Michigan State staggered through three quarters, then turned it on to surprise Baylor, 42-41, in Thursday's Cotton Bowl. Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin was among the 71,464 at AT&T Stadium. Check his other images after the jump.
Baylor played its first game at McLane Stadium on Sunday night and routed Southern Methodist, 45-0. Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin made the trip to Waco and checked out the 45,140-seat facility, which is built on the banks of the Brazos River. It was the first time the Bears played on campus since 1935. The team played the last 54 seasons at Floyd Casey Stadium, about 4.5 miles away.
The plan is for McLane to play host to year-round entertainment attractions — weddings, tractor pulls, cookoffs, high school games and big concerts. The university will spend more than $450,0000 to subsidize these events in the first year, part of the arrangement made when the school accepted $35 million from the city of Waco.
Life has never been better for fans of the Baylor Bears, the defending Big 12 champion. The Bears likely would have played in the BCS title game last season had they not been upset by Oklahoma State. Then there's McLane Stadium, Baylor's new $250 million home. And don't forget that record-breaking offense. Art Briles has it rolling and expectations are off the chart in Waco.
Baylor's 2012 season can be divided into two parts. After nine games, the Bears were 4-5. The team scored 113 points against West Virginia and Texas, but gave up 126 and lost both games.
Then No. 1 Kansas State came to Waco and the Bears steamrolled the Wildcats, 52-24. Baylor finished with four wins in a row, including a 49-26 trouncing of UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.
This team is full of confidence, and that should only grow in the first half of the season. Expect the Bears to enter November with no more than one loss. But if Baylor is to become an elite team, the play of the defense will have to improve. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian and Texas line the second half of the schedule and the Bears will have to be at their best.