Despite being an inaugural member of the Big 12 in 1996, Baylor's football team didn't make its first bowl appearance as a conference member until last season, when Art Briles coached the Bears to a 7-6 record and a Texas Bowl appearance.
Baylor goes for its sixth win, and bowl eligibility for the second straight season, in a game with the hapless Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. Turner Gill's team is 0-6 in Big 12 play and haven't won a game in over two months.
In a welcome turnaround for a school that had become the Vanderbilt of the Big 12, the Bears are -20 road favorites in Lawrence.
Baylor started the season strong, with star junior QB Robert Griffin III inserting himself into the Heisman Trophy race. But they didn't have the talent throughout the depth chart to stay with more established programs like Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
That's why their second-half comeback win last week against Missouri, another second-tier Big 12 program, was so huge. The Bears took care of a team they were supposed to beat, and now don't have to depend on beating Texas, Texas Tech or Oklahoma to become bowl eligible.
With Griffin at the helm, completing 76.4% of his passes and throwing 24 TD's to only 6 INT's this season, and big play threats at WR (senior Kendall Wright) and RB (senior Terrance Ganaway), Baylor's explosive offense could have a huge day against a Jayhawk defense that's given up 45.4 points a game, 119th in the country.
The Bears defense has been what's let them down in Big 12 play, but they should have an easier time against a Kansas offense that scores only 24.6 points a game, 83rd in the country.
The odds-makers clearly expect Baylor to have no trouble moving the ball, as they set the over/under for Saturday's game at 73.5
The game will be streamed live at 12 PM Central on Kansas' website and can be heard on ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM in Waco and 630 AM in Dallas.
For more news and notes on the Jayhawks, head on over to Rock Chalk Talk.