Spring football is ongoing across the state of Texas now that spring break is over. The 13 FBS programs in the Lone Star State are allowed to participate in 15 on-field practice sessions, including 12 involving contact. Spring games are littered throughout April with most taking place on April 15 or April 22. Houston goes first when the Cougars play their spring game on April 7.
The 2023 season is one of change. Sam Houston is moving up to Conference USA from the FCS ranks. Houston is now in the Big 12. UTSA, North Texas, and Rice are preparing for their first season in the American Athletic Conference.
But what is the best and worst case that can happen for each team in 2023? Here’s where we stand on the Baylor Bears.
2022 record: 6-7
Sept. 2 Texas State
Sept. 9 Utah
Sept. 16 Long Island
Sept. 23 Texas
Sept. 30 at UCF
Oct. 7 Texas Tech
Oct. 14 IDLE
Oct. 21 at Cincinnati
Oct. 28 Iowa State
Nov. 4 Houston
Nov. 11 at Kansas State
Nov. 18 at TCU
Nov. 25 West Virginia
Best case: Baylor proved capable of winning, and winning big, with Dave Aranda in charge. The Bears won a program record 12 games in 2021, including the Big 12 title and the Sugar Bowl over Ole Miss. And that happened in a year without many expectations considering they only won two games in 2020. Baylor might be a sleeping giant again in the Big 12 for the 2023 campaign. TCU rose from the ashes in 2022 after a five-win campaign the year before. Running back Richard Reese and experienced depth at wide receiver and tight end means that the offense should be improved. The Aranda-coached defense is always a headache for opponents.
Baylor’s return to the top of the Big 12 must coincide with a dynamic defense and an offense capable of taking advantage of any opportunity. Results in close games dictated results over the past two seasons. The Bears went 4-1 in one-possession games in 2021. They were 2-3 last season. The defense only allowed 30 or more points only once in 2021. The unit allowed 30 or more points six times last year. Five of the first six games of the season are at home, which should give Baylor some momentum.
Worst case: The Bears didn’t add a ton of outside help in the transfer portal despite a six-win season in 2022. That was six wins fewer than the previous year. The improvements must start at the quarterback position, and the Bears brought in Mississippi State transfer Sawyer Robertson to compete with returning starter Blake Shapen. The offensive line must replace Connor Galvin, Jacob Gall, Grant Miller, and Khalil Keith. The defense also lost stalwarts such as Siaki Ika and Dillon Doyle. A tough road schedule in the Big 12, as well as a non-conference home game against Utah, puts Baylor in a tough spot. It is easy to see a .500 year in the making if the offense doesn’t improve and the defense can’t find new playmakers in the front seven.
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