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09/16/2013

Baylor is legit, now the Bears need to play somebody

Lache-seastrunk-baylor-bears-heisman-guarantee-570x418Any doubt that Art Briles is anything other than a bad, bad man should be ejected after what he has done at Baylor University. Between his time at Stephenville High School, the University of Houston and now Baylor his legacy as one of the better coaches in the country should be intact.

There is a reason why his name is floating among the many to replace Mack Brown at Texas, whenever the money brokers in Austin decide to push Mack upstairs.

He is to Baylor what Gary Patterson is to TCU. Art has made Baylor legit, and nationally relevant. 

Now the time has come for Briles and Baylor to play somebody for real outside of the conference. 

On Saturday, No. 20 Baylor (2-0) will host Louisiana-Monroe in Waco in the Bears' third guarantee game of the season. The "Guarantee" works both ways - the visitor receives a nice check, and the home team receives a win.

Every single building team does this - loads up on a weak schedule in order to pad their record and reach a bowl. Coaches call this "scheduling for success", i.e. - play crap. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder could write a book on the subject.

Since Briles arrived in Waco in 2008, he followed that method. It works, provided your team wins. If your team is bad enough, it doesn't always work - ask Kansas coach Charlie Weis.

There was a time in Waco, like when Briles arrived, this plan routinely blew up in Baylor's face. 

Baylor is winning now, and now it needs to play a real team. Not this Wofford, Buffalo stuff to entertain the home crowd and pave the way to a guaranteed bowl berth. Give the good people in Waco and at Baylor a real non-conference opponent it can sink its teeth into.

"We play our schedule whomever that is; we respect everybody we play," Briles said on a Big 12 conference call last week. "I don't think it would be earth-shattering news who is supposed to win and everybody thinks is going to win doesn't always do that. We respect everybody we play regardless of what their perception is."

Ahhh yes, the proven line of "They could always beat us." They could, but they shouldn't.

Schedule a home-and-home with a real team, preferably one from a BCS conference. Note - Duke does not count.

The counter to this argument is that schedules are made 1,000 years in advance, and that Baylor and Briles were stuck with these opponents. That holds water, until you look at Baylor's future non-conference opponents:

ArtBriles_crop_340x234'14: SMU, Northwestern State, Buffalo
'15: SMU, Lamar, Rice
'16: SMU, Rice, (need 1 non conference game)
'17: SMU, Texas-San Antonio, Duke
'18: SMU, Texas-San Antonio, Duke
'19: SMU, Texas-San Antonio, Rice

If Baylor is any good, there is not a single challenging game among those scheduled non-conference opponents. Could that change? Possibly, but it won't.

Baylor does not need to play Georgia, USC and Ohio State in the non-conference, but every now again it should play an opponent of equal ability. 

Bottom line, Baylor is better and beyond this.
Play somebody.

Twitter @MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

Daniel Kirk

Mac, I presume you meant like the schedule on which
TCU built its reputation before entering the Big 12?
Right.

Chris smith

Duke went bowling last year.....also the gimmes in the big 12 are pretty few compared to other conferemces

Scott Starks

Way to examine Baylor's future non-conference schedules and nobody else's.

David

Baylor plays NINE BCS opponents every year (as do all Big 12 teams). SEC teams play EIGHT in their conference, which is why they schedule a BCS team as one of their non-con games - to get to a total of NINE. No Big 12 tea, needs to schedule BCS in non-con due to the # of conference games they play. Mac, why the negative spin on Baylor (and the rest of the Big 12)?

Brian Jennings

The Bears had SMU on the schedule this year and SMU bought the game out. Baylor also had Notre Dame on the schedule for 2015 in New Orleans until Notre Dame bought out the game. The non-conference is a blend of staying healthy, strengthening your recruiting base (ex: playing SMU in Dallas, playing UTSA in San Antonio) and some easier games before going into a tough conference schedule. Ask TCU how they are adjusting to a tougher conference schedule.

HonkeyBritches

With only a minor amount of research one can find out why Baylor played Wofford. How is that tough noncon working out for TCU? How about for Texas? Hmmm.

Skeeter

Mac makes some good points. However, let's examine the benefits of the "soft" schedule to start the season:

- Baylor won these games
- Baylor is ranked in the Top 20
- Baylor's young QB and new WR have gotten some confidence.
- Baylor's backup QB has logged meaningful PT and now just might be ready to step in successfully if needed.
- Unlike prior years, backups up and down the roster have gotten valuable PT.
- People are talking about the Bears, thanks in part, to their huge wins, albeit against weaker competition.

Obviously there are some downsides (eed better competition makes you better, etc.), but I'm pleased with how things have begun for the Bears so far.

91Bear

Baylor will win this weekend and Mac will say, "Yeah, but ULM isn't that good. Wake Forest is terrible." Then, Baylor will beat WV and Kansas State and he'll say, "Yeah, but the Big 12 is really down this year. Both those teams were better last year." Just win, Bears.

SW

"On Saturday, No. 20 Baylor (2-0) will host Louisiana-Monroe in Waco in the Bears' third guarantee game of the season. The "Guarantee" works both ways - the visitor receives a nice check, and the home team receives a win."

So was Baylor paid to travel to ULM last year?

Will Baylor be paid to travel to Buffalo next year?

Back in February, did Baylor cancel its game vs SMU this year to play Wofford?

I understand, Mac. You have a tough job - sometimes facts get in the way of writing what you want - I'd ignore them every once in a while if I were in your shoes also.

Jim Merritt

The way the Horns are going they will not be the team to measure the Bears against.

Waldo

"On Saturday, No. 20 Baylor (2-0) will host Louisiana-Monroe in Waco in the Bears' third guarantee game of the season. The "Guarantee" works both ways - the visitor receives a nice check, and the home team receives a win"

Wrong. Neither the Buffalo nor the Monroe game is a guarantee game. Both are home-and-away games. Baylor played at Monroe in 2012 and Baylor will play in Buffalo in 2014. Why does the FWST accept such sloppy factual research?

Marco

Who cares what this dope says?

His wife is a better writer, too.

THE OSU

Um, Daniel Kirk, you should stop talking before you say anything else really stupid... The most recent of TCU's Pre-Big12, NON-conference opponents have included Texas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Clemson, Boise St., Baylor, Oregon St., Virginia, and LSU(scheduled before Big12 invite). Their future home-and-homes are with Arkansas, Minnesota, and Ohio State. Yeah, pretty much exactly like Baylor's....

Mark

Um, The OSU, if you want to go back as far as those stellar TCU non-conference opponents, how about Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Boston College, North Carolina State, Cal -- all of those were Baylor non-con opponents when they were IN the Big XII (you know, while TCU was still the same crappy team it was back in the SWC days. Now run along....

"The" OSU

Um....Mark. During the time period TCU played the teams I listed, Baylor played exactly, uh, let's see here, oh yeah- NONE of the teams you listed. Who they DID play during those SAME years, is Stephen F. Austin, Wofford, University of Louisiana-Monroe, Kent Freaking State, Fluffalo, Northwestern State, Wake Forest, Rice, Washington State, Connecticut, and TCU. Go back and reread where my post said, "The....Most......RECENT...."
I put the periods in so you would have to read it slower, maybe you will get it this time.
Now, settle down, it's time for your nap.

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