Midseason review: Baylor

Baylor Bears

Record: 4-2 (1-1 Big 12)

The goal for Baylor is clear: Bowl or bust. Through six games, the Bears are right on track for the former, even with a tough loss to Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. The Bears were dominant in their first three wins and dominated in their first loss to TCU, but crunch time for the Bears is right now. They travel to Colorado on Saturday and host Kansas State next weekend for two very winnable games, two games that would officially give the Bears bowl eligibility. Drop either game, and the Bears would have to steal an upset on a four-game gauntlet of Big 12 South teams (at Texas, at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma), four games which should all feature Baylor in a clear underdog role. The Bears beat Texas A&M solidly in Waco, 41-21, the last time the two teams played and Baylor had Robert Griffin. The Bears have a much-improved defense that ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring defense. To knock off Colorado and Kansas State and relieve some of the pressure down the stretch, they'll have to continue that.

Offensive MVP: QB Robert Griffin – Griffin has returned and been better than ever, and is a dark-horse candidate as Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. He's set career highs in two consecutive weeks with 380 and 384 passing yards and has shown off an improved deep ball, throwing touchdowns of 34 and 62 yards against Texas Tech. He's also run for 239 yards on 55 carries, including a 30-yard touchdown among his six scores on the ground. Griffin is every bit the franchise player he once was, maturing as a passer and refining his skills through the air, while still possessing the elusiveness and speed that garnered him so much attention as a freshman.

Defensive MVP: DE Tevin Elliott – Baylor has discovered a star in the freshman defensive end, who already has five sacks and seven tackles for loss in his first five games on the field. He has 20 tackles and has also forced a fumble and broken up a pair of passes. Linebacker Antonio Johnson and safety Byron Landor, who's earning a reputation as one of the conference's hardest hitters, also deserve mention as key contributors on a unit that's helped Baylor get off to a hot start early. In the four wins this year, the defense has given up just two touchdowns.