The most popular photos and videos in Waco these days -- outside of those from the Ice Bucket Challenge -- are the ones taken inside Baylor's new McLane Family Stadium.

And much like a person dousing themselves with ice-cold water, the Baylor football team isn't exactly certainly how it will react to the rush. But the Bears have a pretty good guess. Coach Art Briles has compiled the kind of talent entering his seventh season at Baylor that will pair nicely with the fancy new on-campus stadium.

"We've got guys that when you put them on the field, and there's some energy, they can be a different step, different level," Briles said. "I've been around it a long time and I know how fast looks when it's excited."

At around 45,000 seats, Baylor's new stadium is quaint compared to some of the mammoth venues across the college football landscape. But the Bears are hoping it's not the size of the crowd in the fight but the size of the fight in the crowd.

"It's our job to make that the most exciting stadium in the United States of America on game day," Briles said. "Our guys got to feed off of it."

The first opponent to test that theory will be SMU, which finished 5-7 last season. The Mustangs don't figure to be much of a match for No. 10-ranked Baylor as the Bears have been tabbed a four-touchdown-plus favorite.

But Briles pointed out that the first game is a bit of a roll of the dice. That's partially because college programs don't have the same preseason luxury as the NFL or other sports. There's no real dress rehearsal for the Bears as they step on their new stage.

"There's nothing to relate it to," Briles said. "In the NFL, you have preseason games. In high school, you have scrimmages. In college you play. It's showtime."

At least the Bears know who some of the leading players will be.

Quarterback Bryce Petty has been touted as a Heisman contender. His favorite target from a year ago, Antwan Goodley, is looking to improve on his already-high draft stock. And while Baylor lost two quality running backs in Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, Shock Linwood showed last season there's not much drop-off when he gets the ball. Maybe none.

And the high-powered offense isn't the only unit getting rave reviews in the preseason. Baylor is convinced its defensive front seven is as formidable as any in college football.

It will take a while before Baylor's mettle is seriously tested -- until a road game at Texas on Oct. 4. Until then, expect the Bears to do plenty of dancing in their new digs.


--Starting WR Clay Fuller is out for the first month of the season with a broken clavicle. Fuller suffered the injury in practice in early August and was expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.