On the surface, Saturday's Baylor-TCU game may be a meaningless non-conference game between two schools that are less than 100 miles from each other. But if you pull back the layers, there are some deep wounds underneath.
For starters, when the Southwest Conference dissolved in the mid-1990's, there are those in the TCU corner who stronger believe Baylor's political clout is the primary reason the Bears got into the more prestigious Big 12 Conference over TCU, who has found a home in the Mountain West Conference.
But while TCU (2-0) has fared better on the football field than Baylor (2-0) since the breakup of the SWC, Saturday's contest could be a good indicator as to where the Bears' program is at this point. Or could it?
"I won't put that much emphasis on it,'' Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin said. "It's the third game of the season.
"We're light years ahead of where we were when we played Sam Houston (State and won 34-3 on opening day), and against Buffalo (and won 34-6 last week). So if we're light years ahead of when we play TCU than we were against Buffalo, then great things are going to happen.''
It will take an overhwelming effort by Baylor if it can win in TCU's backyard. And no, the Bears aren't motivated by the fact that TCU is ranked No. 4 in the country.
"I'm not saying anything bad about them, and you can quote that,'' Griffin said. "But the ranking doesn't go on the field with you.
"It's there. It'll say No. 5 or No. 4 TCU versus Baylor, but when you get on the field that ranking is not there. It's not protecting you. So any team can get beat any day.''
After not executing entirely for four quarters against Sam Houston State and Buffalo, Griffin wonders out loud how difficult it'll be to contain the Bears if they can string four solid quarters together.
"We clicked as an offnese, but we kind of shut it down after two quarters,'' Griffin said of the Buffalo game. "So it'll be fun to go out there and play four quarters of football and see where we're at.''
Griffin had nothing but high praise for TCU's offense and defense.
"The're defnitely a lot better on offense than they have been in the past, or traditionally,'' he said. "They're still great on defense, so it'll be a great game for us. A great game to go out there and continue to rise up and step up, especially in the competition.
"It might be one of the better offenses and better defenses we'll see throughout the year, so it'll be a great game.''
A game the Bears know could be a major confidence builder for them if they're able to pull off the upset.
"If they don't show up ready to play, we will,'' Griffin said. "And whether they show up or not, we're going to show up ready to play.
"I'll make sure of that. I'll make sure of that.''
-- Dwain Price