1. 18 days from now, the Baylor Bears will begin a new football season, kicking off a new era in Baylor football against Northwestern State. Eighteen days. It seems forever away, and yet closer than you think. Just over two weeks. Can you wait that long? The Bears moved a step closer to that big day with a scrimmage Saturday morning.
The Baylor offense had its moments, but appeared "sluggish" as acting head coach Jim Grobe said. That isn't surprising for this time of year. The defense is usually ahead of the offense at this time, especially with no KD Cannon, Shock Linwood, or Johnny Jefferson out there. The Bears offense will be fine, especially if the offensive line stays healthy. Sean Muir is the only lineman that has been limited health wise so far.
2. The best news out of Baylor camp was the return of K.D. Cannon to practice. The junior all-american has been out the past few weeks due to knee surgery, but he is back now and should hit the ground running. The Bears have been mostly healthy this fall, except for Cannon and senior defensive tackle Byron Bonds, who is expected to miss at least the non-conference portion of the season.
With Cannon healthy, Lynx Hawthorne close to returning, and Denzel Mims not far behind them, the Bears could have their full complement of receivers shortly. It is a deep, and un-tested group. After Cannon and Hawthorne, there is not a lot of starting experience. Chris Platt, Ishmael Zamora, and Quan Jones have played some in the past few years, but have never been large contributors. They will need to be now, along with Blake Lynch Pooh Stricklin and the two freshmen, Mims and Jared Atkinson.
3. Defensively, a few of the younger Bears are starting to make some noise. Greg Roberts, right now your starting right end, had two sacks. Linebackers Jordan Williams, Clay Johnston, and Lenoy Jones Jr. also had their moments in the scrimmage. Also keep an eye on Grayland Arnold, one of the better signees the Bears had (and kept) from the 2016 class. He is making a real move up the depth chart.
The Baylor defense is young, especially with Byron Bonds out. Without Bonds, the Bears just have 3 seniors starting, and 4 seniors on the whole 2-deep; Orion Stweart, Taion Sells, Aiavion Edwards, and Pat Levels. The rest of the two-deep is young and promising. The recruiting of the past few seasons is showing up, especially at the linebacker position. The Bears defense might have some lessons to learn early in the season, but this defense has a very high potential ceiling.
4. Oklahoma is the Big 12 title favorite, and rightfully so. The first and only Big 12 conference school to advance to the College Football Playoff in its short history, the Sooners bring back most of a dangerous offensive attack. With Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine leading the way, the Sooners have possibly the best quarterback and running back in the Big 12. After them, there is a large gap as TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, and West Virginia can all make a strong case for the 2nd through 5th spots in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs are the best bet, though they have questions at quarterback themselves.
5. Ranking the Big 12:
- Oklahoma State
- West Virginia
- Texas Tech
- Kansas State
- Iowa State