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The Baylor Bears football team represents Baylor University in Division I FBS college football. They are a member of the Big 12 Conference. The team plays its home games at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.
Baylor University's football team has seen a wide variation in its success through the years, including an undefeated perfect record in 1900.
Initially, starting in the year 1898, the university played its home games on an undetermined field near the university campus. Beginning in 1905, the team's home games were played at Carroll Field, between the Carroll Science Building and Waco Creek. Baylor did not adopt a mascot (the Baylor Bears) until December 14, 1914, after the completion of the 1914 football season. Additionally, Baylor did not join an athletic conference until 1914 after the conclusion of the football season, when it became a founding member of the Southwest Conference. Baylor played its first home game against Toby's Business College (located in Waco) in 1899, its first away game on 4 November 1900, at Austin College, and its first neutral-site game against Texas A&M in 1901.
For the 1899 and 1900 seasons, the team was coached by R.H. Hamilton, whose 5–1–1 record was distinguished with never having a losing record; in 1899, Baylor played its first game against Texas A&M, which would become a rivalry (until 2012 when Texas A&M changed conferences), the Battle of the Brazos, with over 100 games played in the series by 2003. W.J. Ritchie coached the 1901 team, leading it to a 5–3 record; in this year, the first games of the Baylor-Texas and Baylor-TCU series were played. Texas Christian University (known as AddRan Male & Female College until 1902) was located in Waco from 1895 to 1910 and was one of Baylor's greatest football rivals until the dissolution of the Southwest Conference in 1995. The 1901 season also welcomed Baylor's first Thanksgiving Day football game, with a 28–0 win over St. Edward's University. J.C. Ewing took control of the team in 1902, and led it to its first losing season, with a 3–4–2 record. R.N. Watts restored Baylor's winning tradition in 1903, with a record of 4–3–1.
No team was fielded in 1906 following a ban opposing the violence of football; along with 1943 and 1944 (during World War II), 1906 is one of three seasons since 1899 that Baylor has not competed in varsity football. Luther Burleson headed the restored football team in 1907, and managed a 4–3–1 record. E.J. Mills led the team for the 1908 and 1909 seasons; their 3–5–0 and 5–3–0 records were notable for the 1908 loss to LSU, and for the world's first "Homecoming" at the 1909 Thanksgiving Day game, which included a concert, parade, and bonfire. To this day, Baylor claims the honor of having the largest homecoming parade in the world.
Baylor has many traditions such as the Baylor-TCU rivalry game which is one of the most played in all of college football, the Battle of the Brazos (through 2011 when Texas A&M left the Big 12), membership in the historic Southwest Conference, a live bear mascot since 1915 and the Baylor Line.
In 1966, John Hill Westbrook of Elgin, Texas became the first African American to play varsity football in the Southwest Conference when he joined the Baylor team.