Baylor University

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Sitting on the steps of the Big 12 conference cellar last season at 4-8 overall and 2-6 in conference games was the Baylor University Bears. The good news for fans was that in every game they won it was by a margin of at least 20 points.

The bad news being the best team they beat was the 4-8 Texas A&M Aggies. Their wins were against a compiled record of 8-29 with the three Division I schools and a victory against Division II Northwestern State. The season did end on a somewhat positive note however, when they faced number 7 Texas Tech and only lost by 7 points, 35-28.

However, despite the heart breaking performance of last year, the Waco, Tax based Bears are hopeful for next season. Baylor coach Art Briles said, "We're extremely pumped about the 2009 signing class. This is a heck of a class with good football players across the board. Our coaching staff hustled and pushed through and stayed in contact with recruits until the end, and that really saved us. We worked very hard to get these players." Baylor has signed four four-star players over the last seven years, and according to the Waco Tribune, they brought in 3 with this class.

The Bears, who badly needed Offensive Linemen, recruited seven in this off season, including Ivory Wade of Dickinson, Texas and Danny Watkins a Junior College transfer from Oroville, Ca. Wade was set to go to the Texas A&M Aggies, but changed his mind to go to Baylor. Briles stated, "We feel like this is probably the best offensive line class we've ever been associated with. All those guys got offers from multiple schools." The limit for recruiting is 25, and Briles actually announced 29; however, one had already enrolled in December and three others could be "grey-shirted" and brought into school in January, thus counting toward next year's class.

The entire Baylor organization is eager for the new season to start. The Bears recently began their spring practices in their brand new $12.1 million on campus facility, with players lined up almost like kids waiting for presents on Christmas day. They see a bowl berth this season and there's no way anyone can change their minds. "It's something that we're destined to do. We feel like that's our purpose right now, and that's our passion. So that's what we are fighting to bring to reality for Baylor and for the guys that are playing now and that played before us," says coach Briles. Baylor had a shot at a bowl game last year, but they lost two 3 point games and the 7 point loss to Texas Tech, and the Bears use this memory as fuel.

Baylor University looks to be heading in the right direction and had a good recruiting season. It will take time for this young but talented group to learn to work together, but Baylor has high hopes of becoming a Big 12 contender. With many players changing commitments to go to Baylor, including five that changed their minds from other Big 12 schools, Baylor just may have a shot.

Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on tv and attending the games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of college football. Check out his Baylor Gear or his Florida State Store

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