Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
I'm well aware the Bears have a Holiday Bowl matchup against the UCLA Bruins in a little over two weeks, but as far as running the Baylor Line goes and doing stuff attributed to that the season is over. Which would then make this the last Baylor Line Report...for this year anyway. Hopefully someone else picks it up next year. That or I'll just spin it into something else and let it kind of evolve and get older with me. Also, I know this was supposed to come out a week ago, but I had few nights go well into the morning last week prepping for finals, so excuse the tardiness of it please.
It's been a pretty crazy season for the Baylor bears football team. A season that included some ups, some downs, and then some more ups again. All in all this Baylor squad has been very fun to watch. It's been equally as much fun to get to run onto the field before every game and welcome the players out of the tunnel and onto the field. This Baylor freshman class is the largest in Baylor history and in the home opener against SMU I think we had one of the biggest lines to take the field at Floyd Casey Stadium EVER. The Case has been around for a while so that is a statement I'm pretty proud to write and be a part of. More so, in that SMU game the students in the Baylor Line managed to break the gate that is supposed to be keeping us from charging the field prematurely. Needless to say we were excited to get the season underway after watching Robert Griffin III lead our then future school to a ten win season and win the Heisman Trophy. It's been quite the experience and I can honestly say I've never really felt anything like it. I got to be in a section during the game where mostly everyone is yelling, screaming, standing, and cheering for their team. That on its own was very cool. I got to be on TV numerous times, and in the greatest sports moment I've ever witnessed live, stormed the field after my Baylor Bears destroyed the then number one Kansas State Wildcats. I may have watched the home winning streak come to an end against TCU in a game where seemingly no one wanted to play, but I also got to see a string of wins at the end of the season that included Baylor's first ever win over Oklahoma State.
I've been trying to tell people how awesome these last three games have been for Baylor. For starters, we knocked off the number one team in the nation on national television in our own stadium and ripped the Heisman away form Colin Klein. Baylor had never beaten a number one ranked team before that. What makes it even better is that everyone that has a Baylor sports opinion I actually care about shared the same feeling I did about the game. Baylor wasn't going to get blown out, they weren't just going to keep it close, no. We all felt like they were going to win. And they did. The next game was against Texas Tech in Jerry World. The Bears needed a win to become bowl eligible for the third straight year, something they haven't ever done. Go ahead and check that one off the list too as the Bears came back (of course it was a come back) and defeated the Red Raiders in overtime. That game, I think, epitomized the season as they overcame all of their struggles offensively and defensively and managed to defeat Texas Tech. (**Side note here: I know I haven't written recently, but I've been following the blog and the Art Briles news. Why would Briles want to go to a lesser job like Texas Tech? Baylor has beaten them the past two years. Tech is on the decline while Baylor is on the rise. Much more fun ascending than descending. Sorry needed to say that**) The third game came against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Bears closed out a fantastic and record-setting three game stretch behind the absolutely stunning run of Lache Seastrunk in the 4th quarter. Honestly that play (and all of you know which one I'm talking about) almost brought me to tears it was that great. Nothing symbolizes team first, drive, motivation, heart, determination, and whatever else you want to call it more than that. It was absolutely incredible. It reminded me of the Greg Jennings broken leg youtube video. Where, in the video game, Greg Jennings catches a pass at his own 20 yard line and outruns the entire defense on a broken leg. it's one thing to see it in video game, but in real life it is something completely different. Seastrunk had the entire Cowboy defense outran, but then had the noticeable hitch at the 45. He powered through it until he eventually dove/fell forward into the end zone. It was absolutely amazing. You could see the pain he was in with each stride, but he fought through it to finish what he started. What makes it even better are the reports that Seastrunk had trouble finishing drills when he first got to the team and his teammates had to really get onto him about finishing through the pain. I don't think it could have come any more full circle than it did for Lache on that touchdown run. It was, as many Baylor players and myself describe it, inspiring.
At the time of writing this post, I am two exams away form completing my first semester at college. It's been different, but very enjoyable. The highlight of every week for me this semester though was getting to see Baylor play football on Saturdays. I know the entire student body doesn't share the same emotions as I do about Baylor football, but for me, time stopped when Baylor played. Those who know me and know I write about the team always ask me about the games and I find that pretty cool. To put into perspective, One of my friends was able to find me in the crowd because she, "heard the obnoxiously loud guys cheering" I can't even say that I'm ashamed of that. They have a much better chance of hearing me when I'm this close to them as opposed to being in front of a TV set or high up in the stands. I wish that the entire student body shared the same passion for the football team, and all of the sports teams, for that matter, that I do. I don't really know how I go about changing that, but its something I'd love to start so that I can finally stop hearing and reading all the BS about how Baylor has no fans. Again, i don't know how I go about changing that, but I'll try and figure something out. A football team on the rise, a women's basketball team that are defending national champions, and a mens basketball team that has the talent to compete for a national championship should make Waco a sports hub as far as fans and student enthusiasm surrounding the athletics department. I will say this though, Baylor nation certainly has the potential to rise up and do that. For those of you that go back and watch the Baylor vs. Kansas State game, take note of how many times Klein has to make an audible then has trouble relaying the changes to his teammates because of how loud Floyd Casey Stadium is. It happened quite often. Now, as students, we have to fill up the seats in the Ferrell Center to cheer on both the men's and women's teams as they both fight for national titles.
One last note on people saying that Art Briles would leave Baylor. Why would he? Name another athletics program in the country that has a better thing going for it than Baylor right now. We just came off of "The Year of the Bear" last year which saw the women's basketball team go 40-0 and win a national championship, the football team won ten games and RG3 won the Heisman, the men's basketball team got to the Elite 8 losing to eventual champion Kentucky, along with multiple other impressive stories. What sports program is better than Baylor right now? The only argument against it is the guy in Austin living in 2005 still saying, "Yea, well, it's still Baylor" Really? Because Texas is such a great team now with all the talent they have right? Last I checked they couldn't find a quarterback. That's odd. They didn't recruit RG3 and thought Johnny Manziel would be a defensive back. That's Texas I guess. For those that keep thinking Baylor is the Baylor of ten, even five years ago you are so wrong. To quote the best football player in Baylor history, "Baylor we are, Baylor we will always be, but its up to us to define what that means." I feel like Baylor is defining that pretty well right now. We're on the rise, which is a lot better than other programs saying Briles is the "right fit" can say.