Matt Rhule is in his third season as Baylor's coach, and the progression at the once-troubled program has gone from 1-11 in 2017, to 7-6 last season to 5-0 now with the first ranking of his tenure.
The No. 22 Bears (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) are a far cry from when Rhule took over the program in 2017 following the school's sexual assault scandal. The upstart Bears will host Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1) on Saturday.
"I don't pay attention to it," Rhule said of the Bears' ranking. "I don't address it. I try to model for our players, and I really believe it -- it's not just something I say, I really believe it. I'm the same guy at 5-0 that I was at 0-5.
"If this is the high point, then we had a bad year, so we're going to fight to just try to be 1-0 this week."
The Bears will do that with starting quarterback Charlie Brewer, who left last week's 31-12 win over Kansas State with 11:05 left in the fourth quarter following a hit to the head. Rhule said Monday that Brewer is cleared to play against Texas Tech.
"It was precautionary (to take Brewer out), especially at the time in the game," Rhule said. "He seemed to be fine. He didn't play the rest of the game, but he's cleared to go."
Brewer, a junior, has entered the Heisman Trophy picture by completing 93 of 142 passes for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns without an interception. He has the ability to run, gaining 375 yards last year, but has rushed for only 74 yards this season.
"Charlie Brewer is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, really good with his feet. He is very accurate," said Texas Tech first-year coach Matt Wells.
Wells said Rhule has built the Bears much like a Big Ten team, based on Rhule's background as a linebacker at Penn State.
"When you see a 6-6, 300-pound tight end, both tackles are 6-6, 6-7, the center's 6-6. They're large humans. I mean, really, really big, and they've got girth," Wells said. "They've beefed up the O-line and D-line since they've been there. Truly respect that because I think that's where you win ball games, in the trenches."
Baylor will be without starting left tackle, Connor Galvin, who is out the next four to six weeks after suffering a lower-body injury against Kansas State, Rhule said.
The Red Raiders, coming off a 45-35 upset of No. 21 Oklahoma State last week in Lubbock, Texas, will make their first appearance in 10 years at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. The series recently was played in North Texas at either AT&T Stadium in Arlington or the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Texas Tech starting quarterback Alan Bowman is out for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury. Backup Jett Duffey passed for 424 yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for a touchdown in the upset over Oklahoma State.
"He is an outstanding player and he has played a dynamite game," Rhule said of Duffey. "He's a guy that can beat you with his feet. He can beat you with his arm. I think the thing he showed on Saturday was that he has the ability to throw the deep ball and throw it into tight, tight windows."