No. 10 Baylor football opens 2014 with highest preseason ranking since 1957
History will be made in more ways than one next week as Baylor football opens McLane Stadium.
The stadium’s debut — returning football to campus after nearly 80 years — is historic enough. But don’t forget that the young men on the field are, for the first time in program history, defending a Big 12 Conference championship. And this year’s team looks to be pretty salty in its own right.
[WATCH: USA Today shares a time-lapse video of McLane Stadium's construction, start to finish]
Head coach Art Briles’ squad is ranked No. 10 in the country in both the AP and coaches’ preseason polls, making Baylor the top-ranked team in Texas entering 2014. The Bears were also ranked in the top 10 by a host of preseason publications, including Sports Illustrated and NFL.com, and even landed a spot in ESPN’s college football playoff commercial.
The Bears will be led by the nation’s top QB-RB-WR trio in Bryce Petty, Shock Linwood and Antwan Goodley. After finishing 7th in last year’s Heisman voting, Petty is a Heisman favorite entering this year, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year (offense) and NFL.com’s No. 2 most freakish athlete in college football.
Petty and Goodley are two of five Baylor preseason All-Americans, joining offensive lineman Spencer Drango, linebacker Bryce Hager and punter Spencer Roth. Seven Bears — the preceding five, plus Linwood and defensive end Shawn Oakman — are on watch lists for national awards, while a total of 11 Bears earned preseason All-Big 12 honors from more than one outlet.
If you can’t get a ticket to the sold-out season opener on Aug. 31, tune into FS1 (6:30 p.m.) for the national broadcast of the Bears vs. SMU, or find a #WatchBU party in your city.
Sic ’em, Baylor football!