Stewart Mandel of SI.com with his College Football Overtime posting talks about Baylor’s dominating offensive performance through three victories.
Baylor coach Art Briles said on Sunday that his team is "just trying to be efficient" on offense and that he "doesn't really look at the numbers or the points." Fair enough. Let's take a look for him. The Bears' production so far has been downright Oregon-esque.
On Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe -- a team that held Oklahoma to 34 points in its opener and won at Wake Forest in Week 3 -- Baylor scored 70 points in two and a half quarters of an eventual 70-7 rout. It finished with 781 total yards, the exact same total as it racked up in its 70-13 win over Buffalo in its previous game. Throw in a season-opening 69-3 win over Wofford and the Bears are the first team since Oklahoma in 2008 to put up 60-plus points in three consecutive games.
Fans can say what they will about the level of competition. Baylor, 18-8 the past two seasons, is scarily proficient and has far more talent than even its Robert Griffin III-led 10-win team of two years ago.
"Our talent level is definitely up where we'd like it to be to be a formidable Big 12 opponent and a national player," said Briles.
Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (74.6 completion percentage, 1,001 yards, eight touchdowns, no interceptions), a fourth-year junior who was just 10-of-14 for his career entering this fall, is leading the nation in pass efficiency. He's surrounded by weapons like running back Lache Seastrunk (139 yards per game) and veteran receivers Antwan Goodley (123.3) and Tevin Reese (116.7). He plays behind a line led by projected first-round guard Cyril Richardson.
But Briles credits much of Baylor's early dominance to its longtime Achilles heel -- its defense. The Bears, who boast 10 sacks, returned seven starters from a unit that showed improvement late last season in upsets of Kansas State and UCLA, including standouts like safety Ahmad Dixon and defensive end Chris McAllister. Two of Baylor's first four touchdowns against Louisiana-Monroe were pick-sixes by cornerback Joe Williams and safety Terrell Burt.
It's best to temper enthusiasm until the Bears face some formidable conference competition, but that might be a while. Following a bye this week, Baylor hosts reeling West Virginia, plays two-loss Kansas State and Iowa State and then visits Kansas. It will be November before they face a Top 25 opponent, at which point the Bears should be ranked a lot higher than 18th.
"All we're trying to do is win football games," said Briles. "... When we step on the field, we want people to respect us and know that we're a tough out."