The Baylor bandwagon rolls into Norman this weekend — Sooner Schooner beware — as the school's big breakout extends throughout this school year, and maybe beyond.
In a nine-month span that's seen Robert Griffin III win the Heisman and Baylor win a bowl game and the women's basketball team claim a national title and the men's basketball team share in March Madness, now the Bears are dominating play in baseball.
What's in the water in Waco?
And does Dr Pepper know?
Might as well book Baylor for the College World Series, the way things are going for the folks in green and gold. The Bears, unbeaten in Big 12 play, have already secured the league championship and are standing tall as a national contender.
And they've done all this as a lot of baseball people scratch their heads in disbelief.
Picked fourth in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll (behind Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma), Baylor commanded zero first-place votes. They sat just on the fringe of the rankings as the season began, receiving votes and getting some play in the polls that extended past the Top 25.
The Bears still weren't in anybody's Top 25 on March 19, when they stood 11-7 overall with losses to Lamar and Texas-Arlington and Michigan State.
They got a break, in the form of three straight home league series to start Big 12 play. And they got hot.
And stayed hot.
Look at them now: 39-8 overall and a record-setting 18-0 in the Big 12; No. 2 in the rankings; and a favorite to land one of the eight national seeds for the NCAA Tournament. Baylor has broken Big 12 records previously owned by Texas for starts to a conference season (previously 7-0), league winning streak (17) and overall winning streak (24 to UT's 21).
For the Bears, it's just their second outright conference title in 89 years.
“Everybody I talk to who's seen them says they're pretty good,” said one Big 12 veteran, “but not this good.”
That record says they are that good, until proven otherwise, although OU and Texas do remain for the Bears in conference play.
And there's more proof, like a conference-best team batting average of .327, 48 points better than Texas' next-best mark of .279. Like a league-leading earned run average of 2.66. Like 20 home runs in 18 conference games in this dead-bat era; eight more than the 12 A&M has hit in 21 games.
Second baseman Lawton Langford, catcher Josh Ludy and third baseman Cal Towey are all hitting .359 or better and rank among the Big 12's top seven hitters. The pitching stats are littered with Bears, led by starter Josh Turley and his 5-0 record and reliever Max Garner and his league-leading 7 saves.
Friday: Baylor, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday: Baylor, 2 p.m.
Sunday: Baylor, 1 p.m.
May 15: TCU, 6:30 p.m.
May 17: Samford, 6:30 p.m.
May 18: Samford, 6:30 p.m.
May 19: Samford, 2 p.m.
Friday: Alcorn State, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday: Alcorn State, 2 p.m.
Sunday: Alcorn State, 1 p.m.
Tuesday: at Dallas Baptist, 4 p.m.
May 17: Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m.
May 18: Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m.
May 19: Texas A&M, 1 p.m.