We have finally reached the penultimate week of Baylor's season. With a bowl yet to be played, this will not be Baylor's final game of 2011, but it will be the last chance that Baylor has to compete against its brethren in the Big XII and demonstrate how far it has come this year in this conference. The opponent is our old friend Texas, cause of and solution to much of the conference instability that has so greatly vexed Baylor's fans this season. Texas, the school that thinks it has everything and needs no one. Texas, the school that considers itself the undisputed King of football in our state. Texas, the #22-ranked team in the latest BCS, sitting at 7-4 on the season before coming to Waco on Saturday.
To say that this game will be big for both teams is to take understatement to ridiculous new heights. Texas wants to show that its win over A&M was no fluke and that its resurgent defense will lead the way for the team going forward. How better to do that than to shut down one of, if not the, nation's best offenses? Baylor wants to establish a new high-water mark for Big XII wins in a season (after setting a new record this past weekend), keep its hopes for a 10-win season alive, and propel RGIII from Heisman candidate into possible Heisman favorite. Baylor's players and coaches have to know that the only reason last week, the week before that, and the week before that mean anything is so that this week means something. Finishing strong before the bowl is and always will be the goal.
Given that the Heisman votes are due next week following this weekend's slate of games, we here at ODB will be focusing daily on the Heisman race and RGIII's place within it. Call it homerism if you want, but we believe that RGIII belongs in NYC for the Heisman presentation and that he has as strong a case as any that he should actually win the award. We hope to provide an argument for why he should do exactly that.
Now on to the links, which are going to be relatively light today. I'll post anything worthwhile that happens throughout the day via fanshot.
- HeismanPundit.com (the best Heisman analysis out there, I think) has a few links worth reading from the weekend. First, they summarized all of the various Heisman stories that they could find onto one list. If you look at nothing else today, look at this. Second, after all of the games were played Saturday they reviewed the current state of Heisman affairs to try to formulate a point total for each candidate as of this moment. I like what HP does here because they take the regional structure of voting into account, something ESPN doesn't even try to do. Finally, HP offers a case for and against each prominent candidate remaining.
- Continuing on, David Ubben's Big XII blog over at ESPN.com is always a good read, particularly for interviews and videos after the game. As always, as long as you avoid the comments, you should be fine over there.
- The coaching carousel is in full swing again this year and looks to be more active than ever. Arizona State, Kansas, Washington State, UCLA, Ole Miss, Penn State, and others will be looking for new coaches after firing or buying out their current ones (UCLA hasn't technically fired Slick Rick yet, but they will). One team that seems to have found their coach is Ohio State, since it turns out Urban Meyer was just funnin' with everyone and will take the job after a one-year hiatus in broadcasting. He'll probably be announced today on ESPN as the new coach.
- One thing worth mentioning separately from above is that rumors are beginning to swirl that Mike Sherman could be on the firing line. I'm not sure I buy it since the buyout for his contract would probably be about $8 million. A&M seems to make a habit of extending coaches for big money and then wanting to fire them shortly thereafter.
- Terrance Ganaway was named the Big XII Offensive Player of the Week this morning after his historic day against Tech on Saturday. He definitely deserved it. I have rewarded him with his picture gracing this post. Congratulations, Terrance!
- The Washington Post noted something today that I didn't catch at first-- Baylor went undefeated in November this year. When was the last time we could say that?
- Robert Griffin III is probable for this week's game against Texas, just as I suspected he would be. I'm guessing wild dogs couldn't keep him out of the game this week.
Baylor's men's team moved up to #7 in the AP Top 25 and welcomes its best player back from his ludicrous suspension today. The official site hasn't posted their preview of the game yet, but when they do it will be here.
- Baylor's women's team retained its #1 ranking today (with 39/40 first place votes, UConn got the other one) after beating #7 Tennessee in Tennessee for the Lady Volunteer's first home loss since 2009.
- Finally, you can watch Art Briles' weekly press conference live on the official athletic site.