Bears bound for Alamo

December 13, 2011
Alamo Bowl

After going 9-3 in the regular season -- Baylor football's first nine-win season since 1986 -- the Bears earned a chance at getting win No. 10 in San Antonio. Baylor, ranked 12th in the BCS and 15th in the AP poll, was set to face Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 as this issue went to press. The selection gives the Bears back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 1991-92.

Baylor concluded its most successful regular-season since 1986 by compiling nine wins, including three over teams that finished in the BCS top 25 (Oklahoma, TCU and Texas). With a 6-3 conference record, the Bears finished third in the Big 12, the team's best finish since the league began in 1996.

Briles' Bears feature an explosive offense ranked second nationally in yards per game (571) and sixth in points per game (43.5) that boasts the Big 12's most prolific passer (Robert Griffin III), rusher (Terrance Ganaway) and receiver (Kendall Wright) this season.

Heisman winner Griffin, a junior, leads an offense that has set or tied 53 individual and team records. Ganaway leads the Big 12 and is 14th nationally with 1,347 rushing yards; the senior running back set new Baylor records for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in a season. Wright, another senior, ranks second nationally in receiving yards and holds Baylor single-season and career marks for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and all-purpose yards.

The Bears will face a Washington team that finished 7-5 in the regular season, 5-4 in the Pac-12, good for third in its division. The Huskies are led by All-Pac 12 First-Team running back Chris Polk, who has posted his third straight 1,000-yard season with 1,341 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011.

Notes: An Alamo Bowl win would give Baylor the second 10-win season in program history, matching the 1980 Southwest Conference championship squad. ... The Bears' success this season has come while facing the nation's eighth-toughest schedule. ... Baylor has been ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for 11 weeks this season, the most since being ranked 12 weeks in 1951. ... The Bears carry a five-game winning streak into the bowl, the team's longest since 1991.