1-11. One win in twelve tries. One win in a season in which we played Liberty, UTSA, and Kansas, all games that should have been wins no matter how bad things could get. Record-wise, it’s the worst Baylor season since 1999, when we also won one game but didn’t lose eleven because we only played eleven total.
Eleven losses means eleven failures—games we wanted to win and didn’t. We can call them failures because it is what they are. But it isn’t how they have to be defined or remembered. Those games were also eleven chances for our guys to get better, to respond to adversity and show what they’re made of. Eleven opportunities to don the green and gold and continue to rebuild this program following one of the worst scandals in the history of college sports. Never forget that character is judged not by how many times you fall down but how many times you get back up. Despite the eleven losses, there was never a point this season where I thought our team had quit, that they had given up. That’s the definition of character.
If that’s not enough, here’s another number you should remember from this season: 17. That’s the number of true freshmen that have played this season. Of those 17, 11 started games. Add in redshirts and you get to 25 freshmen playing meaningful roles, including your leading passer (Charlie Brewer) and rusher (John Lovett), and the defensive leader in pass break-ups (Harrison Hand). Of the top ten non-QBs in terms of total yardage (all of whom have more than 200 yards), three are upperclassmen: Terence Williams, Chris Platt, and Trevor White. Only Williams is leaving after this season. Platt talks about little else but coming back. Number eleven on that list is true freshman Gavin Holmes, who I didn’t include only because eleven is slightly more arbitrary an endpoint than ten. Before he got hurt, he looked like he might be one of the best of all. Ditto for Trestan Ebner.
Another number: 142.6. That was Brewer’s QB rating coming into this game, based in large part on a 68.6% completion percentage. Then he went out today and put up a 168.6 against the vaunted TCU defense despite having basically no protection from his offensive line. Assuming he didn’t improve at all in the coming years, 142.6 would already be fifth-best for a career in Baylor history (for QBs with 175 or more attempts) behind Bryce Petty (166.0), Seth Russell (159.4), Robert Griffin III (158.9), and Nick Florence (144.1). As FS1 noted in the broadcast today, his 68.6% completion percentage coming in was the highest of any freshman P5 QB in the last decade.
Another number: 9. It’s the number of receivers we had this year with more than 100 yards, led by Denzel Mims, a sophomore, with nearly 1,100. They’re all coming back. Or 6, the number of rushers (QBs included) with more than 100 yards, including Lovett and Brewer. I could keep going to talk about how many front-seven players will be back on defense (all except Nance and Young) alongside Hand and Grayland Arnold at corner.
The final number: 0. It’s the number of committed recruits we’ve lost (so far) despite our record. Even when some of our fans—people that, largely speaking, already went to Baylor and/or have loved it for longer than a year or so—bailed, those guys haven’t. As Coach Rhule said earlier this week, they will be the ones “that put Baylor over the top and keep us over the top for a long time.” I, for one, will stick with them and the rest of the team as long as they stick with us. They deserve nothing less.
The next time this Baylor team takes the field in a real game will be a little over nine months from now against Abilene Christian. I’m looking forward to it like few games in our history, and I hope you are, too.