As we get closer to kicking off the 2019 college football season, teams from around the country, but more specifically in the Big 12, are dreaming as to how they can either meet expectations (Texas, Oklahoma), exceed them (Baylor, Iowa State) or absolutely shock the world (Kansas State, Texas Tech). But July is the time for every program and every fan to dream of hoisting that conference championship on the first Saturday in early December.
So let’s look at the Big 12 conference and expand on how every team can have that magical season. Let’s get to the Baylor Bears.
How can the Baylor Bears win the Big 12 in 2019?
Well, it starts with quarterback. Can Charlie Brewer take the next step from a middle-of-the-pack QB in the Big 12 to one of the best? Last season, I predicted Brewer would end up as the second-best quarterback in the conference. I was wrong. If he does it this year, with the help of an improving offensive line, then Baylor is off to a good start. But that needs to happen for the possibility of a Big 12 Championship to even enter the conversation. The quality of skill position players are there, and there are no shortage of them, so that’s the least of Baylor’s concerns.
Defensively, get the pass rush going (8th in the Big 12 in sacks in 2018) and the run defense must improve (9th in the Big 12 in 2018). That means continued improvement up front from James Lynch, James Lockhart and Bravvion Roy, plus Clay Johnston leading a linebacker unit that has more depth and speed.
The schedule sets up where Baylor needs to pick off its early games for confidence, but there are no cake walks. The Big 12 opener against Iowa State will be tough, then it’s Kansas State and Texas Tech. Baylor plays Oklahoma and Texas in back-to-back weeks in November… both at home. If the Bears are in the mix by mid-November, these two games will help decide the Big 12 Championship participants. Being at home, Baylor must, at worst, split these games, before wrapping up the season with Kansas.
Externally, Texas not “being back” would be a huge lift for Baylor. It would open the door for someone to challenge the frontrunners (and favorites) in Oklahoma. There’s a ton of competition for who that team might be and if the chips fall right, Baylor could have a strong argument to be that team.
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