After choking away a golden opportunity at home last Saturday, and make no mistake that’s what it was, Baylor will play the regular season finale against Texas Tech with everything on the line. The moment wasn’t too big for the Bears. This was not a team that was trying to get over any sort of mental hump; no that was accomplished on homecoming weekend when the Bears came back after being down 10 with just under nine minutes to play. Also achieved, to a lesser extent earlier this year on a game winning field goal against Kansas State. Nor was this a team that had to play over their heads in order to take down a rival on a big stage; no this was a team that simply had to bring their “B” game against a reeling opponent at 11:00 AM. The coaches were out schemed, the players failed to execute, and as a result the Bears lost a head scratcher. Now, Baylor must rebound and get a win for both the team and the Baylor family.
The reasons the team needs a win are obvious. A bowl berth would be a huge confidence builder and would help with recruiting. In addition, the extra practices for our young players could pay dividends down the road. I’m of the belief that bowl wins can translate into the next season. I still remember the 2012 Holiday Bowl win; fans had the feeling that the next year would be special.
Maybe more importantly, at least to us devoted fans who have a special place in our hearts for sports message boards and forums, a Baylor win would drastically cut down on the Matt Rhule coaching ability banter. After a disastrous 2017 campaign, there were, rightfully so, plenty of concerns regarding this coaching staff. I told Kendall in late August that I thought the worst possible outcome, not for the team, but for the fanbase would be a 5-7 season. In my opinion, a 4-win season would attract some pro-Rhule guys to start questioning his ability, and 6-win season would attract the same number of fans that would switch from mistrust to trust. But a 5-win season, losing 4 out of the last 5 games, may cement a mistrust that will be hard to break, at least for 8 more months.
I don’t think anybody wants to spend the offseason debating the mantra of “Trust the Process”, the similarities that Coach Rhule has with Guy Morris, or how the miracles that he worked at Temple will surely work here. I envision much more fun topics of discussion, such as a good recruiting haul, the development of our younger players, the bowl game, and being a trendy pick at competing for a Big 12 Championship Game invite.