While it needs help to reach a BCS bowl game, ninth-ranked Baylor still has a chance to earn a share of its first conference title in 19 years.
No. 23 Texas, however, will also be looking for a piece of the Big 12 championship - and a potential BCS berth - while trying to spoil the Bears' attempt at pair of records in their final game at Floyd Casey Stadium on Saturday.
Baylor (10-1, 7-1) needs a win and an Oklahoma State loss to Oklahoma earlier in the day to have a chance at claiming the conference's BCS berth and their first outright league title since 1980. The Bears were among five teams who shared the 1994 Southwest Conference crown but only because unbeaten Texas A&M was ineligible due to NCAA sanctions.
"It would be tremendous for Baylor University, for our football team and everybody that loves this university," coach Art Briles said. "It would be one of the defining moments, I think, for Baylor football."
The Bears are in position for their first Big 12 title only after hanging on for a 41-38 victory at TCU this past weekend. Terrell Burt's interception off a deflection near the end zone with 11 seconds left sealed the win, which followed a 49-17 drubbing at Oklahoma State on Nov. 23.
Baylor returned two other picks for touchdowns while its offense was held under 400 yards for the first time in 38 games. The Bears still remain on pace to top Houston's NCAA record 624.9 yards per game from 1989.
They're averaging 635.1 yards, and their 55.4 points per game is just behind Army's mark of 56.0 from 1944. They need a combined 119 points against Texas (8-3, 7-1) and in their bowl game to own that record.
The Longhorns, though, are coming off a dominant 41-16 win over Texas Tech, which averaged 37.5 points in its first 11 games. Texas entered that game after having a string of six consecutive victories snapped with a 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State on Nov. 16.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown knows his team will have an even more difficult task keeping Baylor out of the end zone while trying to spoil the Bears' last game at their 63-year-old stadium. The program will move to an on-campus stadium next season.
"(Briles) has a great football team. It's a team that's in the top 10. It's a team that's playing before their largest crowd in the history of Floyd Casey Stadium. Last game there. It's for a championship. It's a great challenge for us and our team," Brown said.
Baylor is seeking a school-record 11th win in a season and an unprecedented 10th in a row at home. The Bears also have won five straight home games against ranked opponents.
"When you're at home, you've got to use it to your advantage," Briles said. "I know it's going to be a great crowd. That will be a great benefit for our football team."
Texas will be attempting to clinch at least a share of its first conference title since 2009, a season that ended with a loss to Alabama in the BCS championship. The Longhorns were hoping to return but have gone 18-16 in the Big 12 and 30-19 overall since that game.
If Texas' seniors can't earn a share of a league title, the class would be the first since 1989 to fail to accomplish that feat. The Longhorns didn't look like they were going to be in a position for a conference championship after starting 1-2 and putting Brown squarely on the hot seat.
Like Baylor, they need a win and an Oklahoma State loss for a BCS berth.
"What we told the guys is if you win the game on Saturday, you will be champs. The game before us is something that's out of our control. Let's worry about how we play," Brown said.
Texas avoided a third straight loss to Baylor with a 56-50 home win on Oct. 20, 2012. Running back Joe Bergeron scored five touchdowns, one shy of matching Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams' school record.
The Bears had dropped six straight home games to the Longhorns before a 48-24 victory in the most recent matchup at Floyd Casey on Dec. 3, 2011.
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