2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 50 Baylor Bears
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Baylor Bears
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No. 50: Baylor Bears
Baylor Bears Prespring Status
The dust hasn’t totally settled yet from the abhorrent scandal that plagued the Baylor program, but at the very least, the Bears have their head coach in Matt Rhule, and they should be able to move forward as a football program – as trivial as that might be by comparison to the school’s issues. Last year’s team went through the motions, especially over the second half of the season, before ripping up Boise State in a game that showed just how good the program and team could’ve and should’ve been under Jim Grobe.
Now it’s up to Rhule to steady the ship and put his style in place, while also keeping the high-powered passing game rolling. He gets back eight starters on offense, including almost everyone on the line, and seven returning to a defense that was good early, and rocky late.
Baylor Bears Biggest Issue
Are the receivers in place? Baylor has become a factory for devastating downfield playmakers, but it still stinks to lose KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora – who combined for 150 catches for 2,124 yards and 21 touchdowns. Just about everyone else is back in the receiving corps, and it should be explosive, but the stars have to shine right away.
Baylor Bears Biggest Positive
The running game should be terrific. Rhule will want the O to go on the ground first, and it’ll start with Terence Williams, who ran for 1,048 yards and 11 scores, and with JaMycal Hasty a good-looking No. 2 option. QB Zach Smith didn’t run much last year, but Arizona transfer Anu Solomon can take off when needed – if and when he gets in the mix. Star C Kyle Fuller might be gone, but the other four starters return up front.
Really, Why Are The Baylor Bears Ranked Here?
The team itself – again, forgetting everything going on with the rest of the school, for a moment – should be better, and it should be able to chart a path going forward now that the 2016 holding pattern is over. There might have been some key losses in recruiting, and this isn’t going to be the Baylor team on the field like it was in the Art Briles era, but Rhule is a good one who should be able to put together a solid season that shouldn’t be as flaky. But give it a year of rebuilding and reloading under the new guy.