WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Baylor Bears have 12 games in 2019, with seven at home. Sure, the non-conference games (Stephen F. Austin, UTSA, Rice) will be fun to follow, but they're only appetizers. Here are my top-five intriguing games for Baylor this season.
#5 -- Baylor at Kansas (November 30)
Unlike Royden Ogletree, who would prefer the Halloween matchup with West Virginia be on this list instead of Kansas, I can't get enough of Les Miles possibly turning around the Jayhawks in year one. Nobody seriously expects that to happen, but it's a wish. If the Bears have another mediocre season, this isn't the worst opponent to have for another win-or-no-bowl finale for Baylor should it get to that point. The only scary factor that day won't be the Jayhawks, but the late November Kansas weather.
#4 -- Iowa State vs. Baylor (September 28)
The Cyclones may not have the casual college football fans salivating, but Iowa State has tremendous confidence going into 2019. The Cyclones were picked to finish third in the Big 12 this season behind Oklahoma and Texas. Tempers flared in Iowa State's 28-14 victory over Baylor on a 24-degree day in Ames, so will there be any love lost since then?
#3 -- Baylor at TCU (November 9)
It's been four years since the Bears have defeated either Oklahoma, Texas or TCU. Since that unforgettable 61-58 win over the Horned Frogs in 2014, every matchup with TCU has taken place in the month of November. Baylor was a favorite to become bowl-eligible in the penultimate game of the 2018 season, but instead had to reach win number six against Texas Tech after the Frogs came up with a 16-9 victory in a shockingly defensive contest.
#2 -- Oklahoma vs. Baylor (November 16)
The unquestioned gauntlet of the Bears' schedule comes in November with the Big 12 favorite sandwiched between TCU and Texas. The Sooners are loaded again, this time with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts expected to lead the show at quarterback after Kyler Murray's departure. Oklahoma smashed Baylor 66-33 in Norman last season, and the Sooners arrival in Waco always equals a capacity McLane Stadium crowd.
#1 -- Texas vs. Baylor (November 23)
In Matt Rhule's first season as Bears head coach, the Bears could've easily had more than just one win. The 38-7 loss to Texas was not one of them. A year ago, however, the Bears 'had tears in their eyes' in Austin after a 23-17 loss, which featured an apparent Baylor interception in the end zone overturned. Moments later on the same drive, the Longhorns scored a touchdown. Regardless, is there really much more that needs to be said than the Texas Longhorns visiting Waco?
Honorable mentions: at Kansas State, vs. Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, vs. West Virginia
Royden's top five
#1 -- West Virginia vs. Baylor
#2 -- Baylor at TCU
#3 -- Texas vs. Baylor
#4 -- Iowa State vs. Baylor
#5 -- Oklahoma vs. Baylor