Dex wasn't able to join me on this hype post, but he wants to say that everything I say during the rest of this article he fully supports and endorses! Every single word!
So, first of all, let me speak to you darthbear-to-reader. I'd like to tell you my 2014 Baylor-TCU experience, if you've managed to avoid me dishing this story in person. It was October 11, 2014, and I was scheduled to take the SAT exam at 8:15 AM. I was furious because I never miss watching Baylor football; the last documented Baylor game I didn't see, start to finish, was in 2009, when I was 13. I don't miss my Bears. I wouldn't get home until the literal moment the game kicked off, but I did, and like the rest of America, the next however many hours of football entertained me beyond belief. Allow me to engage in a quick sub-soapbox: If you knock; no, if you insult the Big 12 for "not playing" defense, I don't consider you a credible football fan. The fact that there are people who enjoy 9-7 SEC football more than 61-58 flabbergasts me; we play in the most exciting conference in college football. I don't care if it's 161-158. Don't come at us with that poo.
Anyway, back to the game. I believe it was Paul Dawson who picked off Bryce Petty and took it to the house to make the score 58-37; I should know, but whatever. I immediately stormed to the kitchen and punched my sink. Yes. I punched my sink. I don't like losing, sue me. My dad immediately, and I kid you not, says, "We can score 21 in 11 minutes easy. You might want to come back in here." I mumbled something along the lines of, "Yeah, whatever", and just stood there for a moment composing myself. Again, I don't like losing, and I especially don't like losing to Gary Patterson; not that it's a normal thing for Baylor to lose to Gary Patterson, cause we never do, but I digress. So as I'm standing there accepting our imminent doom, the Bears drive down the field and Chafin scores. 58-44. I haven't moved since my pick-six temper tantrum, and since then Baylor had scored and TCU hadn't, so logically I wasn't going to move. This was the spot.
It was then that I knew.
We stop them. Antwan Goodley touchdown. We stop them again. I'm freaking out. Brad Nessler's voice gradually increases: "I said earlier Baylor might run a hundred plays - that was number one HUNDRED, HERE'S 101, TOUCHDOWN!!!" At that moment, I let out the best "WOOOOO" scream I've ever been able to thrust.
AND THEN CHRIS. I ran out of my kitchen, hugged my dad, and I swear if I wanted to run the 120 miles to Waco and rush the field myself right then I probably could have. I have, to this day, never been happier by a Baylor football win, and I obviously hope that changes during this bowl season.
There are certain sports memories I have that I'm never going to forget. I remember for my 14th birthday (October 22), back in 2010, we were in Waco for homecoming against Kansas State, and that was Friday night, and the Texas Rangers were playing in Game 6 of the ALCS up 3 games to 2 on the New York Yankees, and I remember my dad and I checking the score all during "Pigskin" and celebrating together at a gas station when I found out we won. The Mavs winning the championship in 2011. Watching Jamie Benn lead a doubted Dallas Stars team to it's first playoff appearance in five years and subsequently winning a few games. RG3 winning the Heisman. All of these are memories I won't ever forget, that are locked in my brain forever, and Baylor-TCU 2014 is right up in there.
Man, I love Baylor.
I have a couple points I'd like to get across before the game tonight.
1. It's just a football game.
This is important. Please keep this in mind. We're all adults here. I'm not picking out TCU fans; this goes for both sides. The revivalry is a great one, but let's keep it fun and friendly. I've said it a thousand times on here, I love rivalries that induce creative trash talk and get you excited for the matches. I severely hate rivalries where all the fans do is reiterate the same points to each other in a constant cycle and get defensive and insecure when someone insults your team. It's college football. Baylor and TCU both have SB Nation sites, respectively, that are nothing short of fantastic. Everything you comment or post on the internet, whether you intend it or not, represents Baylor. Keep it clean, keep it fun.
