The football postseason is officially underway, with the first releases of national and conference honors already rolling in — to be followed this weekend by the announcement of Baylor’s 2010 bowl assignment! (More on that in a bit.)
Ten Bears earned recognition from Big 12 Conference coaches when this year’s All-Big 12 teams were announced Tuesday, led by quarterback Robert Griffin III. RG3 was one of three selections for honorable mention Offensive Player of the Year and one of four Bears named to the All-Big 12 second team, alongside wide receiver Kendall Wright, offensive tackle Danny Watkins and defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
That gave head coach Art Briles’ Bears four players on the first and second teams for the second consecutive season, something Baylor had never previously accomplished during the Big 12 era. Six others — center Philip Blake, punter Derek Epperson, running back Jay Finley, linebacker Antonio Johnson, place kicker Aaron Jones and safety Byron Landor — were honorable mention selections. Briles, too, was one of four choices for honorable mention Coach of the Year.
Last week, Epperson was named to the ESPN Academic All-America football second team. That marks three straight years (and five of the last six) that Baylor has had a football Academic All-American. Epperson, now working on his MBA, graduated in August with a double major in management/MIS; on the field, his 44.2-yards-per-punt average ranks third in the Big 12 and 21st nationally.
The next big announcement for Baylor will come Sunday, when bowl invitations are released. After becoming bowl eligible for the first time in 15 years, the Bears are expected to play in either the Texas Bowl (Houston, Dec. 29), the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (New York City, Dec. 30) or the TicketCity Bowl (Dallas, Jan. 1). Tune in to ESPN Sunday night at 8 p.m. CT to find out where the Bears will be bowling this season, then check your e-mail Monday for a Baylor Proud update that will share all the details.
Much like the raucous crowds that packed Reliant Stadium for the men’s Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Houston this spring, we want to see another wave of green and gold sitting together at whichever stadium the Bears head to this month. It is critical that Baylor fans purchase bowl tickets from the Baylor ticket office, as fans’ institutional ticket purchases can impact our future bowl opportunities. Baylor will receive a block of 10,000-plus tickets that will be made available through BaylorBears.com starting Sunday night. Baylor Nation has been outstanding in its support of the Bears this year, and we need to “rise up” again by purchasing tickets and traveling to our bowl game en masse this year.
Sic ’em, Baylor football fans!