I would love the privilege of being able to travel to every Baylor football game. Unfortunately, I do not get those perks, so I watched the offensive shootout that took place in West Virginia from the comfort of my home.
As I watched the game and listened to the announcers, I became enraged. Enraged at the fact that Baylor can have a record-breaking game against the No. 9 team in the nation, and still be continually bashed on national television.
Multiple times during the game, the announcers commented on how the West Virginia offense is demolishing the Baylor defense. How could Baylor be giving up so many points? Their defense was horrific.
Not one word was spoken about the defense of West Virginia.
Hello?! Were the announcers watching the same game as me? Baylor only lost by one touchdown and the West Virginia defense gave up 63 points. How could anyone possibly say Baylor was the only team out there struggling defensively?
It just did not make any sense.
Statistically, both teams had two of the worst defenses in the Big 12 going in to the game. And during the game, neither team’s secondary threw up impressive numbers. West Virginia had one interception in the first two minutes of the game and recorded three sacks compared to Baylor’s one, but other than that, there was no spectacular defensive performance from either side.
So here is my question. Why, during that game, was the immediate response of the announcers to only point out the faults of Baylor, while letting the West Virginia defense slide past any criticism?
The answer, in my opinion, is simple. And it is a problem that has haunted Baylor football for too long.
I’m not sure it really exists for Baylor football right now. Which is sad when you look at the incredible things that have been accomplished since the introduction of head coach Art Briles.
No one would have expected a Heisman winner to come out of Waco, Texas. But one did. Still, even during that time, no one was significantly impressed with the team. Everyone was impressed with RG3, who, ironically, always gave the majority of the credit back to his teammates. After he entered the draft, Baylor fell back off the map of college football.
So why is this, and how, or can this ever change?
I think the real problem is grounded in Baylor’s culture. As a student at this university, I can attest to the fact that the main goal of this school is to be a sound and highly reputable academic institution.
The result of this has historically been a lack in effort and money to build up the football program. The school would rather produce groundbreaking research and highly intelligent students than five or more NFL draft picks a year.
I feel the problem today is that a university must choose rather they want to be academically innovative or a football powerhouse, which is unfortunate. And up to this point, Baylor has chosen academics.
But like everything else in the world, there is always someone who has it all. Stanford.
Currently, Stanford has a great football program with an academic history that is nationally renown. It is almost as if Stanford has found the niche market for athletics. It’s where the smart jocks go.
I don’t know if the credit should go to incredible recruiters, a solid university vision, a good athletic director, or just pure luck. Whatever the strategy though, Stanford has managed to snag the best of both worlds.
As a student, I feel that this is what Baylor is trying to achieve, and if it is looking for a model to follow, Stanford is the perfect example. Baylor must somehow find a way to balance academics and athletics, without compromising the integrity of either.
If Baylor can continue high performance in both areas of the university, success will come. It will be hard, tedious, and expensive, but this perfect synergy of academics and football is the beginning of the perfect recipe. -- Savannah Pullin