Midseason review: Baylor


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

The Bears' season began with a bang and an upset. Alone on college football's Friday night stage during the opening weekend, Baylor won a 50-48 thriller over TCU with a pair of comebacks and set the tone for its entire season. Baylor would be taken seriously. It has. That game helped make Robert Griffin III an ESPN "College GameDay" mainstay and the same for the Bears in the Top 25. The season's lone loss came on a fluky interception, Griffin's only pick of the season, that set up a game-winning field goal for Kansas State. The Wildcats won that game by a point and have slipped inside the top 20 since as one of three undefeated Big 12 teams remaining.

Phil Bennett's defense hasn't been outstanding, but it's been improving. The Bears have benefited while the offense has been better than ever. Baylor looks headed for an encore to its bowl game from last season, but the major question now is whether the Bears can top last season's seven-win campaign. The defense will still have to progress, but it isn't short on athletes. Tevin Elliott, Elliot Coffey and Ahmad Dixon have emerged as playmakers, and the future looks bright for the program.

Offensive MVP: Robert Griffin III, QB. Griffin is the Big 12's best offensive player through the first half of the season. RG3 has not only been slinging it, but slinging it with precision. He leads the nation in completion percentage (80.4) and touchdown passes (19) and looks headed for a career year that has him in the Heisman hunt. He's shattering the perception that he's a scrambler, but on Saturday Griffin recorded his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, and he has 280 yards rushing overall this year. Find me something he can't do better than almost any QB in the game.

Defensive MVP: Elliot Coffey, LB. The Bears' defense lacks a big-time standout, but it's getting contributions from a lot of places, and Coffey is the unit's leader. Coffey has made 33 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss and has broken up three passes.