Potential Bowl Opponent: Baylor

Robert Griffin III gets the headlines, but Baylor's explosive offense is more than just the star quarterback.

With the Golden Bears all but assured of a Holiday Bow berth, Cal Sports Digest will examine the three likeliest opponents the team will face on Dec. 28 in San Diego, continuing today with Baylor.

Initial Thought: The Bears are more than a one-man band.

It's hard not to look at the highlight reels or gaudy statistics that center around quarterback Robert Griffin III and think of the Bears in just those terms. The redshirt junior has thrown for 34 touchdowns and run for another seven scores, with his regular season finale at Texas still to come.

Griffin has put himself in the thick of the Heisman Trophy discussion and Baylor still has a shot at a 10-win campaign.

But he has a terrific ground game led by Terrance Ganaway and top receiver in Kendall Wright to keep the Baylor offense balanced and explosive. The team ranks second nationally in total offense, sixth in scoring.

Now if Griffin could play defense too, then maybe he would be leading the Heisman race. The Bears have allowed 30 or more points in nine games this season.

X-factor: Running back Terrance Ganaway

A non-factor in his first two seasons in Waco, the transfer from Houston has exploded as a senior. Ganaway has established himself as that rarest of breeds in the upper levels of football, a workhorse.

He is averaging almost 19 carries a game and toted the ball 42 times for 246 yards and two touchdowns as Baylor rolled up 66 on hapless Texas Tech.

A bruiser, he offers defensive coordinators a difficult choice: spread the field to defend Griffin III's aerial antics and risk being gashed right up the middle or load up on the run and be taken advantage of in play-action.

Shutting down Ganaway won't shut down Baylor's offense, but it will be a critical start for whomever they draw in the postseason.

Why Cal would win: The Golden Bears front seven is able to frustrate Griffin III and company just enough, allowing Cal to exploit the beyond vulnerable Baylor defense. Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones run wild through a secondary allowing 271 yards per game.

Why Cal would lose: Baylor does its best Oregon impression, only with Griffin III's precision passing opening up the ground game instead of the other way around. That balance keeps Cal off-balance, neutralizing its fine duo of inside linebackers. Quarterback Zach Maynard tries to do too much in an attempt to keep up and throws a couple interceptions, taking running back Isi Sofele out of the game.

Initial Prediction: Baylor 41, Cal 38

BearTerritory.net Top Stories