ARLINGTON, Texas — Baylor keeps passing tests and changing perceptions about if the high-scoring Bears are for real.
A day after overcoming their first double-digit deficit of the season, and turning that into yet another lopsided victory to stay undefeated, the Big 12-leading Bears moved up a spot to third in the new Associated Press poll Sunday. That matches the highest ranking ever.
The Bears (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) jumped ahead of Ohio State (10-0), which on Saturday matched a school record with its 22nd win in a row, 60-35 over Illinois. Two-time defending national champion Alabama and Florida State, both 10-0, stayed in the top two spots.
After a 6-0 start in 1953, Baylor was third in the AP poll for a two-week stretch before losing three of its last four games.
Coach Art Briles and Baylor extended its school-record winning streak to 13 with a 63-34 victory over Texas Tech, which had jumped ahead 14-0 in the first 8 minutes and scored touchdowns on its first three drives Saturday night at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium.
“The impressive part is we took a couple shots, and then we dodged a bunch, next thing you knew it was a fight and we were actually in it,” Briles said. “As you get deeper on in, you’re going to have more games that could very easily fall that way.”
How right Briles is.
Baylor plays next Saturday night at No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-1, 6-1), the preseason Big 12 favorite that has now won six in a row. The Cowboys are coming off a 38-13 win at Texas (7-3, 6-1), another Big 12 contender the Bears still have to play.
“This is a special team and I knew it from the get-go. We like these games,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “It’s these kinds of games that you want to fight with your brothers and win together.”
While the AP media poll is not factored into the Bowl Championship Series, Baylor is expected to move up in the new BCS standings later Sunday. They were fifth last week, a spot behind Stanford, now a two-loss team after a 20-17 setback at Southern California on Saturday night.