Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 6 Baylor

USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 6 Baylor

Baylor has enjoyed the face lift it has received from Head Coach Art Briles, going bowling for the first time since 1994 and going to three straight bowl games for the first time in Baylor history. In fact, his success has convinced Baylor they need to build a new stadium. Next thing you know Baylor will be erecting a solid gold statue of him in front of the new stadium. At this pace Briles in on track to be inducted into the Baylor hall of fame. Of course, Briles has gotten a lot of help from quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence. Florence will now pass the torch down to Bryce Petty in hopes that he will be Baylor's next great quarterback. If the atrocious secondary can improve, even a little, this Baylor team could go from good, to great. Even the Big 12 polls have a great bit of confidence in Baylor, projecting them to finish 5th in the Big 12. It will be up to the Junior Petty to uphold that prediction.

2012 Record: 8-5 (4-5)

Returning Starters: 14 (6 OFF, 7 DEF, 1 ST)

Key Losses on Offense: QB Nick Florence (4309 yds. 33 TD), WR Lanear Sampson (646 yds. 6 TD), WR Terrance Williams (1832 yds. 12 TD) C Ivory Wade

Key Losses on Defense: S Mike Hicks, DT Gary Mason Jr.

Head Coach: Art Briles: 33-30 (6th Year)

Strength: Offense and Defensive Front Seven

Baylor could have one of the Big 12's best backfields, assuming Bryce Petty all he's cracked up to be. Both runningbacks Lache Seastrunk (1012 yds. 7 TD) and Glasco Martin (889 yds. 15 TD) return. Petty won't have Terrance Williams to throw to, but should still receive ample support from WR Tevin Reece (957 yds. 9 TD) and WR Levi Norwood (487 yds. 1 TD). Baylor hasn't been particularly known for their solid defense, though they could be this year as they return four starters to a defensive front seven including linebackers Eddie Lackey (104 TOT 2 SACK) and Bryce Hager (124 TOT 4 SACK). Baylor fans can expect for the rush defense to pick up, since it wasn't especially great, giving up 179 rushing yards a game.

Weakness/Questions: Quarterback and Offensive Line

During the Briles era, Baylor's offense is always equipped with a top notch quarterback, this season could be the exception as a fairly unknown Byrce Petty (97 yds. 1 TD) aims to fill the hole made by Nick Florence. Petty is fairly unknown, seeing limited action last season, but did impress in Baylor's spring game, by throwing for 181 yards and two TD. Petty has a large array of weapons at his disposal, though he may find using them effectively difficult as only two starters return to the offensive line. It would be in Petty's best interest to toughen up over the summer, as only two experienced linemen on a offensive line that gave up 19 sacks equals a potential for a lot of pain.

Projected Record: 7-5 (4-5)

Bowl Game: Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

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