Baylor will be guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 title with a win over Texas on Saturday. Though the 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State on Nov. 23 may go down as a sickening "what if" moment, especially considering Alabama's loss to Auburn, there's no denying the Bears have had a remarkable season.
Now, there's reason to believe Baylor will have high expectations in 2014 as well.
Bears junior quarterback Bryce Petty confirmed to reporters on Monday that he plans to return for his senior season. From Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News:
RT @RicardoLeCompte: Baylor QB Bryce Petty on possibly leaving early for NFL - "I will definitely be back next year"— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) December 2, 2013
Of course, you can only take a player's word so far—especially if millions of dollars are at stake. Plenty of players say they'll be back for another season and end up leaving for the NFL draft early after catching wind of what awaits.
However, Petty staying another year seems likely. It would be a smart move, too. He's only started one full season, and quarterback is one spot where a player can help himself tremendously with more reps. Now that head coach Art Briles has signed an extension, Petty can continue to develop under one of the best coaches in the country.
Petty could leave for the NFL, but he's always struck me as a guy who understands the biggest indicator of NFL success is career starts.— David Ubben (@davidubben) December 2, 2013
With Petty claiming he'll return, Baylor fans should be excited about next season. The question will be whether Petty will have the same production from the supporting cast. Receiver Tevin Reese and running back Glasco Martin are seniors. Baylor's senior-laden offensive line will look different next year as well.
It's also possible that receiver Antwan Goodley and running back Lache Seastrunk depart for the NFL. In short, you're talking about a lot of turnover for an offense that is based on tempo and timing.
But, thanks to early-season blowouts, the Bears have played plenty of backups and depth isn't an issue. If Petty picks up where he left off in 2013—he knows the offense like the back of his hand—Baylor's offense should be potent again.
Not to mention Petty will be on the Heisman short list.
Petty will be on the Heisman shortlist entering 2014 and Baylor will have another chance to contend for the Big 12 title.— David Ubben (@davidubben) December 2, 2013
Whether a Big 12 championship will be in the cards for the Bears next season remains to be seen, but if Petty does in fact return, they'll be one of the favorites once the season starts.