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Previewing Week 1: Baylor

7/21/2011

You're counting down the days, I'm sure. We're so close, and yet so far from the season's opening weekend. I can't wait for it, and I'm sure every player in the Big 12 can't either. So, despite being a bit far off, we'll take a look at each team's opener, inspired by our friends over at the Big Ten Blog.

We'll start this series at the top of the alphabet.

Baylor Bears

Week 1 Opponent: Texas Christian

Coach: Gary Patterson (98-28, 12th season)

2010 record: 13-0 (8-0, Mountain West)

Returning starters: 10 (four offense, four defense, two specialists)

About the Horned Frogs: I didn't feel great about Baylor's chances to actually beat TCU last year in Fort Worth, but I thought it had a good chance to make things interesting. After the first quarter, it was 21-0.

This year, I think the same, but the Bears should have a much better shot of pulling the upset.

TCU loses more talent from last year's team than any team in the country except Auburn, which brings back just seven starters. That heavy turnover, plus playing in the season opener at home versus the third game of the year on the road last year, should favor the Bears, who will play host at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.

TCU must replace NFL-bound quarterback Andy Dalton, three offensive linemen and standout receiver Jeremy Kerley. Linebacker Tank Carder and his gratuitous arm bands are back, but both safeties must be replaced. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III loves to go vertical to Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright, so look for him to do it, and the Horned Frogs' secondary coach, Chad Glasgow, is now at Texas Tech.

TCU should start the season somewhere in the top 20, but Baylor will have a great opportunity to notch an attention-grabbing win with a Friday night kickoff on national TV. The game will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Random factoid: TCU leads the series between the former Southwest Conference foes, 50-49-7. Baylor can even it up with a win.

Totally unscientific percentage chance Baylor wins: 42 percent. Baylor has lots of experience, especially on offense, and it's hard to imagine the defense being much worse than it was last year, especially against Dalton and the Horned Frogs' offense, which did anything it wanted to the Bears' D.

Will the player turnover be enough to offset TCU's advantages in overall talent and depth?