Poll Watch - Week 6

As others falter, the Baylor Bears continue to climb. In this week's poll watch, we see where the Bears stand and what may lie ahead.

The Baylor Bears enter Week 6 of the college football season ranked 17/16 (AP/Coaches) in the national rankings. Both polls reflected a jump of two spots since the previous week, which was a bit surprising considering the Bears were on their 2nd bye in 3 weeks.

Other than Baylor, only one other team in the top 25 has played only 3 games to date, that team being the UCLA Bruins. UCLA sits at 12/13 in the two polls with its 3-0 record. Until one of UCLA or Baylor loses a game, it will continue to be an interesting case study as to why some pollsters believe UCLA got so much better than Baylor during the offseason - considering Baylor's 49-19 drubbing of UCLA in the Holiday Bowl last year.

When we analyzed the AP poll 2 weeks ago, the Bears had 4 voters who did not believe they were worthy of a vote. By Week 6, that number is down to 1 - Jon Wilner. Wilner, who writes for the San Jose Mercury News in California, has 3 Pac-12 teams in the top 6, and 4 in the top 12. In fact, he ranks the aforementioned UCLA squad at #5, their highest ranking on any ballot.

On the other end of the spectrum, Josh Kendall of the State, in Columbia, South Carolina gives the Bears its highest ranking at #10. Andy Staples, who we profiled 2 weeks ago, still ranks the Bears at #11 for now, and Big 12 expert Tim Griffin out of San Antonio places Baylor at #15.

Since our last poll watch, Baylor has climbed to the 2nd highest ranked team, trailing only Oklahoma at 11/10. Texas Tech (20/22) and Oklahoma State (21/20) continues to round out the Big 12 rankings class.

With its non-conference slate out of the way, and no other Big 12 team receiving a single vote, it will now be up to those top 4 teams to do what the top of the SEC did a year ago - sweep the bottom of the conference. Oklahoma State did not get off to a good start with their loss to West Virginia, but will have a chance to redeem itself this week against Kansas State.

Interestingly, no ranked Big 12 teams play each other this week, and all 4 of the ranked Big 12 teams are favored to win their games.

Potential to move up will come in winning their own ball games, but also in getting some help from teams across the nation. 3 games feature a pair of ranked teams, with Ohio State (4/3) playing at Northwestern (16/15); Washington (15/18) playing at Stanford (5/5); and Maryland (25/NR) playing at Florida State (8/8). Any time two ranked teams square off, there will automatically be movement in the polls.

Casual observation suggests some pollsters are waiting to see Baylor face a Big 12 team. West Virginia has become a more credible opponent after its victory over then #11 Oklahoma State. If Baylor can get it done Saturday, and have a few other games fall the right way, look for the Bears to creep into the top 15.

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