Quarterback Bryce Petty said the team didn’t have the swagger of a champion in its bowl game last season and still felt like an underdog.
Everyone else around the country is starting to figure it out, even if Baylor is taking its time. That list includes Oklahoma, who as humiliated by the Bears last season.
“We got beat last year. We got beat real bad, and that's an embarrassing thing,” cornerback Julian Wilson said. “It's always embarrassing when you've gone through a week like that.”
Oklahoma bounced back from that lost and never dropped another game, knocking off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. It was a wake-up call for the Sooners about Baylor and a little about themselves.
Nobody is fooled now as Oklahoma prepares for its top-20 matchup Saturday against the Bears, in a game that still has plenty of importance.
The memories of last year still prevail in most players’ minds, even if they try to classify it as “last year.”
“It was kinda an embarrassing loss,” tackle Daryl Williams said.
“They came out and just beat us in all aspects of the field,” linebacker Jordan Evans said.
If nothing else, it’s sure changed the perception of Baylor – even if some Texas players think differently.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said earlier this week that he has respect for every opponent Oklahoma plays, but the week of preparation against a team that consistently goes 1-11 or a team that is contending for a Big 12 championship.
Kansas gets less attention than . . . well . . . Baylor.
“That’s the obvious part that gets your attention, gets everybody’s attention,” he said. “So, it’s as simple as arithmetic.”
Baylor coach Art Briles, who took over the program in 2008, has made four bowl games with the Bears. Baylor made three in the 20 years prior to Briles’ arrival. Each of the past four seasons in Waco, Texas were better than all but one of the past two decades before Briles became the team’s head coach.
Briles’ leadership has put Baylor back on the national stage. All the victories don’t matter, but winning two of the past three against Oklahoma and four of the past five against Texas make the Bears a different program.
In the past four years, Baylor has beaten Texas three times by at least 20 points, and the Bears can fall back on a 29-pooint victory against the Sooners last season.
“We knew Baylor was good a team, but also knew we would hurt ourselves if we didn’t do the little things right,” Williams said, “We were our biggest enemies. If we eliminate the turnovers, if we focus more and we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we’re a good team.”
And now, so is Baylor.