2. That being said, go freakin' crazy.
I said it above, I don't like losing to TCU. This game is more than about recruiting, more than about head to head for a year, more than about any of that. This game is about pride. Are we seriously about to let Gary Patterson, the dude who thinks nothing is worse than what happens south of his school, walk out of AGC with a win and a feeling of satisfaction knowing he claimed victory over us? No. We're not. He should've had a sit-down with Dana because he has no idea how to beat Baylor. If you're at the game, yell louder than you would at McLane when TCU has the ball. I want to hear you on TV. Bring Baylor flags. I love seeing those. This is our biggest game of the year yet; I don't care if we play the game in a dang hospital thanks to all these injuries. I hardly slept last night. I'm tired of hearing garbage like "Baylor can't win bowl games". We have the same amount of bowl wins as TCU since 2012, boys. I'm tired of hearing garbage like "12-1 > 11-2". I don't want an offseason of that again. I'm tired of hearing garbage about rushing the field, about Ukwuachu (because apparently that's something people use as basis for insult), about Briles being a "whiner". I'm tired of all that. I want to shut them up tomorrow***.
***This is not all TCU fans. These are the fools I the absolute pleasure of coming across on Twitter. I am aware TCU has great fans, and I am aware we have some terrible ones ourselves. I'm addressing the bad fans. Y'all know who you are, if you're reading this.
3. If we win, keep your optimism limited but alive.
I'm a pessimist. Self-admitted. I will never deny that I jump the gun any time something bad happens to Baylor. That being said, our chances to make the playoff are practically completely depleted now. We need Oklahoma State to beat a red hot Oklahoma squad Saturday. That HAS to happen, or it's a no-go. Let's say OSU ends up victorious, though. If we win out, we're Big 12 champs. That's certainly something to boast, but there's 5 conferences looking to represent in the playoff, and that doesn't include independent Notre Dame. The way I see it, Stanford HAS to beat Notre Dame. They won't get bumped otherwise, and even then, it might mean Stanford leaps us next Tuesday. Stanford wouldl play the winner of USC-UCLA in the Pac-12 championship; both are good enough teams to beat Stanford. UCLA has 3 losses and USC has four, so if one of them can manage to upset Stanford, the Pac-12 is essentially eliminated from the playoff at that point.
Alabama is going to play Florida in the SEC championship, barring some weird Iron Bowl upset (hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha) and an Ole Miss win over Mississippi State. But go Auburn. Florida hosts FSU this weekend, and I really think FSU is gonna win. Dalvin Cook is a monster, and Florida's offense may not be able to keep themselves in this game. But let's assume Florida wins; I'll get back to this game later. It's safe to say that the winner of the SEC Championship is a lock for the playoff; it's quite literally a given. A 12-1 SEC champion missing the playoff might actually make the earth explode. Yes, that even means Florida, who I still believe is going to get plastered by the Tide. Florida is a fantastic defensive team, but their offense is... quite the opposite. They're boring, and they lost to a now-mediocre LSU. They beat Vanderbilt 9-7 at home, and their best win is Ole Miss. Sorry, I ain't buying it. Anyway, yeah, an SEC team is going. Surprise.
Iowa plays Nebraska this weekend. On the road. And they're only a two point favorite. Nebraska RB Imani Cross has been playing out of his mind the last two weeks, and Iowa's front four have a huge test. Don't expect a Nebraska upset, but... it's totally possible. Nebraska isn't as putridly awful as they were two months ago. They beat Michigan State. Anything is possible. Michigan State plays Penn State in East Lansing, so that's a gimme. If both MSU and Iowa win, they'll play in the Big 10 championship. As it is with the SEC, one of those two teams will make it in. It's inexplicable, because a depleted TCU would beat Iowa tonight. Blargh.
Clemson isn't losing. Sorry. It's just not happening. They're the best team in the country, and I have no problem with that; they're a likable team with a great head coach whom I respect wholeheartedly. I don't WANT them to lose. Should they decide to, however, the closest other ACC team to the top four is Florida State at 13, who I mentioned heads to Gainesville to play the Gators of Florida this weekend. So, it's basically Clemson or nobody, but it's gonna be Clemson.
IN SUMMARY. You've surely read the rooting guide to rivalry week post by Fankhauser; it's excellent stuff. I'll go ahead and tell you who I'm rooting for and who I think needs to win/lose so Baylor can work their way into the final four.
BIG 12: Baylor/TCU-Texas: Bruh.
