Well here we are again. This upcoming Saturday Baylor will have an opportunity for a program building win that is vital for our bowl game chances this year. The last time we were in this position was just a couple of weeks ago, and unfortunately, it ended in disaster for our Bears. Duke dominated the game in the first half and when Baylor decided to play, it was too little too late. I don’t think this Baylor team can afford to have that happen again, and maybe more importantly coach Matt Rhule cannot afford for that to happen again. A loss against Kansas State at home, and the wheels would be in serious jeopardy of falling off. This is a must win game for Coach Matt Rhule in year 2 of his tenure.
I was in Norman on Saturday afternoon and there were plenty of positives to take away from the game. Greg Roberts showed playmaking ability, we were able to convert on 3rd and shorts, and Charlie Brewer continued to showcase his talents. However, the negatives were also on display, and probably the most frustrating part is the fact that it’s the same mistakes week in and week out; missed tackles, communication problems, dropped passes, penalties, and a very Steele-esque play that resulted in Oklahoma’s first touchdown of the 2nd half. If I’m being honest, I really wasn’t that discouraged throughout the whole game. You see, much like most lifelong fans, I’ve been in the stands for true blowout games involving Baylor. Games where Baylor didn’t score any points and was lucky to get a first down. It wasn’t until I saw Charlie Brewer take an absolutely unnecessary shot in the back late in the 4th quarter, with the game completely out of reach that I became irritated. The time to be tough and aggressive was on a 4th and 2 with the game still in reach in the first quarter, not on 4th and 10 down 30 points late in the 4th quarter.
Mathematically, this coming Saturday’s game is not a “must win” game in the literal sense, but for all intents and purposes, a Baylor loss narrows the margin for error significantly. Fortunately, I think most people will agree that this is a game where fans expect Baylor to win. I don’t think they’ll have an answer for all our talent on offense and their offense has struggled all year. Favored in front of a home crowd, it’ll be tough for Coach Rhule to spin a loss.
Fans have been patient. We have endured losses to lesser competition (Liberty and UTSA), cheered our team on just for playing teams close (OU, WVU), and have watched overall frustrating football the past year and half. It’s time for a payoff, and I think that starts by beating a reeling Kansas State team. As expected, besides Oklahoma and West Virginia, the Big 12 looks wide open. Each other team having weaknesses that can be exploited on the way to a Baylor victory on any given Saturday. We need 6 wins and I truly believe we can do it THIS year, especially the way our schedule is set up.
I hope the fans have turned on the pressure on this coaching staff and I hope they feel the pressure. After all, I recall hearing a former Baylor Heisman winner once say “ No Pressure, No Diamonds.”