Top 25 playoff teams: Baylor

Art Briles leads a speedy, confident group looking to repeat as Big 12 champs

Updated: June 12, 2014, 10:48 AM ET
By Travis Haney | ESPN Insider

From May 27 to July 3, Insider's college football experts will preview the season for the 25 teams with the best chances of making the inaugural College Football Playoff, based on Brian Fremeau's post-spring projections. This is the entry for the Baylor Bears.

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Fremeau's Projection

Projected finish: 9-3 (6-3)
Chance of making playoff: 8 percent
Chance of winning Big 12: 11 percent
Toughest games: Oct. 4 at Texas (53 percent chance of winning), Nov. 8 at Oklahoma (21 percent), Nov. 22 vs. Oklahoma State (52 percent)


Why they'll make the playoff

1. So much speed

Art Briles has predicated his program on the principle of speed, upping the number of snaps per game and relying on individuals with wheels at the skill spots. That plan is working, as evidenced by the quality depth on Baylor's roster -- and the team's win totals.

As an illustration, Briles has been telling me for more than a year about Baylor's 2014 receiver class. But here's the thing about that: Because of how loaded the Bears are at wideout, there's a chance none of the newcomers will play meaningful roles this coming fall.

It's no coincidence that Baylor seems to keep replacing a speedy stud receiver or running back with another. The future is already on campus, waiting for a turn.

This year's example, at running back: Lache Seastrunk (7.6 yards per carry, 18 total touchdowns the past two seasons) is out, and Shock Linwood (6.9 YPC, 8 TDs last season) and Devin Chafin (5.8 YPC, 4 TDs) are in. Antwan Goodley was that next-man-up at receiver a year ago. After a 1,339-yard, 13-touchdown breakout season, he's back and in play for Biletnikoff and All-America consideration in 2014.

• Joined ESPN as Insider's national college football writer in April 2012
• Previously wrote for The Oklahoman and The Post and Courier