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An Ode to the 2016 Baylor Football Seniors

Senior Day ceremony to take place before Saturday's home finale against Kansas State

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Baylor football will take the field at McLane Stadium for the final time in the 2016 season. Obviously, this has been a season unlike any other in the history of the Baylor football program and it's one that a lot of people are ready to get finished up and behind them. Myself included. The next time Baylor plays a game in Waco is bound to have a completely different feel to it with a new coach on the sidelines and hopefully a path towards a brighter future.

But Saturday's game is not about the future. It's about this team. The 2016 Baylor Bears. The team that has put up with so much crap that most of them had absolutely nothing to do with. The only place where they could possibly get away from it all was on gameday when they stepped between the lines to battle for each other but even THAT has become impossible over the last couple weeks, boiling over at the TCU game two weeks ago.

Most importantly, Saturday's game is for these seniors. Ryan Reid. Kyle Fuller. Orion Stewart. Shock Linwood. Aiavion Edwards. Lynx Hawthorne. Patrick Levels. And all of the other guys who have poured out their blood, sweat and tears for this program over the last four or five years. They came to Waco with a vision of helping put Baylor football on the map. They've been through massive ups and downs, both on and off the field. They have two Big 12 championships and 38 wins under their belts. They've been the faces of a team that has been beaten down time and time again by those outside the program over the last 15 months.

And a special note here for Seth Russell. I don't think I'm going to say anything profound that hasn't already been said. But this guy was dealt about as cruel a hand as any college football player that I can ever recall. Seth waited three years to get his opportunity, backing up Bryce Petty as the program reached heights that had never been seen before. Seth finally gets his opportunity last season and absolutely excelled until the neck injury he suffered against Iowa State. He worked all the way back from what could have been a debilitating injury to reclaim his starting job for this 2016 team, only to see his season end in an instant yet again. He's been a consummate leader for this squad when leadership was most desperately needed. He doesn't get to play on senior day, but we do get one last chance to show him and the rest of the 2016 seniors just how much we appreciate their efforts and contributions.

So if you're going to be at McLane Stadium on Saturday, please make a note to be in your seats early. These seniors deserve our love as does every guy who has suited up for Baylor this season. I hope to see you all tomorrow. Sic 'Em Bears.