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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Second-half outlook: Baylor

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Baylor Bears

Record: 3-3

Remaining schedule: Oklahoma State, Nebraska, at Missouri, Texas, at Texas A&M, Texas Tech

Robert Griffin’s injury has doomed the Bears’ hopes of making a bowl trip and snapping the conference’s longest bowl drought. The Bears still have some good players and will be competitive, but it will take all of Art Briles’ coaching acumen to keep from having his team's confidence collapse as the most difficult part of its schedule kicks in. The offense has scored 17 points combined in two Big 12 games and will have difficulty producing much offense against the tougher opponents. The defense has really struggled in conference play and ranks last against the run and tackles for losses. This might be a good time for Briles to turn to freshman Nick Florence rather than Blake Szymanski in order to build for the future.

Best-case scenario: One of the quarterbacks gets hot and leads the Bears to an upset home victory over either Oklahoma State or Nebraska. Then, the Bears defeat a wounded Texas A&M team at Kyle Field for the first time since 1984. That sets up a game against Texas Tech in the regular-season finale at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for a shot at a bowl game.

Worst-case scenario: The quarterbacks struggle and the defense collapses against the faster, more powerful teams the Bears will be facing. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Baylor could lose the rest of its games and skid to 3-9, snuffing out much of the momentum generated by last season’s charge.

Prediction: No bowl. Baylor will lose all of its remaining games, leaving the dream season of Griffin, linebacker Joe Pawelek, safety Jordan Lake and defensive tackle Phil Taylor under the category of “what might have been.” The Bears’ struggles this season without him prove that Griffin is the most indispensable player in the conference.