2012 Program Preview - Baylor

Pretty sure that's just RGIII with a wig. (Photo by Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE)

No RGIII, no problem. Okay, maybe it's not that simple.

Full marks should go to Art Briles though. Since the dissolution of the Southwestern Conference (sadface), Baylor had struggled to find any respectable level of success for more than a decade. From 1996 to 2009, their best season was a paltry 5-6 finish in 2005. In comes Briles and the aforementioned Robert Griffin III, and Baylor found its best run since the mid-80s.

Post-Heisman garnering headlines, Baylor is still a solid team. Handling this transition, though, may be Briles' toughest task to date.

After the jump, the prospects worth noting as well as some games and matchups to pencil into your calendar.

References

Our Daily Bears (SB Nation Baylor community), SB Nation team page, official team site, Bill Connelly's preview for SBN, CBS Sports preview

Notable offensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
Terrance Williams WR RS Sr. 2
Darryl Stonum
WR RS Sr. 7
Ivory Wade
C Sr. UD
Lanear Sampson
WR RS Sr. UD
Cameron Kaufhold
OL RS Sr. UD
Cyril Richardson
OT RS Jr. 2
Jordan Najvar TE RS Jr. UD
Tevin Reese
WR RS Jr. UD


Notable defensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
K.J. Morton
CB Jr. 5
Ahmad Dixon
OLB Jr. 6


Summary

Despite losing Kendall Wright to the draft, Baylor returns a stable of quality wide receivers. While Terrance Williams is the standout among that group, I think Cyril Richardson may be the best prospect on the team.

Key games

TCU (home) - Week 7 (Sat., Oct. 13 - TBD)

This is a vital sandwich game. Preceded by two away games and followed by another pair, Baylor needs to pick up this home win against a top 25 Horned Frogs team. With West Virginia and Texas on both sides of this game, this might be the only winnable game in that three-game stretch.

Oklahoma State (home) - Week 14 (Sat., Dec. 1 - TBD)

Baylor finishes their season with a three-game homestand capped with this contest against a team that's also dealing with the loss of their star QB and WR. The difference is that Oklahoma State's defense is of a much higher caliber than Baylor's. Come season's end, if the Bears have avoided notable injuries and have developed some chemistry on the defensive side coalescing around the strength of their cornerbacks, they might be able to reach another decent bowl game with a win here.

Key matchups

WR Terrance Williams v. Texas CB Carrington Byndom, Week 8 - Sat., Oct. 20

This is a solid matchup between what I see as two day 2 prospects. Strangely, I saw Williams play in high school (he went to school two blocks from where I grew up). I didn't pay a ton of attention to him at the time, as I was there moreso to watch the team they were playing (Skyline) . I miss Texas football.

QB Nick Florence v. Oklahoma CBs Demontre Hurst & Aaron Colvin, Week 11 - Sat., Nov. 10

Replacing a Heisman-winning, program-elevating quarterback of RGIII's caliber is tough. Having filled in for him as a freshman back in 2009, there's some experience in following in Griffin's wake. He'll have three soft games to open the season, and he'll need them given the next three -- West Virginia, TCU & Texas. By the time Oklahoma comes around, he'll have faced some quality opponents. If he's been able to develop some chemistry with his WRs and hit a hot streak come November, Baylor might just be able to sneak out of Norman with a win.

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