A lot of things happened this weekend that we got to talk about here on ODB, and a lot of other things happened that we did not, so let’s rectify that and start from the top.
When I talk to people about the current state of Baylor fandom, I often bring up that the team and program as currently constructed are far, far different than what most Baylor fans grew up with or got accustomed to over the last 15 years or so. Outside of current students or very recent graduates, most Baylor fans that are reading this post right now probably spent their formative fan years in the Briles Era, where offense ranked first, second, third, etc. on the list of priorities. As a result of that, the defense tended to suffer, and the entire goal of virtually every game (with some obvious exceptions) was just to score the most points you possibly could and hope the defense held on. Watching Baylor games during that time was like watching boxing matches where all the combatants threw were offensive haymakers, again with obvious exceptions. It made for thrilling experiences when you won and were landing those punches, but every defensive possession against a capable opponent was a somewhat harrowing experience. A 17-10 lead at the start of the fourth quarter would have been absolutely terrifying because it meant that our offense was not playing very well—typically a very bad sign when all you care about is offense—and the other team was just a big play away from tying it up.
We are in a very different era now under Dave Aranda and company, which I probably don’t need to explain, but the full conversion of expectations and apprehensions during the game itself has not occurred, at least not to me. Thus, when we are up 17-10 at the start of the fourth, I text people “17 points isn’t winning this game,” which, of course, was wrong. It did. And I probably should have known—or had faith—that it would because Baylor was dominating the game, but I still have those lingering doubts. Thankfully, the team seems not to share that at all and has bought in completely, and there were no apparent doubts at all on the field about how that game was going to turn out, even after we lost our starting QB to injury. Emblematic of the team’s “next man up” mentality, our redshirt freshman backup QB just came into the game, converted a fourth and six before halftime that could have easily led to points for KSU if it failed, did this in the second half, and basically acted like he’d been “the guy” the entire time.
Speaking of Gerry Bohanon...
I Doubt He Plays Against Tech.
Bohanon suffered what looked like a strained hamstring late in the second quarter on Saturday, limped off the field to the locker room, and came back out in the second half in street clothes. There has been no official announcement about his status but when asked about it this morning, Aranda responded as follows:
Baylor coach Dave Aranda said QB Gerry Bohanon (hamstring injury) is day-to-day. "There's probably not going to be someone more determined to get back than him," Aranda said. "He's working really hard to come back.— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) November 22, 2021
"If I had to bet, I'd bet on Gerry."
This fits with what I expected—that we would get somewhat vague statements about how they’ll have to see how things go in rehab and practice this week, and we just don’t know. But my guess is that despite what Aranda says above, we probably do know and just don’t want to say that he won’t play because there’s no reason to tip off Texas Tech, even though they probably know, too. But only probably.
The reason I say this is that hamstring injuries are fairly serious given the importance of a person’s legs to the game of football and tend to linger. Unless the injury on Saturday was really minor, and they held him out solely for precautionary reasons with confidence that we did not need him in that game, the possibility that he comes back within a week seems relatively low. But I’ve been wrong before and have absolutely zero inside information to base this on, so it’s entirely possible Cyborg Bohanon comes out swinging against Tech this week.
Men’s Basketball Chopped Down Stanford on Saturday, Too.
I am hardly equipped to talk about the why or the how of the game itself, but in case you missed it, our Men’s Basketball team took a chainsaw to the Stanford forest on Saturday before the football game started. The score was just 34-28 Baylor at the half, but the Bears ended up winning by 38 due to a 52-20 whipping of the Cardinal in the second half. L.J. Cryer led the team with 21 points—his third game in a row of 20 or more—and freshman phenoms Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan added 15 and 11, respectively. James Akinjo also had 11 in the game.
We were running errands and getting things done Saturday with an eye on the football game start while this was happening, so I mostly followed the game on my phone. I have to tell you, seeing this happen even in that format was somewhat hilarious.
Baylor Men’s Basketball is good again, and the haters (of which there are many) are probably furious. Switching back to football...
The Rest of the Big 12 is Playing Out Great, and the Big 12 Championship Game Has Taken Shape
I’m going to throw up the current Big 12 football standings from the official website for the conference just to catch everybody up to where things are.
So you have Oklahoma and Oklahoma State tied there at the top with 1 loss each (OU to Baylor, OSU to ISU), and since they play each other this week in Bedlam, that will necessarily change. One of them will come out with 1 loss, the other with 2.
If you want Baylor to play in the Big 12 Championship Game this season, you have to root for Oklahoma State in that game. If OU wins, Oklahoma State and Baylor will be tied for second with two losses, but Oklahoma State will own the tiebreaker over us. If Oklahoma State wins, OU and Baylor will be tied, but we hold the tiebreaker. So that leads to...
That’s right. We’re Oklahoma State fans this week unless you have some reason not to want to play in the Big 12 Championship Game. And if that’s the case, I question your sanity because a Championship Game in this particular season, immediately following a summer where OU and UT actively attempted to kill the conference, would be just perfect.
Speaking of Texas, you see them down there just above Kansas (who beat them in Austin, in case you forgot)? With their sixth loss in a row, the Longhorns are now in legitimate jeopardy of finishing last in the conference, and all that needs to happen is for them to lose to Kansas State (totally plausible) and for Kansas to beat West Virginia (less likely but still possible). Interestingly, the Texas-KSU game is on Friday, and the KU-WVU game is on Saturday, so we will know the outcome of the former when the latter happens. And I’m not saying that if KSU beats Texas, WVU should purposefully take a dive against KU, but I will promise not to make fun of them even once for losing that game if that situation plays out. I promise.
