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Friday, December 26th, 2014

Motivated Bears Arrive, Start Work Quickly

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Macatee/SEOC
Baylor's head coach Art Briles answers questions during informal press conference after arriving in Dallas with his team to prepare for their New Year\'s day matchup against Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.

GRAPEVINE, Texas – Baylor arrived Friday and wasted little time resuming preparation for the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

The Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) reported ahead of their 2 p.m. scheduled arrival time at their team hotel and were to conduct their first practice later in the afternoon at an off-site location. They had been preparing for their game against Michigan State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) on campus in Waco, Texas.

“We’re extremely excited to be here to represent Baylor,” Baylor Head Coach Art Briles said. “We’re representing Baylor and we’re representing the name on the front of our jersey and the name on the back. We’re representing the name that we stand for as a family, as an individual.

“We understand we have a great Michigan State team. I got to looking at them since we’re playing them. They’ve won 52 games in the last five years, 41 in the last four [years]. Rose Bowl champions, Big Ten champions. They’ve lost to three opponents the last two years. They’re pretty good opponents: Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oregon. So they’re a quality, quality football team.”

In the past four years, Baylor has won 40 games and has made “a decent run” in the Big 12, Briles said. Baylor has won or shared the conference championship the last two years.

Reaching the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic completes a sort of Texas trifecta for Baylor, which also has competed in bowl games in Houston and San Antonio under Briles. Playing in Texas helps elevate the program’s profile in its primary recruiting state. It also is a postseason bonus for everyone who wears green and gold.

“It’s a big, big thrill for us to be able to be here, especially for our players and fans,” Briles said. “It’s a trip that they can make and a chance to come see them play and hang out with them a little bit. From a family standpoint, this is a big deal.”

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl celebrates its 79th edition on New Year's Day and kicks off a new era as a member of the College Football Playoff. Airtime on ESPN is set for 11:30 a.m. CST with kickoff slated for 11:45 a.m. For the first year, the Classic joins ESPN’s bowl lineup with Dave Pasch and Brian Griese on the call from the booth with Tom Luginbill reporting from the sideline.

For the third consecutive year, ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner. Brad Sham, the "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," teams with Kelly Stoufer in the booth and Ian Fitzsimmons from the sideline to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This will be Sham's 18th straight year as the Classic's play-by-play man and his 22nd overall.

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