Baylor University hasn't played anyone yet. How many times did we hear that during the 2013 football season?
Starting with the Bears' 69-3 victory over Wofford, Baylor fans suffered the criticism of the college sports world continuously through their first nine games last year. They bested Buffalo 70-13, and much to the chagrin of grieving Bulls fans the second verse was the same as the first, "Who have they played?" Lousiana-Monroe? 70-7, right, "What's a Warhawk?" West Virginia, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Kansas, each fell prey to Baylor's football arsenal by a combined score of 238-88 yet the chant of "Baylor hasn't played anyone yet" continued its resound like carnival laughter in a house of horrors. All the while dominating the gridiron, the Bears had to slug it out with media pundits and prejudiced pollsters. Even after they embarrased the vaunted tenth ranked Oklahoma Sooners 42-12 we heard "Oklahoma isn't very good this year." The next game Baylor decimated Texas Tech 63-34, "Well, Texas Tech is rebuilding under a new head coach."
Hearing this criticism week after week, Baylor Fans here on Our Daily Bears began discussions on who would be an elite team to add to the Bears' non-conference schedule. Not that the Big XII, is a push over conference. Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma each won their Bowl games against teams from the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, with Oklahoma beating Alabama in the BCS Sugar Bowl, despite Alabama being the front runner to win the National Title for most of the season. But the general consensus among ODB'ers is that Baylor's non-conference schedule is a little weak and to that end I make a proposal that we continue our discussions on what teams the Bears could play in their non-conference schedule that would make for great college football.
There are two teams that I'd like to propose that Baylor frequently include in their non-conference schedule, the Texas A&M Aggies and the Michigan State Spartans.
Baylor is the best team along the banks of the Brazos River. That includes that other team 90 miles southeast in College Station. Sure the Aggies bolted from the Big XII but that is only because they knew they couldn't compete with the Bears going forward. Yes I know, the Bears have only won two out of the last ten games against the Aggies and Art Briles has a loosing record against A&M while at Baylor having only won one out of four games. But I'd like to see one of college football's oldest rivalries, revived. I think it is time that Baylor put it's best foot forward and did a little forgive and forget. Texas A&M might be in the mighty SEC now but Baylor has taken the title of best team in the State of Texas, and that includes football and men's and women's basketball, Sic' em Bears.
Why should Michigan State be added to Baylor's non-conference schedule? For me the number one reason is that traveling to East Lansing from my home is equivalent to driving from Waco to North Dallas. It would be a great opportunity for me to see the Bears play in person. However, despite my personal needs, there are compelling reasons to include the Spartans in intercollegiate athletic games.
First, both Michigan State and Baylor are the current reigning champions of the "Big" conferences. They both started the season outside the top 25 of the national rankings. Michigan State was ranked 26th in the AP preseason poll, Baylor 27th. The Spartans were ranked 28th in the Coaches preseason poll, Baylor 29th. Both rose to the ranks of the top five prior to the end of the season with Baylor dropping to 13th after thier loss to UCF in the Fiesta Bowl. Both teams sport "nobodies turned somebodies" reputations.
Second, I want Baylor to have a chance to dish out some payback. During the 2011-12 athletic season, the Year of The Bear, Baylor's Athletic Director Ian McCaw was nominated for National Athletic Director of the Year. He was a shoo-in according to BleacherReport, "As the kids would say, Baylor is so hot right now. It is seeing success in multiple sports. Getting donations pouring in to upgrade its facilities. McCaw's vision for Baylor athletics is paying off; he is a man that works his plan well. Ian McCaw is the backbone to their success, and for that reason, he deserves the Athletic Director of the Year tag, and it really is not even close." Despite Baylor setting all time NCAA records for combined sport "wins," a Heisman Trophy, a new on-campus football stadium among the upgrades, national championships and tons of other great stuff, Ian lost out to Michigan State's Mark Hollis who was recogized for his sports innovations of having hockey and basketball games being held in football stadiums thereby drawing record breaking attendance crowds.
Last, and by no means the least compelling reason, is because both schools lay claim to Drayton McLane Stadium. Thats right, north and south, Drayton McLane Jr. is a man of two worlds. In 2009, he gave the lead donation for the construction of Drayton McLane Baseball Stadium in East Lansing, MI, on the campus of Michigan State. In 2011, he gave the lead donation for the constuction of Baylor's new on-campus football stadium, Drayton McLane Baylor Stadium. To further honor his great generosity, these two great institutions should get together as often as possible in as many sports as possible and pass back and forth the McLane Trophy to each victor.
Well, that's my two cents worth. Tell me what ya think.