- Texas (-2) vs. KSU.
- Iowa State (-14.5) vs. TCU.
- Kansas vs. West Virginia (-15.5).
- Oklahoma State (-4) vs. Oklahoma.
The first two games are on Friday, and everything else is Saturday, including our 11 AM game against Texas Tech.
I’ve been watching this one closely over the last 24 hours to see if there was any reaction due to Bohanon potentially being out. Suffice to say probably not; the line opened at Baylor -15, moved down to 13.5 for a few hours, then rebounded and settled at 14.5 where it is now. The O/U is 52.5.
Texas Tech is coming off a shutout loss to Oklahoma State where they passed for 83 total yards, ran for 25 total yards, and were just demolished by the Cowboys defense. This game seemed close because OSU led just 13-0 at half but was never in doubt. OSU dominated them in every phase of the game, which is somewhat understandable when you realize that Tech played its third and fourth-string QBs in this game, fired its head coach about a month ago, and has a new head coach that maybe isn’t coaching but maybe will this week because oh, that’s right, he used to coach here.
I don’t know what it’s going to mean that Coach McGuire probably knows everything there is to know about our team, particularly on defense, including signals and the like. I do know there were rumors that Oklahoma State knowing some of our offensive signals led to problems earlier in the year, so the near-certainty that McGuire knows all of them (at least on defense) troubles me.
If you put that aside for a second and assume Bohanon plays, 14.5 points seems about right. ESPN’s ($$) SP+ has Baylor ranked 17th as of yesterday with the #33 offense and #15 defense. Texas Tech is ranked 60th with the #43 offense and #88 defense.
Baylor is Now Ranked #9 in the AP Poll, #10 in the Coaches Poll
That’s right, the Coaches Poll has us #10 right behind a team we beat at #9. Oklahoma State is now #7 in both polls, but I would probably have them fifth if I was doing things myself. Yes, I think they are legitimately that good.
Finally, Baylor Women’s Basketball also played this weekend and deserves recognition.
Nalyssa Smith had 30 points and 15 rebounds to lead both sides in both stats, Jordan Lewis had 29 points, but despite their heroic efforts, the fourth quarter comeback for Baylor Women’s Basketball fell just short at 79-76. Baylor is now 3-1 on the season.
Considering Maryland is among the favorites to win the National Championship this year, and Baylor is in game four of a completely new regime, losing a game like this does not disappoint me all that much. In fact, that they were able to come back like they did is extremely impressive under the circumstances. They will only improve from here.
More Coaches Got Fired This Week.
Florida fired Dan Mullen yesterday because going 10-3, 11-2, and 8-4 in your first three years, then 5-6 (so far) in year 4 just isn’t good enough, even if you finished 7th, 6th, and 13th in those prior three years. Now, Mullen’s comments about recruiting (which were probably misconstrued initially) did not help matters, nor did Florida’s current recruiting ranking (41st in 247’s Composite team ranking). Still, this is just the latest example of the utter insanity of the current coaching climate, as evidenced by the buyouts this year alone:
Buyouts by coach this year— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 22, 2021
Orgeron (LSU): $17M
Mullen (UF): $12M
Patterson (TCU): $12M
Helton (USC): $10M
Lake (UW): $9.9M
Fuente (VT): $8.7M
Wells (TT): $7.4M
Lundsford (GS): $1M
Bell (UMass): $940K
Lindsey (Troy): $700K
Arth (Akron): $640K
Edsall (UConn): $400K
With Mullen getting the axe, the latest list of open major positions is as follows:
The Dan Mullen Era is done at Florida. Yet another powerhouse program opens up:— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) November 21, 2021
◻️ Virginia Tech
◻️ Washington State
✅ Texas Tech: McGuire
Note: This is just P5 programs, obviously. There are several others that are open, and all of these positions affect each other as larger programs poach/try to poach coaches from others, who then have to poach themselves, and so on. You can see that in the projection that one of our friends at FOW did below:
Okay here are my predictions:— Melissa Triebwasser (@TheCoachMelissa) November 21, 2021
Florida: Lane Kiffin
LSU: Billy Napier
TCU: Sonny Dykes
USC: James Franklin
Penn State: Matt Campbell
Washington: Bryan Harsin
Va Tech: Tony Elliot
Ole Miss: Mike Elko
Washington State: Graham Harrell
Auburn: Todd Monken
Iowa State: Jon Heacock
It’s going to be a wild few months, including potentially for us.
I Have No News to Report on Dave Aranda.
I know we all want some certainty here, but I haven’t seen or heard anything except speculation, and though Aranda’s name continually comes up in article after article (especially with Bruce Feldman at The Athletic), I don’t think anybody outside of the AD or the Aranda family knows anything at this point. Or maybe some of the people close to Aranda inside the AD, but probably not any random person outside with “sources.”
Finally, check out this rendering of the Foster Pavilion!
Baylor Is Doing Work.
100 (!) new faculty hires— Baylor University (@Baylor) November 22, 2021
Continued residence hall renovations
Fudge Football Operations Center
Robbins Clinic for Autism Research & Practice
And that's just the start for Baylor's next few years:
Let me know if I missed anything!