Published February 05, 2015
Baylor coach Art Briles smiled when someone started to ask about quarterback Bryce Petty's subpar game.
As for the No. 5 Bears having to depend on their running game, needing some big special teams plays and scoring only half their previous season average in a grind-it-out 28-7 win at Texas, that doesn't bother Briles, either.
"I know that all that's good talk about the points and everything, but we've been slowed down before," Briles said Monday. "It's not a deal to where we're like something's wrong. Everything's OK as long as you're winning."
Unlike so many other ranked teams, Baylor (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) survived the weekend of upsets and is now the Big 12's highest-ranked team going into Saturday's home game against No. 9 TCU (4-0, 1-0).
The Horned Frogs pulled off one of those upsets last weekend, 37-33 at home against then-No. 4 Oklahoma. They moved up 16 spots in the poll, setting up only the second top-10 matchup ever in Waco. The other was Baylor losing to Texas A&M 19-13 in 1956.
Only Michigan State has had a bigger jump in the history of The Associated Press rankings, improving 17 spots from No. 19 to No. 2 on Oct. 2, 1950.
On the second Saturday in October, when Texas and No. 11 Oklahoma play their traditional game at the State Fair of Texas, the Red River Rivalry won't even be the biggest game in Texas. The third game ever at Baylor's new on-campus stadium along the Brazos River, about 100 miles south of the State Fair of Texas, will leave the Big 12 with only one undefeated team halfway through the first season with the first four-team College Football Playoff.
Briles still isn't putting too much into the Bears' standing, even though they are in a prime position if they keep winning. The three teams directly ahead of them in the poll — No. 2 Auburn and Nos. 3 Ole Miss and Mississippi State — all still have head-to-head matchups left.
"It just means we've done OK up to this point," the coach said. "We've got to play well against a really good TCU football team."
Baylor's series with TCU dates to 1899, the Bears' first season of football and when both private schools were located in Waco. They were later Southwest Conference rivals, and became league foes again in 2012 after the Frogs joined the Big 12. The series is tied 51-51-7, and they have split the two Big 12 games with both winning on the road.
The Bears have a 12-game home winning streak since losing to TCU at their old stadium in October 2012.
At Texas on Saturday, reigning Big 12 offensive player of the year Petty was 7-of-22 passing for 111 yards. Shock Linwood ran 28 times for 148 yards with a 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Petty did throw two touchdowns after halftime, the first making it 14-0 only three plays after punter Spencer Roth ran 19 yards on a fake punt he called on his own. Until that point, the only Baylor score was Terrell Burt's 62-yard return of a blocked field goal.
"You just play as well as you can as long as you can, and then when you get in the situations where things may not be smoothly as they were previously, find a way to win," Briles said. "That's kind of what we tried to achieve Saturday, and Bryce, I thought did a great job of engineering touchdown drives when we needed them to win the football game."