| The File On |
A private Baptist-affiliated research university founded in 1845. It is the largest Baptist university in the world. Named in honor of Judge R. E. B. Baylor
THE DR. PEPPER CONNECTION:
RULES OF THE ROAD:
He did, however, go out on a limb with this one: "I think we'll have a great crowd and a great atmosphere Saturday."
At least Briles didn't refer to himself in the third person.
Rest assured, though, Briles is skilled at more than handling questions without really saying anything. At Houston, where he was the head man before taking the Baylor job last November, he guided a program that was lower than low and proceeded to earn four bowl invitations in five seasons.
His challenge this season won't be easy. The Bears, who opened with a 41-13 pounding at the hands of then-No. 23-ranked Wake Forest, have the fifth-toughest schedule in the land, according to ESPN.com. Eight opponents this season participated in bowl games last season. Three of them are currently in the top 10: Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.
The only gimme on the schedule, tiny Northwestern State, was dispatched by the Bears 51-6 this past weekend. The win ended a nine-game Baylor losing streak. The margin of victory was the team's largest since 1989.
History may be on the side of the Bears this weekend. In 39 career meetings with schools who now comprise the Big 12, WSU is 12-26. However, WSU has won three of its last five, beating Colorado (47-26) and Texas (28-20) in 2003, and Baylor (17-15) in 2006. The losses were to Oklahoma State two weeks ago, and to Colorado at Qwest in 2004.
NOTABLE BEAR NOTES:
• Coach Briles has a penchant for giving his players nicknames. Virtually every player on the Bears' roster has one. Some came to Baylor with their nickname, and some have been given nicknames by Briles. Among the Briles-given monikers are are: Shazam (QB Blake Szymanski), Romeo (IR Romie Blaylock), All-Star (PK Ben Parks), Diego (BS Larry Washington), Motown (RB Jeremy Sanders), J-Willy (S Jeremy Williams), Yosemite Sam or Yo-Yo (RB Ray Sims).
• Baylor is a 2 ½-point underdog against the Cougars. Kickoff is set for 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time. The game will be televised on FSN, will Bill Land and Dave Lapham calling the action. The Village Pub in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood will be welcoming Coug fans with $5 drink and food specials, plus their 28 flat screens tuned in to the Cougs.
• Be sure to check out KJR Radio's one-hour weekly Cougar podcast preview, hosted by Jason Pucket. The show goes on line at http://kjram.com/pages/cougars_page.html every Wednesday at midnight.
• WSU senior middle linebacker Greg Trent, with five tackles against California, is now one stop away from becoming only the 17th player in WSU history to record 250 career tackles. Trent, who has made 26 straight starts, is on track to conclude the season somewhere in Billy Newman territory (325 career tackles). WSU's all-time leader, with 524 tackles, is Lee Blakeney.
• In 2006 against Baylor, Gary Rogers came off the bench to guide the Cougs to a three-play, 34-yard scoring drive capped by a 13-yard aerial to Jason Hill.
THE BEAR-COUG SERIES:
WSU and Baylor have played five times. Baylor leads 3-2. The last meeting was at Qwest Field in 2006. The Cougars won, 17-15, on a last-second Loren Langley field goal. Prior to that, the nearest meeting of the two was in the 1994 Alamo Bowl, which the Cougars won 10-3 thanks to the Palouse Posse defense of Ron Childs, DeWayne Patterson, John Rushing, et. al. That game marked Baylor's last bowl appearance.