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Baylor kicks off camp with eye on national championship

Baylor's Shawn Oakman wants to impress the playoff committee enough so the Bears' playoff selection won't be in doubt in 2015. Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

WACO, Texas — Last season, Baylor went 11-1 and won the Big 12 title for a second straight year.

But in their final rankings, the College Football Playoff Committee slid in Big Ten champ Ohio State over Baylor.

The Bears — who opened up fall camp Thursday — don’t want to leave their playoff hopes up to chance this time around.

“We don’t want to give the committee a choice,” said preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Shawn Oakman.

By going 12-0 during the regular season, Baylor would do just that. And given the massive expectations surrounding a squad with 17 returning starters, anything short of that would be a disappointment.

“Our expectations and goals have been set,” said All-American left tackle Spencer Drango. “Ultimately, the final goal is not just to get in the playoffs, but get in the last game and win it.”

Coach Art Briles acknowledged those lofty goals and expectations. But he also pointed out that the Bears won't go undefeated if they overlook anyone.

"We expect to be there," Briles said. "But we also understand that it's a process we have to go through and be great week in, week out. Because people are expecting us to be there. Every time we’re lining up to play somebody, we’re their game. You can ask the people on our schedule, what’s the one game — if you get to them to be honest, to put their hand on the Bible — they’d say, we’d like to come on top against the Baylor Bears.

"That's the thing that motivates us and inspires us."