To just to be clear - Baylor University is a great place with a lot of wonderful people who work there, and are alums of that fine institution. With that lollipop firmly applied, the following is just as true as the first statement - the athletic department and now the entire school is behaving like elitist, spoiled crooks. I mean that in the best possible sense.
My continued harping against Baylor is not some personal bias born from my roots at TCU and Fort Worth. My continued harping against Baylor is the school's gaming of a good ole' boy system, highway robbery of its fans, and now obnoxious pandering made possible because it has money.
Baylor is betting that despite this new college football playoff format, it is still about who you know as much as who you beat.
The latest example is the school hiring a PR firm to make plead its case to be included in college football's first playoff. Whose PR firm is it? Kevin Sullivan, who once worked in President George W. Bush's administration. Who would have known Dubya? The president of Baylor, Mr. Kenneth Starr, who was Dubya's Daddy George's solicitor general.
This is a school that used politics to enter the Big 12 back in the mid '90s, and threatened legal action to ensure it would have a place in the country club when the conference looked like it would implode a few years ago.
Hiring a PR firm to make sure we all know how good their team is would not be an issue had the school had the foresight not to compile a non-conference schedule that is both insulting, and robbery. We all know Baylor is good, and we all know they are trying to do an end around into the playoff$$.
Here is the AP top 15 and their best non-conference opponent.
1. Alabama vs. West Virginia ... Neutral field. Legit.
2. Oregon vs. Michigan State ... At Oregon. Totally legit.
3. Florida State vs. Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Florida ... Legit.
4. TCU vs. Minnesota ... Turned out to be far more legit than originally predicted.
5. Baylor at Buffalo ... A joke.
6. Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech ... Hokies are a .500 team, and this win in Columbus remains shocking.
7. Michigan State at Oregon ... Legit.
8. Arizona vs. Nevada ... Nevada is 7-5, but this is garbage.
9. Kansas State vs. Auburn ... Legit. Auburn won.
10. Mississippi State vs. Southern Miss. A joke. Hail State used its SEC West hall pass on this.
11. Wisconsin vs. LSU ... Neutral field. Legit.
12. Georgia Tech vs. Georgia ... Rivalry. Legit.
13. Ole Miss vs. Boise State ... Neutral field. Legit. Boise is Top 25.
14. Missouri vs. Indiana ... A Power 5 team in name only, but .... The best part is IU won.
15. Georgia vs. Clemson, Georgia Tech ... Totally legit.
Baylor fandom has been screaming - "They all play nobody", but as the above Top 15 suggests, that's not true. There is Minnesota, and then there is Buffalo. There is Boise State, and there is Northwestern State.
No Power 5 coach should schedule a death row for non-conference, but one legit team is the way to go.
Baylor's fans should be leading the charge on some of this. They are the ones paying to watch garbage.
For Baylor's two non-conference home opponents this season, it charged $75 for a single game ticket against SMU, and $40 against Northwestern State. The irony is Northwestern State was probably the better opponent than SMU. As a ticket-buying customer in search of entertainment for an afternoon, this is a waste of money.
Should Baylor defeat Kansas State on Saturday and be included in the college football playoff, it will have served notice to every other Power 5 team that there is simply no need to play a real opponent in non-conference unless there is a TV executive pointing a giant pile of money at their head.
If Baylor is included in the Final Four, good for them. We are talking about a program that had been dead for decades that is as relevant as Ohio State, Florida State and the rest.
It will be how Baylor reached the Final Four that no one - even their own ticket-paying fans - should like.
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