With everything that has happened, deciding where to slot Baylor is generally the toughest challenge for voters. SI and Stewart Mandel have both left Baylor out of the 25. That decision is questionable.
SI and Fox may fall back on the argument that the scandal makes it tough to see this team hanging together. After Bobby Petrino was forced out, Arkansas went just 4-8 under John Smith. But Baylor retains all its assistants. Jim Grobe has made clear the offense will be handled by Kendal Briles.
Baylor also returns too much to be unranked. Seth Russell is one of the five best quarterbacks in the country. If he doesn’t hold up, the Bears would be a huge question mark, but the same can be said for a host of teams. Shock Linwood, Johnny Jefferson and Terence Williams form an incredible trio at running back, and K.D. Cannon is without question one of the best wide receivers in the Big 12.
The team is not without its problems. The depth on the offensive and defensive lines is a big issue. It’s understandable someone would rank Baylor outside the top 10. It’s also understandable some think Baylor will just tank with everything that has happened. Yet, the talent Baylor returns in 2016 is too great to leave them outside the top 25.