BIG 12: Oklahoma State-OU: Oklahoma State. If OSU doesn't win Bedlam, none of this matters at all.
BIG TEN: Michigan-Ohio State: Assuming a Michigan State win, it doesn't matter at all. Assuming a Michigan State loss, Michigan.
BIG TEN: Iowa-Nebraska: Nebraska. Because, go away, Iowa. YOU'RE NOT THAT GOOD.
ACC: Florida-FSU: Florida. Midas well. It doesn't have huge implications. Bama and Florida aren't both making the playoff, and UNC is gonna play Clemson in the ACC championship (even if Clemson loses to 3-8 South Carolina bahahfhafdhjskfjkdlsafj I'm dead please God let this happen because it'd just be great), but they first must beat a talented squad in Jacoby Brissett and 7-4 NC State (10th highest scoring offense in the country). So Clemson, FSU, and UNC all have very realistic chances at losing this weekend. COME ON, SOCAR, FLORIDA, AND NC STATE. CHAAAAOOOOS.
PAC-12: Stanford-Notre Dame: Stanford. As I stated above, we need Stanford to beat Notre Dame and then lose the Pac-12 Championship to USC or UCLA. That essentially has to happen, actually, because Notre Dame isn't getting bumped out if they win.
Before any of this, we have to beat TCU tonight. We have to beat Texas on December 5. AND I AIN'T GONNA SIT WITH A 9-3 RECORD. I ESPECIALLY AIN'T GONNA TAKE LOSSES TO TCU OR TEXAS. These next two games are about respect. We're gonna go earn it. It's time for CJ13 to do his thing. KD. Shock. Coleman. Drango Unchained. Coleman. Billings. Blanchard. Stewart. Briles. Gear up, Baylor nation, because it's time to ride into the night.
It's 12:31 AM on Friday, November 27. I'm wrapping this up because I need sleep; two lovable little cousins wake me bright and early, and I'm enjoying the wonderfully crisp Spicewood, TX air as I prepare myself for the game I've waited over 400 days for. One last thought before I shut it down and head to sleep.
My love for Baylor football will never die. I never attended this school, and quite frankly, I probably never will, but since the time of my conception a love for Baylor was implanted into my soul. Without Baylor I might never have found a love for college football, even if my team went 4-8 every year growing up. Without Baylor I might not have ever met John Loop, my Two Minute Drill co-host and best bud. Without Baylor I might not have met the wonderful KimboSmash who puts up with my antics on a daily basis and never fails to let me know when I'm off the rails. Without Baylor I might not have ever befriended Matthew Tennant, my Twitter BFF and now one of the greatest friends I've ever had. Without Baylor I might not have ever met McBeezy, who is by my side whenever I need him. Without Baylor I might not have met Dex, who helps me put together hype posts like these despite the fact I hate his homeland (nothing but love, Dex man). I might not have met Peter, who's been there to give me advice in really tough times. And Mark, and Amy, and Brad, Fankhauser, Matt Wilson... man, everyone who's taken my dumb ol' self in and allowed me to express myself both on this blog and in person over the last two years. I can't tell you all how much you mean to me. It has been nothing short of an incredible journey along with this football team, and also with you guys, who allow me to come on here (and Twitter) and spew my generally insane, hot-take opinions. I found amazing people on this site that I've had the absolute pleasure of befriending since 2013, some of whom I hope never leave my life. And it all happened because of Baylor, a school I have no absolute direct affiliation to. It's inexplicable, but Baylor is a part of my inner being. It's who I am and it's shaped who I've been. Wherever I'm headed, Baylor's always going to be a part of that, someway. You're all the best, and I think the world of not only Baylor, but yourselves as well. I love you all.
But we ain't here to give hugs. We here to win football games. It's us vs. the world, and I don't intend on accepting defeat. Buckle up, because here we go.
We're the X-Wings, and the TIE Fighters are Gary Patterson, TCU, Texas, the playoff committee, Heather Dinich, Jon Wilner, and the rest of the haters. Let's win this damn thing. #LetsRide. #SicEm. #I'mEatin'FrogLegsForDinner. #BGOD. #BangBang.