In the realm of recent Baylor football, Thursday's 41-12 win over Oklahoma wasn't pretty. But even when Baylor isn't at its best, it's good enough to win games by a landslide.
After a dismal first quarter that saw Baylor put up only three points and a handful of completions, the Bears got down to business. Twenty-one unanswered points later, Baylor led Oklahoma 24-5 at the half.
The Bears never took their foot off the gas, and the raucous crowd at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco relished every minute of the win. For the first time in 10 years, Baylor played for a truly sold-out crowd.
At 8-0, Baylor is one of only four undefeated BCS teams.
The green-and-gold tarp that had covered the south end zone for a decade was removed prior to Thursday's game — proving once and for all that Baylor no longer has anything to hide. A tarp to mask low attendance has no place in a season characterized by sold-out crowds and ticket scalpers.
National championship contenders don't play that way, and that elite category very much includes Baylor.
At 8-0, Baylor is one of only four undefeated BCS teams. No. 3 Oregon dropped to Stanford, leaving Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State in the company of Baylor.
Even as the Bears racked up ridiculous stats in their first seven games, the team was largely excluded from serious title conversations. They'd never been truly tested, the critics said. Anybody could be undefeated in a schedule that didn't include a ranked opponent until November.
But Baylor keeps proving the critics wrong. Five games into Big 12 conference play and the Bears have yet to taste defeat. A battered and bruised Baylor put a beating on Oklahoma with injuries to starting receiver Tevin Reese and first- and second-string running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin.
Third-string running back Shock Linwood fittingly stunned the Sooner defense for 171 yards. Quarterback Bryce Petty struggled to throw accurately early in the game but finished with a respectable 204 yards on 13 of 26 pass attempts.
The talk around Baylor Nation is that it won't be long before naysayers claim Oklahoma wasn't a "real test" of Baylor's toughness. But the Bears don't have time to worry about the doubters. They're too busy winning football games.