The No. 4kicked off their 11-win 2014 season with a 45-0 demolition of the , and will look to deliver a similar result to start the 2015 season.
According to OddsShark, Baylor enters as a 37-point favorite over the Mustangs after SMU finished with a 1-11 record in 2014. That's despite two of Baylor's best players being suspendedu-mustangs-2015/2015/9/3/9259777/report-baylor-de-shawn-oakman-and-s-orion-stewart-suspended-for-smu. With a new head coach in Chad Morris, the Mustangs really have nowhere to go but up and have a legitimately strong offensive line that could help the team avoid getting shutout like it did a year ago.
Still, rebuilding a program from the ground up takes time and SMU has its hands full with a national powerhouse like Baylor making the short trip north from Waco to Dallas.
Baylor dropped an October game to West Virginia, 41-27, but were otherwise perfect in the regular season, even edging TCU in a 61-58 shootout. But with no championship game in the Big 12, Baylor and TCU were left on the outside looking in on the. Baylor instead lost to Michigan State, 42-41, in the Classic.
While replacingis a big challenge for the Bears, the team returns one of the most tremendous wide receivers corps in the nation, led by K.D. Cannon and . This means the opening game should be little more than a tune-up for a legitimate national title contender.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: Friday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN (Dave Flemming,, Allison Williams)
Radio: KRZI 1660 AM (Baylor), KTCK 1330 AM (SMU)
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Three big things to know
- Baylor lost to Michigan State by one point in the Cotton Bowl, but narrowly edged the Spartans for the No. 4 spot in the first AP Poll of the year. Beating SMU likely wouldn't be enough to move up in the polls if Ohio State, TCU and Alabama all hold serve in the first college football weekend of the year.
- Friday night will represent the 81st game between Baylor and SMU, with the Bears holding a 37-36-7 advantage all-time. The first-ever meeting was in 1917 when Baylor defeated SMU, 61-0, but the Mustangs went on to take a significant lead in the all-time series. However, an 11-game win streak for the Bears dating back nearly three decades gave the lead back to Baylor.
- is the man leading the way for the Baylor offense now, but he enters his redshirt junior year with a decent amount of experience. He played in 15 games over the last two seasons and started against Northwestern State when Petty went down with an injury, tossing five touchdowns in the first half against the Demons before heading to the bench for the second half.