BEAR ON A TEAR
Baylor's redshirt junior leads the nation in passer rating at 206.2, with 24 touchdowns and just one interception. The 9--0 Bears are fourth in the BCS standings as they head into this Saturday's Big 12 showdown at No. 10 Oklahoma State.
DAN PATRICK:You grew up an SEC fan and originally committed to Tennessee. Was that under Phil Fulmer or Lane Kiffin?
BRYCE PETTY: That was all Coach Fulmer.
DP:Then Lane Kiffin came in. Were you going to stay?
BP: I had been [planning on it]. I loved Coach Fulmer, but I still loved the school too.
BP: The [assistant coach] who recruited me said my scholarship was still there. But [Kiffin] wasn't sold on me. I knew at that point I needed to get out. You always want to feel wanted and feel you've got the trust and confidence of your coach.
DP:Baylor used to be a punch line. Are you aware of how far the football program has come?
BP: All that matters to us is where we're at now and setting future teams up. We have a sign that says, BE THE STANDARD. And that's what we're trying to do. The old Baylor is no more.
DP:Did Robert Griffin III put the Bears on the map?
DP:What did you see in RG3?
BP: I saw a guy who completely changed the outlook on a team—from other teams seeing Baylor as an automatic W to where it is now. We belong.
DP:Do you want to win the Heisman?
BP:[Laughs.] How do you say no to that?
DP:Some guys won't admit it. They'll talk about team goals.
BP: When I set up my goals, a Heisman was not there. It was about a Big 12 championship.
DP:You ever have a teacher ask for an autograph?
BP: No sir. I think I saw a couple of pictures of professors in my jersey.
DP:Have you ever worn your jersey to class?
DP:You guys wore black jerseys with black print against Oklahoma. I couldn't tell who was who.
BP: Really? That's tragic.
DP:Oregon's the same way. They're too cool.
BP: That's the fad, man.
DP:Do you expect to reach the BCS title game?
BP: That's our goal.
DP:How do you think your spread offense would fare against a big, physical defense like Alabama's or Stanford's?
BP: We feel we can hang with and beat anybody. It's all about confidence. It's always about Baylor. It's always about the next play.
DP:Do you think Baylor will ever score 100 points?
BP: That's a lot of points.
DP:Do you think you could?
BP: I honestly think so.
DP:Would it be wrong to?
BP: Most likely.
DP:Depending on who you're playing, right?
DP:So against Oklahoma State it wouldn't be wrong.
BP:[Laughs.] No comment.
USC interim coach Ed Orgeron, who masterminded Saturday's 20--17 upset of No. 5 Stanford, talked about what has changed since he took over on Sept. 29: "We put the fun back in it. We started laughing and joking and dancing in the room like we did with [former Trojans] coach [Pete] Carroll." ... Hall of Famer David Robinson hasn't played hoops against President Obama, but if he does, don't expect the Admiral's A game. "You have to let him score," Robinson told me. "It's a matter of national security if someone gets a picture of you embarrassing the President." ... Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw talked about hosting a Cy Young announcement party. "You gotta have people that you really like," said Kershaw, who won the award for the second time. "Because if you do lose, you have to have a party anyway."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
DAVID EULITT FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PETTY)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (ORGERON)
TODD ROSENBERG FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (ROBINSON)
DAVID E. KLUTHO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (KERSHAW)