Did you know: Baylor is playing its final season at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2012. Texas is 29-15-2 all-time against Baylor when playing in Waco, but only 19-12 since the stadium opened in 1950.
What to watch
Heisman hopeful: Is Lache Seastrunk a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate? What the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year did in BU’s final six games last year (831 yards, 6 TDs) was phenomenal. Multiply out those six-game rushing stats over 13 games and you’re talking about an 1,800-yard rusher. The workload will increase in 2013, and having RB Glasco Martin back to keep Seastrunk fresh could be a big help to his trophy hopes.
Well-rested: Here are the first five weeks of Baylor’s 2013 season: Wofford, Buffalo, bye, Louisiana-Monroe, bye. Yeah, I’d say the Bears will be well-rested going into Big 12 play. They’ll need that full tank of gas: The Bears face Texas following back-to-back road trips to Oklahoma State and TCU, two of the league’s best. That’s one rough finish.
New talent: Baylor could get a nice infusion of new talent this fall from three transfers: junior college TE Gus Penning, former Penn State DE Shawn Oakman and prep school enrollee LB Brian Nance, a four-star prospect in 2012. The Bears also have two elite freshmen worth keeping an eye on: WR Robbie Rhodes and DT Andrew Billings. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.
View from the other side: John Werner, Baylor beat writer for the Waco Tribune-Herald
HN: Texas comes to town for Baylor’s final home game at Floyd Casey Stadium. What do you think that day is going to mean to Bears fans?
Werner: It's going to be an emotional day for Baylor. The Bears will be wearing throwback uniforms, and the game will obviously mean a lot to them since it's the last at Floyd Casey Stadium. Since it's the final regular season game, a lot will probably be riding on it.
HN: Lache Seastrunk didn’t really get on a roll in 2012 until two games after Texas beat Baylor. Knowing how poor the Longhorn run D was last season, think he ends up being the key to this year’s matchup?
Werner: Seastrunk could very well be the key to the game, but don't overlook Glasco Martin. Though Seastrunk has received the lion's share of the publicity, the two backs will share carries this year. They could both go over 1,000 yards this season.
HN: Bryce Petty should have plenty of experience by the time Texas comes to Waco. What are reasonable expectations for his first season as starter?
Werner: Art Briles' offense is geared for quarterback success. Petty is a big, strong-armed kid who can throw any kind of pass and he's knowledgeable since he's in his fourth year in Briles' system. He's got plenty of offensive weapons around him, so he won't have to feel like he has to carry the team.
HN: Baylor’s defense has given up 37.2 ppg in each of the past 2 seasons. Why should they expect improvement in 2013?
Werner: The Baylor defense showed great improvement in the latter half of last season, forcing a lot of key turnovers, and should continue that trend. Eight starters return and they've got some guys back from injuries. Some of the young guys look very athletic especially defensive ends Shawn Oakman and Jamal Palmer.
HN: Four of the Bears’ final five regular season games are Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State, at TCU and then Texas. But they could be 7-0 by then. What effect do you see that schedule playing?
Werner: The Bears really need to take advantage of the early schedule to put themselves in position for a great season. They've finished strong the last two years which should give them some confidence entering the final month.