Baylor is in contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff, but its chief competition might just be a team it beat earlier this year in TCU. As a result, every snap the Bears take will be viewed alongside what the Horned Frogs did that week.
If that's the case, head coach Art Briles won't be a happy camper when the team returns to Waco after holding on to beat Texas Tech, 48-46, in a wild second half.
TCU, of course, blew out Texas on Thanksgiving night and put up 82 points on the Red Raiders when the teams met earlier in the month. Briles might not have been happy Saturday evening, but Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson surely was.
Most concerning to the Bears, however, is the status of quarterback Bryce Petty. He was putting together one of his best performances in the last few weeks when he took a big hit on the chin in the middle of the third quarter. Petty left the game, and a mild concussion was later diagnosed.
Petty said after the game that he "definitely" will play against Kansas State next week. Before the hit, which ended up drawing a flag, he was 18-of-25 for 210 yards and a pair of quality touch passes for scores.
Seth Russell showed why he might be the best backup quarterback in the country, leading a touchdown drive right after Petty went down and doing plenty to keep the Baylor offense going. Running back Shock Linwood had to shoulder most of the load, rushing for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
Bears defensive end Shawn Oakman made his presence felt early in the game with a sack and several big hits. He drew the ire of Tech fans, however, when he put a knee on Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes neck after a sack and later drew a personal foul penalty on the team's final drive following a late hit. He finished with five tackles, three for loss, and was difficult to handle between the lines lining up next to monster defensive tackle Andrew Billings.
Mahomes led a valiant comeback for the team, driving 73 yards in less than two minutes to nearly tie the score. A freshman, he threw for 598 yards with six touchdowns and an interception, but it wasn't enough to beat the seventh-ranked team in the nation.
Baylor will have plenty to fix on both sides of the ball as it prepares for its regular-season finale next week, but the Bears will certainly be left wondering about Petty's status leading up to gametime after he took a shot that might have hurt the team's national title chances.