After winning Big 12 title, Baylor football is Sugar Bowl-bound!
The moment that will live on from Saturday’s victory was senior safety Jairon McVea’s incredible diving, goal-line tackle that left Oklahoma State just inches short of a potential game-winning touchdown in the game’s final seconds. It’s worth admiring again and again and again. In one moment, McVea — a former walk-on with four career starts who’s now a sixth-year senior studying geology in grad school — etched his name in Baylor football history forever.
Not to be forgotten is quarterback Blake Shapen, who — filling in for injured starter Gerry Bohanon — started the game an incredible 17-of-17 passing and threw three touchdowns in the first half as Baylor staked an early lead. All this, in just his second career start — and in a conference championship game — against one of the best defenses in the country. For his performance, Shapen was voted the game’s most outstanding player.
The victory meant that a Baylor team picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 — a Baylor team that went just 2-7 a year ago — has, in head coach Dave Aranda’s second season, tied the program record for victories in a season at 11 and is ranked No. 6 in the nation in both the AP and coaches’ polls (No. 7 in the CFP).
As the Big 12’s top team, the Bears are headed back to the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1, 7:45 p.m. CT, ESPN). There, the Bears will face No. 8-ranked Ole Miss, the top SEC team not in this year’s College Football Playoff. The Rebels are 10-2 on the season — their first 10-win regular season in school history — and feature an offense that ranks among the top 10 nationally in yards per game.
This will make Baylor’s third straight bowl appearance against an SEC team; the Bears beat Vanderbilt, 45-35, in the 2018 Texas Bowl, and lost to Georgia, 26-14, in the 2020 Sugar Bowl. Baylor has only faced Ole Miss once before — a 20-10 win in the 1975 season opener.
Headed to the game? Sugar Bowl tickets from Baylor’s allotment are available now. (An initial students-only ticket deal, with and without travel to the game, sold out in minutes last week; follow @BaylorStuAct on social media for details about more student packages being made available this week.) All fans can book travel packages to the game via Anthony Travel. And don’t forget to #GeauxGold — wear your gold to the game!
Baylor Alumni is organizing a host of events in New Orleans that are open to the entire Baylor Family, including a family-friendly event at Fulton Alley on New Year’s Eve, a pep rally immediately following the Allstate Sugar Bowl Parade, and the Official Baylor Alumni Tailgate at the Superdome; stay tuned for ticket and registration information for these events.
Can’t make it to New Orleans? Be sure to join one of the university’s Official Baylor Alumni Watch Parties, which will bring fans together in cities all across the country. And no matter where you plan to watch the game, Sugar Bowl (and Big 12 champions) gear is available now through the Baylor Bookstore.
For news, updates and more, bookmark BaylorBears.com’s Bowl Central.
Sic ’em, #Big12Champs!