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Baylor boasts highest ranking since 1980

The SportsXchange

With its highest poll ranking in six decades, Baylor holds the distinction of being the Big 12's highest-ranked team at No. 6 in the Associated Press poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches rankings.

Not bad for a team that back in July was picked to finish fifth in the conference.

The last time the Bears were ranked higher than their current spot was back in 1953, when they were third in the AP poll. The last time they were just as high in the AP poll, they were also No. 6 in 1980.

The Bears also are 6-0 for the first time since that 1980 season going into their game at Kansas on Saturday (Oct. 26). The 1980 team won the Southwest Conference and finished 10-2 after losing to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.

The trick now is to keep a level head as the Bears prepare for a closing run that includes games against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State to start off November.

"We just have to treat it like we have been, treat it like we aren't in the Top 25," senior linebacker Eddie Lackey said. "In my opinion, we just have to always be that underdog and go out there and play our game.

"We just have to focus on us and focus on Baylor and not think about the media that is out there."

Lackey said the players must shut out fans' talk, whether it be praise or skepticism.

"We can't listen to the people who are patting us on the backs or telling us that we shouldn't be this high up in the rankings," he said. "We can't listen to either one of those.

"We just have to go out there are keep playing the way that we have been playing."

NOTES, QUOTES

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

--Junior RB Lache Seastrunk was back over the 100-yard mark rushing with 112 on 18 carries in the win over Iowa State. His streak of triple-digit rushing games had ended at nine the week before when he ran for only 59 on a dozen runs at Kansas State.

--Junior WR Antwan Goodley continues to place the Big 12 in receiving yards per game with his average of 143.5 yards per outing. He and senior teammate Tevin Reese are the only receivers among the conference leaders averaging over 20 yards a catch (23.3 and 24.6, respectively).

--Senior DE Chris McCallister is making the most out of his tackles. Of his 18 stops, he has 4.5 sacks, which is tied for third in the conference with Oklahoma's Charles Tapper, who has played one more game.

--Sophomore DE Shawn Oakmon has had quite a positive impact on Baylor's defense since transferring from Penn State. Of his 19 tackles, 11 have been for losses, including two sacks.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We really do try to keep everything as normal as possible, but you just can't do it because it's not normal. You can't look at a shirt that's red and say it's green, because it's not. It's different." -- Coach Art Briles, on trying to replicate the routine for a home game when going on the road.
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