To be honest, I’ve been pretty optimistic going into these reports, and admittedly a little biased. I found Kate at halftime of the game and we both agreed that if the Bears didn’t pick it up there wouldn’t be room for any optimism. As we all know though, Baylor picked it up in the second half and finally remembered how to play football the Art Briles way and not the Guy Morris way. The game wasn’t the only spot that disappointed me though; the size of the Line wasn’t where I expected it to be.
Against SMU the Baylor Line stretched from the back of the end zone all the way up the tunnel and spilled out into gate 8. Against Sam Houston State the line went maybe halfway up the tunnel from what I could see. (I was near the front again, naturally). From what I’ve heard the number of people running in the line generally goes down as the season goes on, but I guess I expected better out of this year’s class considering it is the biggest of all time, and since Baylor just had its first ever Heisman winner this past year.
A number of things went into the line being smaller than it was against SMU. From what I heard leading up to the game and what I’ve heard after, one of the biggest reasons people didn’t show up is because Sam Houston State was supposed to be a cake walk. I guess they didn’t want to see another blowout. I’m not sure if this is a sign of Baylor turning the corner in their football program or some members of the line just being fair weather fans.
The only thing I have to back up the corner-turning logic is that I can’t remember the last time people expected Baylor to blow out anyone. Sure it is an FCS team, but even back in the day when my brother went to Baylor (10 years ago) the games for Parent’s Weekend were against easy opponents where people expected Baylor to win, but not blow anyone out. The fair weather fans part comes into play, because I know there are freshman out there who just wanted to do it once, decided it wasn’t for them, forgot how great the experience was against SMU, or decided they were "too cool" for it. The last one scares me the most. I don’t know if it's just because some freshman are trying to make a good impression to fraternities by sporting a polo and khakis to the game (or sororities with "cute" clothes in replace of khakis and a polo) and not running in the Line, but you don’t get many opportunities to run on a college football team's field and greet your classmates as they emerge through the smoke to wage battle against the opposing team. It truly is an amazing experience.
Don’t take me wrong, the Baylor Line still had a good amount of people at the game, and the passion with which they cheered was high. I’m a little harsh when it comes to judging how fans cheer on their team seeing as I get very into the games. It becomes very apparent to everyone around me that I’m incredibly into the game. My shouts of "THROW IT TERRENCE!" and "PUT SEASTRUNK IN!" definitely are how people around me are going to remember me from the game. Granted, both were what we needed. I expect everyone to stand throughout the game, dance around while the music played, and ultimately just be a rowdy bunch of college kids. Oh, and of course keep it classy as the Chamber student leading us in cheers said a few times through the megaphone throughout the game.
I have no doubt that when TCU comes to town the line will be back up to its record numbers for parent’s weekend. I would just like it to stay there. I’ve heard stories of the line topping out at about 50 people by the end of the season, and I don’t want that to ring true for my class. I’m from a large high school in Plano, Texas, and while our football team got huge crowds every Friday night, the games were looked upon as a social event rather than a football game. A place where everyone would leave at half time no matter how the game was. Baylor has already proven to be much different than that with huge crowds and a lot of enthusiasm. As long as the enthusiasm continues, I believe that the line, along with the rest of the crowd that makes up the insides of Floyd Casey Stadium, will help Baylor maintain their home winning streak.
Seeing as there isn’t a home game until Parent’s Weekend against TCU, the BLR probably won’t be too lengthy the next couple weeks, but I’ll be sure to try and see how everyone is feeling around campus about the Bears, and get a gauge on how big the line will be when we take on the Horned Frogs.