So far, the offense has combined with a defense that has four touchdowns and has allowed only three to reinforce preseason predictions. Baylor was picked to finish fifth in the conference's preseason media poll, but also had two of the 25 first-place votes. The Bears had never received a first-place vote and aren't yet six years removed from going 0-8 in the Big 12 in 2007.
"I was wondering why those other 23 didn't believe in us," Briles said. "It just shows, I think, that we're gaining some respect. We're certainly not where we need to be or want to be or are going to be, but we got one foot out of the water and on the land. We're gaining ground."
The Bears absolutely saw it coming, too. Running back Lache Seastrunk transferred from Oregon in 2011 and sat out that season. He wasn't really involved early in the 2012 season, but he finished with a flourish, running for 103, 91, 185, 136, 178 and 138 yards and scoring six times to end the season.
When it was over, he said he'd win the Heisman in 2013. He's never once wavered.
"Why should I?" he asked at the Big 12's media day in July. "Why should I regret it? I said it. Y'all want me to take it back?"
Seastrunk simply revealed a goal. The Bears barely flinched and endorsed Seastrunk's self-endorsement.
"Lache is a great teammate," Briles said. "He's a great, passionate, caring person for everybody on our football team, he prepares as well as anybody in the United States of America and he believes in himself. And I learned a long time ago that if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will."
Seastrunk has done his part for as long as he's been allowed on the field this season. He's carried 38 times for 417 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 11 yards per carry. His only negative rush this season lost 1 yard.
If he's doing his part, it's because his teammates are doing theirs.
Through all the questioning about what he said, Seastrunk remained adamant about one thing: It was as much about the offensive line as it was about himself.
"It is a challenge," offensive lineman Cyril Richardson said. "I know we play this game as a competition, but what's wrong with making some personal challenges with yourself and accomplishing the challenges you set for yourself? Those are the best ones - to break that limit for yourself and to get to where you want to go. That's what I like to see."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.