My freshman year, RG3 tore his ACL. Now, not being inclined towards precognition, I had no idea that it could get better than 4-8 the next year, despite the promised return of someone who I was told "would put Baylor on the map." Now, coming off the "Year of the Bear" I can't help but look back and see how far we've come.
I'll be completely honest. Due to being in the Golden Wave Band, I haven't run the Line. I didn't go to Welcome Week, and the Line Jersey currently in my possession is that of a friend who graduated last year and then went to Korea before I could give it back. I came to Baylor as someone who was quite proud of the fact that I didn't care about sports (except baseball). In my defense, I was coming from a high school that went 2-10 my junior year, and where the band had 2 more state championships than the football team. Where I came from, it was stupid to have school spirit, and many of my fellow freshmen felt the same. Obviously, that's changed.
I remember that my freshmen year the Line at the last game was quite possibly 50 people. When Texas played Baylor at Floyd Casey, we might as well have been in Austin. Same for my sophomore year, when all of College Station came to the Case. No matter the place, the green and gold weren't really being flung afar. Contrast that to the Oklahoma game last year, which was late in the season, and not a guaranteed win. The Line at that game not only showed up, but stayed, and were able to give us one of the enduring images of last season-Robert Griffin surrounded by members of the Line, saying he thought he'd finally brought scrubby little Baylor a Heisman.
At Spring and Fall premiere there are various Baylor promotional videos playing in the Ferrell Center before the program actually starts. I clearly remember the videos stressing academics! academics! academics! our campus is beautiful! and we have a basketball team but academics! Last year I had the chance to play in the Courtside Band at the Spring Premiere-it was strange, and awesome, to see how much had changed. The Heisman acceptance speech figured quite heavily into the pre-show videos, as well as the win over Oklahoma and in the Alamo Bowl.
Of course, our success has not purely been on the football field. All 19 of Baylor's NCAA sponsored sports made it to the post-season last year, and we picked up two national titles and several high-round tournament appearances before all was said and done. I'm simply concentrating on football since it's that time of year.
We've come from barely being above Kansas, in the basement of the Big 12 (no matter which incarnation) to winning 10 games and a Heisman. To those members of the media and the general public who say we'll go 5-7: Baylor Football was predicted to only win 6 games last year.
To this new class of freshmen, this new Baylor Line: You don't know how lucky you have it. Enjoy every bit. Go to every game. Wear green. Wear gold. Paint your face and your body (keep it PG, though, this is, after all, Baylor). Show up early. Stay late. Go to pep rallies. Go to Chalk Talk. Be loud, be proud. Sic 'Em, Bears.