Baylor Homecoming is one of the most anticipated annual celebrations on campus. It brings a sense of school spirit and high energy to Baylor that is impossible to ignore or avoid. This weekend, the Bears hope to use some of that enthusiasm to grab their first conference win of the season.
“It’s a big deal for us as a football team, a big deal for Baylor University, and everybody loves Baylor University,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “Our deal is, things may not have jumped the way everybody wanted them to, but we’re going to rally up and we need a big full support at home to help get this ship going right. It’s a big opportunity for everybody the way I see it.”
After their loss to Iowa State last weekend, the Bears still sit winless in the Big 12 at 0-4, right alongside this week’s rivals, the Kansas Jayhawks.
With a home crowd that is sure to be huge, Homecoming would be the prime weekend to turn around the season and keep alive the dreams of a bowl game. But to some players, Homecoming means nothing more than any other game in the season.
“It doesn’t mean anything to us as players,” tight end Jordan Najvar said. “We’re just focused on the game. We’re all about KU this week.”
Today’s game will be Baylor’s first home game in three weeks. Briles said this week his team is planning to come out and protect its field, a task at which it was unsuccessful when it recorded its second loss of the season at home against TCU on Oct. 13.
As Baylor works to make the best of the rest of the season, the most effective strategy for the team right now is to move past the disappointments and continue to hold hope for the next game.
“It’s frustrating, obviously,” quarterback Nick Florence said. “We know we’re a much better team than the last four games have shown. I think the biggest thing right now is getting a W.”
Although all factors will be and have been in Baylor’s favor in its most recent, and perhaps most disappointing games in a couple of years, there is no way to predict how the defense will be able to respond to the Jayhawks’ running game.
Leading the Kansas running game is James Sims, who has 622 yards for the season with five touchdowns, and Tony Pierson with 437 yards and three touchdowns.
As the Baylor defense continues to struggle, starving the Bears of a necessary win, this week’s game against Kansas is more than critical. Both teams sit winless at the bottom of the Big 12, but today, one team will win and the other will be left as a bottom dweller for the rest of the season in the toughest conference in the country. -- Savannah Pullin