Inspired by our friends at the Big East blog, we'll take a look back at what we thought the best and worst case scenarios for each team were in August, and how it shook out now that January has arrived.
Best case: 8-4, with losses to TCU, Texas ("I don't see any way Baylor can win that game," said David Ubben. Whoops.), Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Finish with an appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl, Texas Bowl or TicketCity Bowl.
Worst case: Robert Griffin III is never the same after a knee injury, and/or gets re-injured and Baylor flounders to a 2-10 step backward after going 4-8 in 2009. Only wins come over Sam Houston State and Rice.
Reality: Baylor started its season 7-2 and shocked everybody by sitting alone atop the Big 12 South entering November. The Bears wouldn't notch another win, and finished 7-6 with a loss to Illinois in the Texas Bowl.
Analysis: My pick for Baylor when the season began was a 6-6 finish, plus a win in their bowl game, but I'd say this was pretty close. For the Bears, it was a huge accomplishment to break the bowl drought and, if nothing else, give its players a chance to drink in the bowl experience. They'll build on it in the future, and should be better in 2011. They'll have a new defensive coordinator, Phil Bennett, formerly of Pittsburgh, which should help. Offensively, the Bears were better than almost anyone could have expected, but poor defensive performances against Texas Tech and Texas A&M kept the Bears from achieving even more. Art Briles has the program headed in the right direction, and that should continue with another bowl berth in 2011.