I went on a cruise this last weekend (long story, ask me about it sometime), and I was on the boat all of 15 minutes before I saw a Baylor shirt. This was not some random coincidence as it would have been in 2008 - this was a direct result of Baylor's rise to relevance. A t-shirt fan.
Now, what you missed in that previous paragraph is the six year gap from when it would have been coincidence to, "Oh yeah ... Baylor." While on the one hand, the turnaround that Art Briles and his staff managed within the span of six is miraculous and short, it is also now old news. We, as Baylor's fanatics, have been spoiled rotten. We could hang our hat on "the best turnaround since Bill Snyder arrived in Manhattan, Kansas" and have excitement about being 1 of 38 schools with a Heisman trophy. And guess what? We have. Baylor fans have been happy and eager to boast about our Big 12 championship, our BCS bowl birth, our penchant for sending players to the NFL amongst other things.
Now, I have gotten exactly 184 words into this without even mentioning the job Scott Drew has done with the men's basketball team. When it comes to athletic programs across the country, there has never been a more dramatic series of turnarounds in the history of college athletics. Never, in the history of college athletics, has a fan base gone from utterly tortured to wholly spoiled faster than Baylor has in the past decade.
I, of all people, have little room to lecture about boasting after having produced an hour long TV show's worth of Baylor videos in attempt to pump up the fan base over the last year. I am the one who has played Jim Rome's "Scrubby Lil' Baylor" rant to the ground while using it as a motivation for pride in what my alma mater has accomplished. But now, it is time to move forward
Today Art Briles' quotes from the Big 12 media day were percolated throughout the Twittersphere and beyond. People reacted. For the first time since we have begun our rise into prominence, the conversation turned to trolling Baylor beyond the typical sources (*cough* aggietech *cough*). Where once we stood as a beacon of hope for the underdog, Baylor is now the powerful enemy. I was upset for all of fifteen seconds until I thought "would I have it any other way?"
The bears are on top of the Big 12. It is time that we recognize, accept and get loud because of it. The team must always carry a chip on their shoulders. The words you hear from the likes of Art Briles and the team, the words that sound like "unsatisfied," "not there yet," "hopeful," should no longer seem like just words to pretend we have more to strive for when we have already accomplished so much. Baylor is past that. We are now expected to be excellent.
It is true - we have forever cemented ourselves in college football lore. We are a team that found a way despite all odds. But you want to know another team that did this very thing? A team that overcame years of disappointment and frustration to win a conference title? The 2003 Kansas State Wildcats.
But ... with all respect to Bill Snyder, the last time I checked - they still have not won a National Championship. If you need more hunger now, check your pulse, it is about time the 2014 season began.