This was awful. The Bears entered this game controlling their own destiny to win their third Big 12 title in four years. They leave with a 40 point loss against their biggest rival and even bigger questions about how much what’s happening off the field has ruined what happens on it.
On Friday night another tweet storm came. A number of assistant coaches tweeted this out:
November 5, 2016
Before the game, a group of people were selling t-shirts with #CAB outside the stadium to show support for Art Briles:
#CAB t-shirts selling at tailgate outside McLane Stadium ahead of Baylor-TCU $20 short $25 long sleeve pic.twitter.com/fleGKpykqM— Tony Adame (@t_adame) November 5, 2016
And during the game, some fans in a suite had this:
There's a #CAB banner hanging from one of the suites at McLane Stadium #Baylor #TCUvsBAY pic.twitter.com/urkDe5K6hO— Jessica Morrey (@JessicaMorrey) November 5, 2016
Those last two made me feel like this:
November 5, 2016
What I write next is my opinion of this. There are others that clearly feel differently. Throughout this I have tried to work to keep everyone together. But there comes a time when division is inevitable and not recognizing it does nobody any good. What happened before the game is one such occasion and deserves to be called out.
To argue the Board of Regents should release more information is fine and understandable. To wear a t-shirt with the letters #CAB is ludicrous. To fly a flag with his letters on it during a game is embarrassing. He is not the coach of this team. 17 players had 19 incidents of sexual or domestic assault while he coached the team. Regardless of anything else, that is unacceptable. The people wearing these shirts have nothing to prove he’s innocent and did not deserve to be fired. To take an affirmative step and voice support for a man who is not even the coach of Baylor and had despicable acts happen on his watch is wrong. To any alumni, you did not go to Briles University. You went to Baylor University.
What Baylor could have done after it fired Art Briles in late May was difficult. They elected to retain the entire assistant coaching staff. Such a decision hoped to provide continuity and a way to prevent everything from spiraling out of control. Whether it can still do that following this loss remains to be seen.
I understand those close to Briles and his former players may have difficulty grasping what truly happened. They may want to believe he did nothing wrong. But to be a fan, or a graduate of Baylor and continue to argue for Art Briles as coach, when under his watch “individuals within the football program actively sought to maintain internal control over discipline for other forms of misconduct. Athletics personnel failed to recognize the conflict of interest in roles and risk to campus safety by insulating athletes from student conduct process,” is not okay.
Returning to the game, Baylor trailed its rival 38-14 at the half and it somehow got much worse. Maybe the Bears are way less talented than many, myself included, believed. They are starting players on the defensive line who would not be in the two-deep if not for dismissals and injuries. The offensive line has four new starters and was blown up today. Seth has struggled with accuracy coming back from neck surgery and cannot get much going.
Regardless of those issues, on paper this team should not lose by 40 at home against its rival who is .500. This is not the TCU of 2014. This was also clearly not the Baylor of 2014 either.
Today TCU dominated Baylor in key areas. TCU scored 31 straight points. The Bears failed to even reach that total. Kyle Hicks ran for 5 touchdowns. The Bears ran for 2.8 yards per carry. The Frogs had zero turnovers. The Bears had an interception run back for a touchdown by TCU.
Many questions will remain for this team. A week ago they controlled their own destiny for a spot in the Sugar Bowl and looked like a possible playoff contender. Now they will face questions everywhere. In a game where a star running back pushed a coach and many others questioned the play calling of coaches, the fire on this team will be intense. How they hold up remains to be seen.
Baylor fans seem like they will remain divided until a new season begins. In the interim, I will be in Norman next week to root on the Baylor football team. I am a proud alumni of Baylor University and root for its success. Hopefully that begins next week.