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Baylor looks to repeat Big 12 title, not defend it

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 13, 2014 at 6:10 pm •  Published: August 13, 2014
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Baylor coach Art Briles quickly dismisses the idea of his Bears defending their Big 12 championship.

The trophy they got for winning their first Big 12 title last season is theirs to keep.

As for trying to repeat as champions and get another trophy this year, the Bears are all in for that.

"Our guys have learned how to win at the highest level and have worked diligently on and off the football field to keep our name good," Briles said. "We have to learn how to prepare as the hunted as opposed to the hunter. We've always been the hunter. And I don't want to lose that edge and that attitude."

Once the league's perennial last-place team, Baylor has four consecutive winning seasons for the first since 1985-88, with four consecutive bowls after 16 seasons in a row without a postgame game. Robert Griffin III became the school's only Heisman Trophy winner three years ago, and the Bears move into a new campus stadium this season.

Quarterback Bryce Petty, now a legitimate Heisman candidate, and a talented group of receivers led by Antwan Goodley (1,339 yards receiving with Big 12-high 13 TDs) are back on an offense that led the nation with 619 total yards and an NCAA-record 52.4 points per game last season.

Petty, who waited his turn behind Griffin and a record-setting season by Nick Florence, threw for Big 12-leading 4,200 yards with 32 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also led the league with 14 rushing TDs.

"We already knew what to expect from Bryce Petty. We already knew he was a great athlete, he just had to wait his turn," Goodley said. "He was a hidden secret for a while, but I think he got his time and he got his chance and he showed it."

Here are five things to watch as Baylor

BACK ON CAMPUS: For the first time since 1935, the Bears will play home games on their Waco campus when they move into the new $260 million McLane Stadium along Interstate 35 on the banks of the Brazos River. Baylor won its last 10 games at Floyd Casey Stadium, the venue about 4 miles from campus that was home since 1950. The finale was a title-clinching win over Texas on a bitterly cold Saturday last December.

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