The Hunted Mindset

Being the hunter has its advantages. You can see your prey and sneak up on it. You can attack rather than being forced into a defensive position. The Bears have thrived in that role, but how will they do as the prey?

It is good to be King. Baylor is the new "King of Texas Football", at least according to the Managing Editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football, Greg Tepper. If Texas football is a religion, then DCTF might just be the bible. I am not saying that Tepper is God or anything, but he might be the Pope, giving her sermon from the bi-annual magazine tops, just like two certain stones of commandments.

"There's little doubt that the Bears are the biggest story in Texas," Tepper said. "With the meteoric rise of the long-downtrodden program thanks in large part to the consummate Texan Art Briles, plus a new stadium, Baylor is — for truly the first time — the football center of the Lone Star State."

Yes, that is real, and it isn't from some Baylor homer spouting off after Sunday Church. That is the perception of the Baylor program right now, as Art Briles has taken the spunky band of misfits and turned them into Big 12 champions. Briles was born with a chip on his shoulder, one that he has used to motivate and push his teams to excellence.

Baylor fans got an unfortunate sneak peak at how the mighty Bears could handle their new role. It wasn't pretty. Just remember the Fiesta Bowl and how the chip on that shoulder was replaced with an expectation of winning. That is something the Bears have used to their advantage when on the other side of the field.

A certain Texas football player claimed that he didn't like the Bears due to them celebrating their Big 12 championship. He spouted off saying that "we" should act like we have been there before. Well, quite honestly, "we" haven't. Not like this, and not for this long of a time period. The four-game bowl streak is a program best, and includes the first BCS bowl game appearance for Baylor. The Bears had never been to a bowl game 3-years in a row, and their 36 wins over the past 4 seasons is 6 more than during any other 4-year time period. The Bears have had their first 10 and 11 wins seasons in program history in those four years. This is simply an unprecedented time for the Baylor football program. And all of that doesn't include the glorious new home that is being built on the banks of the Brazos River right now.

With all of that "good" though, the Bears can no longer claim to be that plucky underdog. They can't claim to be fully disrespected and forgotten. At least for this one season, they will be the hunted. They will be the prey, out in the open, waiting for all challengers to come to them. They are a bad 0-1 in that role under Briles currently. But that doesn't mean bad things for 2014. That simply means a lesson was hopefully learned in Arizona over 5 months ago.

With 75 days left till the home opener against SMU to kick off the new stadium and the defense of the Bears Big 12 championship, Briles has some time to instill this new mindset into his troops. It will be the mindset of a person who possesses something very valuable, that many others will want to take from them. The Bears will be hunted for sure, and will have to prove capable of being a very difficult catch.

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