Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty completed a career-high 34 passes for 412 yards, halfback Shock Linwood added 91 yards on the ground, and Baylor wrapped up a second consecutive Big 12 title with a 38-27 win over No. 9 Kansas State Saturday night in Waco. The Bears jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and never truly looked threatened by the Wildcats.
The win gives Baylor their second consecutive 11-win season and third 10-win season in the last four years, both new records for a program that had been a Big 12 doormat before coach Art Briles arrived.
Three Things We Learned
1. Baylor's in the barn. The Bears entered Saturday hoping for chaos, or at least a little assistance from above. But Alabama, Oregon, TCU and Ohio State -- all ranked ahead of Baylor in the most recent College Football Playoff poll -- held serve impressively. Yes, Baylor's opponent was ranked higher than all others save Oregon, and yes, the Bears hold a head-to-head victory over No. 3 TCU. But whether that head-to-head win is enough to trump TCU's better non-conference schedule or Ohio State's brand name is anyone's guess. The easy part is done. Now it's just Baylor holding its collective breath for one more night.
For more on the scenarios for Baylor, TCU and everyone else, read our playoff predictions.
2. Kansas State is who we thought they were. The Wildcats finish the season 9-3 and 7-2 in the Big 12, another successful season for legendary coach Bill Snyder. But Kansas State played three opponents who will likely be ranked in the final Top 25 poll -- Auburn, TCU and Baylor -- and lost all three. Snyder adjusted to his personnel and put together another top offense, albeit largely based on throwing the ball this time, and a top-20 defense. Nevertheless, Kansas State ends the season third in the Big 12, on a tier by itself.
3. Bryce Petty, heartbreaker. If he hadn't thrown for 4,200 yards last year, is there any doubt that Petty would be going to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony? Petty went 34-of-40 for 412 yards and a touchdown, setting a career-high for the number of completions in a game. He finishes his final regular season at Baylor with 3,305 yards, a 62 percent completion rate, and 26 touchdowns against just 6 interceptions for a team that could well find itself in the College Football Playoff. Yes, all of those numbers are lower than they were last season, but they are also among the best in college football. Regardless of whether it ends in the Playoff, it's been a heck of a career for The Guy Who Replaced Robert Griffin III.