WACO, Texas — Baylor coach Art Briles acknowledges that this week is a big game for his undefeated and third-ranked Bears.
They just happen to be playing at No. 11 Oklahoma State, the preseason Big 12 favorite that has won six straight games to get back in the thick of the title chase.
“It doesn’t matter whatever team that Oklahoma State was playing this week or Baylor was playing this week,” Briles said Monday. “It was going to be a big game because of what they’ve done up through the season and what we’ve done up through this season. It just happens to be we’re playing.”
With an offense on pace to set major college records at 61 points and 685 yards a game, the Bears (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) are riding a school-best 13-game winning streak, have matched their highest-ever AP ranking and fourth in the BCS standings.
Yet Briles, the Texas-born coach whose whole career has been spent in the Lone Star State, keeps the same even tone that he has throughout his six seasons at Baylor.
“It’s huge. That mentality trickles down to us. You can’t make any game bigger than any of the others,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “You have to treat each game as it’s a one-game season, as it’s just a normal day. So that kind of confidence is what makes us play at such a high level.”
The Bears have gotten themselves in position to win their first Big 12 title, still facing a pair of potential title-deciding games in the last three weeks.
Baylor hasn’t won an outright league title since Mike Singletary was a linebacker in 1980 for a Southwest Conference title team. The Bears shared the SWC title in 1994, only because unbeaten Texas A&M was ineligible and they were among five teams with 4-3 SWC marks.