No. 12 Baylor finally gets chance to get over loss
''If I had my choice I would have much rather been on the field,'' the senior quarterback said. ''Actually, I did not watch many games.''
The Bears (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) are still in a solid spot to win another Big 12 title if they get back to winning games. But they will need another big comeback to be a serious contender again for a spot in the first four-team College Football Playoff.
''It's hard sitting, so we're glad to be back in the hunt,'' coach Art Briles said. ''It was extremely hard without question, and still is.''
In their last home game Oct. 11, the Bears overcome a 21-point deficit in the final 11 minutes and had a game-ending field goal for a 61-58 victory over TCU. Baylor was then the Big 12's lone remaining undefeated team and ranked No. 4 in the AP poll, but followed with a 41-27 loss to the Mountaineers before the open date.
When the initial playoff rankings came out this week, the Bears were 13th, six spots behind TCU and four spots lower than Kansas State, the Big 12 leader. Baylor was the 11th one-loss team on the list behind the two undefeated teams at top - No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 2 Florida State, the defending national champion.
''I think there will be a lot of changes on the board,'' Briles said even before that poll was released. ''So it's kind of like preseason rankings to me, it's just happening in November. So like I said, the next five weeks will really tell the tale. Beat Kansas.''
Here are a few other things to watch when Baylor plays its 91st Homecoming game:
NOT ANY EASIER: While Clint Bowen has been Kansas' interim coach only three games since Charlie Weis was fired, he was on the Jayhawks coaching staff from 2000-09, then returned in 2012. So the defensive-minded Bowen has seen a lot of what Baylor's high-power offense has done over the years. That doesn't make it any easier. ''No, they keep adding things to it, and they're always kind of looking for new ways to push the envelope offensively,'' Bowen said. ''It doesn't really ever get any easier against them, and they know what they're doing.''
LOST LINEMEN: Baylor has lost its two most experienced starting offensive linemen to season-ending injuries. Guard Desmine Hillard was already done because of a wrist injury in the TCU game before right tackle Troy Baker tore an ACL in his knee in the West Virginia game. ''Losing Troy affects us a lot, because he was big factor in our running game as a fifth-year guy with experience,'' said Shock Linwood, the Big 12's leading rusher at 99.4 yards per game.
CAPTAIN HEENEY: Kansas senior linebacker Ben Heeney is the Big 12's leading tackler with 12 per game, with at least 10 tackles by halftime in each of the last two games. When the Jayhawks last played two weeks ago at Texas Tech, Heeney's 21 tackles (17 of them solo stops) were the most by a Big 12 player since 2011 and the most for a Kansas player since LeRoy Irvin Jr. had 21 in 1979. ''Heeney, No. 31, I think is a stud without question,'' Baylor coach Art Briles said.
BAD STREAKS: Kansas has lost 24 consecutive Big 12 road games since 2008, and the Jayhawks are 2-44 overall in league play since winning its 2009 opener against Iowa State. With a win over West Virginia last November, Kansas snapped a 27-game conference losing streak - only two shy of Baylor's record 29 Big 12 losses in a row, which came between wins over the Jayhawks in 1998 and 2002.
HOME COOKING: Baylor has won a school-record 13 consecutive home games, only one short of Auburn for the longest active streak - the Tigers on the road this weekend. The Bears have won 22 of their last 23 home games, best in the nation since 2011.
AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.