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Midpoint Baylor Line Report

Same old song and dance

Cooper Neill

Well, I could pretty much write the same thing I've written the past three weeks in here. I've been asked what I'm going to write about this week in the BLR, and quite frankly there's nothing new to write about. Everyone is aggravated at the Baylor defense. If I were to take a poll on campus about Phil Bennett's job security I'd wager 70-80% would want him gone. And that's a conservative estimate.

That being said, I still have hope for Baylor to make a bowl this season. There are two ways they can go about their last three games. They can either say it is what it is and move on, or they can get pissed off and play for that 13th game. Iowa State is going to be really, really tough to beat in Ames. I believe Baylor will beat Kanas, and I believe they will beat Oklahoma State on the last game of the year. Upon the assumption that Baylor drops its 4th consecutive game this weekend, they would have to either beat Oklahoma in Norman, Texas Tech in Jerry World, or Kansas State at home. All of these teams are ranked, and all of them keep on winning in impressive fashion. I think Baylor can get to 6 wins. I'm not even ruling out a win against Iowa State to get the ball rolling, it is very, very doable.

Excluding the TCU game, Baylor has played hard in its losses to Texas and West Virginia. These two games were eerily similar. Baylor scored late to pull themselves within a touchdown and needed to either recover the kickoff or hold the opposing offense from getting a first down. In both circumstances the Bears didn't even kick it onside and their defense could not make the stop necessary to give their offense a chance. Now, to put a positive spin on this, even with Baylor's horrid group of players that go on the field when the other team has the ball, they lost both games by a combined margin of 13 points. Sure, blame the defense if you want because of the turnovers they had, but that's like getting mad at your kid for getting a 97 on a test instead of a 100 even though the teacher was absent for every class period. It's not right.

I had high hopes for the Bears this season, but I was still on the high of last season, and I assumed that Baylor would improve defensively in Phil Bennett's second season with the team. I was certainly incorrect. In my preview I wrote before the season that...

I think the Bears record will be somewhere between 6-6 and 9-3. This all depends on how much the Bears defense improves, and how solid the new weapons will be on offense for Art Briles. I’ll admit, 9-3 is a stretch for this Bears squad. If I had to guess it exactly, I’d say the Bears end up at 8-4. Nick Florence is going to surprise a lot of people this year with how good he really is, and how good the weapons around him really are; weapons that will include a fast, quick hitting running game. With a full year under his belt, I believe Phil Bennett will be able to push the right buttons leading the Bears to some close victories.

I said it would depend on the defense, and it looks like I was right. i still think the Bears can end up 6-6, but it will be nice to get that "quick hitting running game" going. I loved what Art Briles did with mixing in Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk, and I think that will, I can't believe I'm saying this, really open up our offense. if the Bears were able to win the close games as I thought they might, 8-4 would very much be in the realm of possibilities for this squad. That's just not the case this year though. This team is going to have to scratch, claw, and fight their way into a bowl. If this Bears team can make it to a bowl this season, i think it will give the team a lot to build on going into next season.

It won't take much to change the mood of the students for this team. A win at Iowa State will make the Kansas game even more fun. (I can't wait for my first Baylor homecoming by the way) Right now, there isn't an incredible amount of confidence in this team, particularly the defense.

Another thing I posted earlier in the year was a comparison of Phil Bennett's season to season. Well, here is the same thing except with Baylor, along with the 2010 defensive statistics as well. You might not be too happy with what you see.

Baylor 2011 Defense Baylor 2012 Defense Adjusted numbers for 2012 season Baylor 2010 Defense
Points per game (rank) 35.7 (109) 44 (120) 44 29.8 (83)
Yards per game (rank) 477.5 (114) 553.2 (120) 553.2 427.3 (98)
Passing yards in a season (rank) 3346 (111) 2136 (109) 4272 3204 (109)
Rushing yards in a season (rank) 2384 (100) 1183 (64) 2366 1923 (70)
Interceptions (rank) 16 (T18) 6 (T59) 12 10 (T73)