No matter how it ended, you’d have to call this a dream season for Baylor, a record-breaking and program-changing year in so many ways. Powered by the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation, Baylor won 11 games for the first time in school history and its first conference title since 1980.
There were a few bumps along the way to the Bears’ historic season, but a season that began 9-0 ended with Baylor achieving some grand goals in Art Briles’ sixth season as head coach.
The future is bright, with a new stadium and another Big 12 title run on the way, but first here’s a quick look back at Baylor’s 2013 season.
Offensive MVP: QB Bryce Petty, whose first season as a starter went better than anyone could’ve expected. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year led the conference in nearly every passing statistic, with 4,200 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and just three interceptions, plus 14 rushing touchdowns. He returns to Waco a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in 2014.
Defensive MVP: LB Eddie Lackey. You could easily go with safety Ahmad Dixon here, but Lackey stepped up big for the Bears in 2013. He led the team in tackles with 108, picked off three passes and added 4.5 sacks and 13 TFLs. For that, he earned All-Big 12 honors and the love of Phil Bennett, who insists Lackey should’ve been an All-American.
Best moment: Closing Floyd Casey Stadium with a Big 12 championship celebration. An outright conference title and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl trip was on the line when Baylor took on Texas in its home finale, and the Bears took care of business with a 30-10 victory. Baylor had better blowouts this season, but this one was hard earned and gave longtime Bears fans a win they’ll never forget.
Worst moment: The Fiesta Bowl loss to UCF wasn’t pretty, but a 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater was more painful for the Bears. They were ranked No. 4 at the time and out to prove they belonged in the national title discussion, but OSU handed out a humbling beatdown in a game that was never really close.