which they were forced to play wide receiver Lynx Hawthorne at quarterback. With Seth Russell coming back from a neck injury, it’s not out of the question that they will be in a similar predicament this time. Baylor does have a bye week prior to this game, giving the team extra time to prepare and rest up.
3. Dec. 3 at West Virginia
Who knows what kind of M.A.S.H. unit Baylor will be taking to Morgantown for the final game of the season. The Mountaineers have the kind of weapons on offense to keep pace with the Bears. If Dana Holgorsen needs a win to solidify his grip on his job, it would probably produce an inspired effort from the home team.
2. Nov. 5 vs. TCU
The chaos in Baylor’s program appears to have solidified the Horned Frogs as the consensus No. 2 team behind Oklahoma in the Big 12 heading into the season. They will have the top defense in the conference and an offense coordinated by miracle workers Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie. Even though these two rivals are meeting in Waco, the Bears should be a clear underdog.
1. Nov. 12 at Oklahoma
Tough draw for the Bears: The best squad in the conference in one of the toughest venues in college football. Baylor blew out Oklahoma the last time these two met in Norman in 2014. Each program looks to be in a different place two years later, though.
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.