College Football Preview: The 2015 Baylor Bears
Baylor Bears Preview
2014 Record: 11-2 (8th of 128) Lost Cotton Bowl 42-41 vs. Michigan State
Odds to Win National Championship: +2500 See the Latest Odds
Overview: Art Briles has turned the Baylor Bears into a college football powerhouse and a consistent Big 12 contender. Baylor has reached a bowl game in five straight seasons and has won double-digit games in three of its last four years. Baylor’s next step is a chance to clinch a playoff spot and play for a national title.
Offense: Baylor returns its entire offensive line from a year ago, a unit that allowed 24 sacks in 13 games. Having an experienced and talented line should help the Bears have once again an extremely productive offense. Seth Russell replaces Bryce Petty at quarterback, a junior who has topped 1,200 passing yards and 11 touchdowns in a limited role. Russell is also more of a dual-threat option and has six career rushing touchdowns. Shock Linwood returns as one of the best running backs in the country, topping 1,200 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Baylor also has one of the best receiving corps in the country led by Corey Coleman, KD Cannon and Davion Hall. Needless to say, the Baylor Bears will once again have one of the scariest offenses in college football.
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Defense: Baylor’s defense ranked 51st in the country last season and should take another step forward with a lot of their young guys getting a year under their belt. Taylor Young proved to be one of the best linebackers in the Big 12 and Shawn Oakman has 13 sacks in his first two seasons. Orion Stewart will hold down the fort in the secondary and Andrew Billings is coming off a double-digit tackles for loss season. Xavien Howard and Ryan Reid are great ball hawking cornerbacks and K.J. Smith is one of the better defensive ends most don’t know about. Baylor will always be known for its high-powered offense, but its defense has some valuable playmakers and can certainly hold its own as well.
Special Teams: Drew Galitz will replace Spencer Roth at punter. Chris Callahan returns at kicker after making 69.2 percent of 26 field goal attempts.
Overall: Baylor may be the favorite to win the Big 12 and has a great chance to clinch one of the four playoff spots. The offense is easily going to be one of the best in college football and the defense will improve from last season. Baylor isn’t going anywhere and heads into the season as one of the more balanced teams in the country.