Is Baylor the Number One Team in the Nation?
There was a collective groan from the state of Texas when the College Football Playoff matchups were set last season. There was SOME hope heading into the announcement…
Florida State v. Oregon.
Ohio State v. Alabama.
Nope. Dadgum it, they messed with the state of Texas.
Although Baylor finished 11-1, including a 61-58 win over TCU, the Bears were shut out of the playoffs and sent to Arlington to tangle with Michigan State. The Bears couldn’t hang on a fourth quarter lead and Michigan State left with the Cotton Bowl hardware. Many in the Baylor community, regardless of the result, were stung by the Playoff omission and they weren’t alone (see TCU Horned Frogs). But, the 2015 Bears are looking to make amends. Even without QB Bryce Petty under center, the Bears have gone on a mission this season, under the leadership of quarterback Seth Russell and WR Corey Coleman. The senior pass catcher has set the world on fire as he leads the nation in touchdowns with 16 and is second in the nation in receiving yards per game with 146.2. The Bears have scored no less than 56 points, scored seventy points once and sixty plus points four times. Russell leads the nation in passer rating as the only quarterback with a rating over 200 (209.99). RB Shock Linwood is one of the most dynamic running backs in the Big 12 and the country.
But, the reason this team may ultimately be the number one team in the nation is the improvement on defense. Look, don’t ever expect an Art Briles-led team to be the 1985 Bears on defense; however, this team has potential to excel on that side of the ball. DT Andrew Billings is thought to be one of, if not, the best interior defenders in the nation and his defense is holding teams to 3.32 yards per rush on the ground. The secondary has taken a few licks, but even that group is improved year over year.
All in all, the Bears may or may not be the number one team at this point in time, but it’s really hard to argue with anyone that has ranked them in the top spot. Whether Baylor is truly the best team in the nation currently or not, it’s the one team NO ONE wants to play anytime soon.