The 2013 Baylor Crystal Ball Part 2

The 2013 Baylor Crystal Ball Part 2

With the Bears off to a fast start at 3-0, conference season brings new tests and teams with vengeance on their minds. Join us inside BearsIllustrated.com for our second part of the Crystal Ball Series.

With the Baylor Bears off to a perfect start to the 2013 season, they enter the conference portion of their schedule with quite a bit of confidence. They have already had 2 bye weeks, including a week off before the first game on our list. Before we get to the games, let's take a look at the current standings.

Standings (post week 5)

1. Texas 4-0 (1-0)

1. Oklahoma State 4-0 (1-0)

1. Oklahoma 4-0 (1-0)

4. TCU 3-1 (1-0)

5. Baylor 3-0

6. Iowa State 3-0

7. Kansas 2-1

8. Kansas State 3-1 (0-1)

8. Texas Tech 3-1 (0-1)

10. West Virginia 3-2 (0-2)

Week 6 – West Virginia

Last year, the Bears lost an epic shootout in the first Big 12 Conference game for West Virginia. It was a display of two of the best offensive teams in the country. This year, both teams are replacing their starting quarterbacks and leading receiver, along with a few other big pieces of their success. However, only one of these teams is widely assumed to just "plug-n-play" their offense and continue to set the Big 12 on fire.

With this game in Waco though, the Bears fortune turns out significantly better. I guess the loss of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey could also have something to do with it, plus a defense that might have been as bad last year as the Bears. Baylor gets off to a hot start as Bryce Petty finds Jay Lee down the field for a long 40 yard touchdown, and then the Lache shows makes its first big time appearance in 2013. Lache breaks the 200 yard barrier as the Bears win 52-35. The Bears break into the Top 25 and Lache starts showing up as something more than just a sleeper in Heisman predictions.

Week 7 – at Kansas State

The first time out of Texas and the Bears get to travel to a place that has been quite unkind to them, maybe as much as any location outside of Lubbock, TX. In the second game of the Big 12 schedule, it is the opposition that is looking for vengeance though after the Bears knocked the Wildcats out of the National Championship game and possibly a Heisman trophy as well.

This is by far the toughest game in the first 9 weeks of the season. Kansas State, while rebuilding, still has one of the best coaches of this generation. They are also extremely tough to beat in Manhattan, and the Bears have lost there all four of their games on the road in this series. In fact, the home team has won every game since 2003, going 6-0 in that timeframe. You know Coach Bill Snyder will have something ready for the Bears, and Kansas State always seems to peak around this time of year, Also, since Snyder has been back on the sidelines, the Wildcats have improved each year, going from 6 to 7 to 10 to 11 wins over that four-year span.

Baylor's defense though will step up for the first time all year and corral the Wildcat offense, led by Waco-native John Hubert. With 4 turnovers caused, the Bears will do enough to escape with a 35-33 win off of an Aaron Jones game winning field goal with less than 2 minutes to go. The Bears defense will hold the Wildcats on a big Fourth and 4 to seal the win as the Bears move to 5-0.

Week 8 – Iowa State

Another beautiful homecoming for the Baylor Bears to celebrate, with floats and flowers and maybe a few jabs directed at the tornado hawk thing that Iowa State calls a mascot. Hard to personify a weather phenomenon (ask Miami with its Duck thing Hurricane). But back to the point, Iowa State is in a rebuilding year, especially on the defensive side of the ball where they lost two of the most productive line backers in the Big 12 the past few years.

With the chance to go 6-0 and climb into the Top 15 of the country, the Bears leave little doubt to their intentions for their northern conference mates. It is 21-3 after the first quarter and the Bears walk away with this one, 45-17 in their best defensive performance backed up by 4 turnovers forced.

Week 9 – at Kansas

A chance for the Sunflower state sweep within 3 weeks and this one comes much easier than the first one. With Kansas outmanned all over the field, they were the favorite for the cellar again in the Big 12. The Bears use a methodical running attack and a big play striking passing attack off of their play-action game to get to an easy 28-7 lead that they never look back from.

Lache continues his march into the Heisman conversation, this time earning some first place votes as he racks up 180 yards and 3 touchdowns in a dominating 52-20 win. The defense continues it torrid turnover pace, causing another 5 turnovers against the Jayhawks.

Get ready though Bear fans, it is about to get MUCH tougher, as the Bears still have the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth place teams in the Big 12 remaining on its schedule in the last five games of the year and wins only over the bottom four teams on their ledger. But a top 10 ranking in the AP poll makes Bear fans not worry about the future, and just enjoy the present.

Standings (Post Week 9)

1. Baylor Bears 7-0 (4-0)

2. Oklahoma 7-1 (4-1)

3. TCU 6-2 (4-1)

4. Oklahoma State 6-1 (3-1)

5. Texas 6-1 (3-1)

6. Texas Tech 5-3 (2-3)

7. Kansas State 4-3 (1-3)

8. West Virginia 4-4 (1-4)

9. Iowa State 3-4 (0-4)

10. Kansas 2-5 (0-4)

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