Poll Watch: Baylor

From time to time, this column will check in on the status of the Baylor football team in the AP and Coach's Poll.

It only took one week for Baylor to crack the top 25 this year, and many felt they should have been there all along. Still though, with Baylor being ranked in only one poll (23 in AP; 26 in Coach's), there is clearly some work left to do.

One of the things that kept Baylor out of the Coach's poll this week was Washington, who trounced previously ranked Boise State 38-6 and ranks at #20 in the AP (#23 in the Coach's). Although polls are theoretically based on this year's performance, early in the season prior seasons often come into mind. In the case of Washington however, they were 7-6 a year ago, losing their last 2 games including their bowl game. Baylor fans will remember their bowl game from 2 years ago, where the Bears defeated Washington in the Alamo Bowl.

Other recent bowl opponents ahead of the Bears include the UCLA Bruins, #18 in the AP and Coach's. The Bears smacked around UCLA 49-19 in the Holiday bowl last year, but the poll voters weren't buying any carry-over to this season, believing that UCLA's program is in better shape despite what was shown on the field. UCLA will have the chance to earn their ranking when they take on Nebraska in 2 weeks; they are on a bye this week.

As the Bears continue their quest for respect, they will certainly need to take care of business against Buffalo, who gave #2 Ohio State all it could handle in Columbus last week. Assuming the Bears do notch another victory, here are a couple of games to watch that could have an impact on the Bears poll-status next week:

Florida at Miami - Miami got by Florida Atlantic in their first game, which was enough for pollsters to allow them to slip by Baylor in the Coach's poll. Miami is currently tied at #24 in the Coach's poll, and luckily for the sake of TV ratings, the 11:00 game on ESPN now features 2 ranked teams.

#14 Notre Dame at #17 Michigan - Two ranked teams both in the teens. It's unclear whether the losing team will fall low enough to drop out of the rankings, but a few teams (Georgia comes to mind) fell quite a bit after a loss to a quality opponent in Week 1.

There's plenty more discussion on these polls and more on the inside at BearsIllustrated.com - join us and check it out!

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