Top 50 teams of 2019: No. 40 Baylor


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Before the start of Illinois football's training camp on Aug. 2 in Champaign, beat writer Bob Asmussen is counting down the Top 50 teams heading into the 2019 college football season:

No. 40: Baylor

Coach: Matt Rhule

2018 record: 7-6

Projected 2019 record: 8-4

Circle the date: Nov. 16 vs. Oklahoma

Bowl trip: Liberty

Why No. 40: After a rough first season in Waco (1-11), Rhule got it turned around last season. The next step is to win more conference games and Rhule has the offense to be competitive every time out. ... Junior quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 3,019 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is also a threat as a runner, scoring seven more times. ... The big issue for the offense was the pressure against the quarterbacks, which the team worked to improve during the offseason. ... The deep, talented receiver group is led by Denzel Mims, who had 55 catches and scored eight touchdowns. ... Linebacker Clay Johnston is the leading returning tackler. ... Safety Chris Miller is the only returnee in the secondary. ... The nonconference schedule is friendly, and in the Big 12, the Bears get Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas at home.

Last year's ranking: NR