Let me introduce you to me: Cynical Jeff. I guess I earned that name somewhere along the line even though I have accurately been picking how bad the Bears have been the past few years. This year, I predicted 4-7 and no bowl. It’s looking accurate, at least the no bowl part. I’m not so sure about the 4 win level right now. Note I never count bullcrap wins against Division 1-AA opponents in my predictions. Baylor is currently 0-2 in my book.
But let me get to my message this week. After the TCU game, Coach Morriss came out per usual and talked about how tired he is of losing games like this. No kidding, coach. Me, too. I’m tired of a lot of things when it comes to Baylor football – and in no particular order . . . here you go.
(1) Pre-season hype. I’m tired of Baylor fans running down the schedule and figuring out how many games we will win using crazy metrics like we almost beat them in Norman last year and they lost their starting QB.
(2) Over-hyped players and stupid nicknames. My first experience with this was Odell James. Then Greg Cicero, Ben Gay, Terrance Parks, Mosley, Whitaker, etc. There was the Great White hope – which I don’t even know who that was . . . was it Jeff Watson, Cicero or Guy Tomcheck. There was Derek ‘The Trolley’ Lagway. Not very threatening. And then of course Thunder and Lightning which have a combined 97 yards on the ground this year. I’m sure I have missed a few in there, but the new over-hyped player is Mr. Gettis. I’ve heard someone call him a “young Randy Moss.” I’ve heard about his 40 time. But all I know is we run 5 receiver sets and the dude is not on the field while a 275-pound converted QB sits in the slot. Something’s wrong. He’s overhyped.
(3) This new offense. Sure, it takes time for the offense to get integrated but it doesn’t fit our current personnel. You need a QB that can make throws to the outside where the real weapons of Ziegler and Shelton exist. Bell cannot make those throws. He can make some decent throws over the middle. However that is where we stick our average slot receivers (no more Fatty Parks jokes . . . whoops) who cannot make plays with the ball. We have a supposedly decent running back tandem of Thunder and Lightning which doesn’t get used correctly. Lightning gets thrown swing passes with no blockers in front. I could go on, but let me move on.
(4) Shawn Bell. I appreciate what Shawn Bell did last year. I wasn’t one of those screaming for the backup QB now TE (insert your own joke here) last year. But, if we are committed to running this offense, why is he the QB? First, it generally takes time for this type of offense to jell together, right? So let’s put in the hands of a senior QB who is gone next year . . . makes no sense. Secondly, if you are going to put your playmakers on the outside then you have to have a QB who can throw a strike 15 yards across the field and hit the receivers on the move. Not Shawn Bell’s strength.
(5) Losing close games. Hey it could be worse. I remember the Steele era where the games weren’t even close. Hats off to Morriss for fielding a competitive team and getting some decent recruits but it isn’t translating into any bowl games. In baseball, they say that coaches make a difference in 1-run or 2-run ballgames. The same can be said for football if you change it to 3 to 7 point games. Again, I can forgive last year a little bit as our players “were still learning how to win.” As much as I hate that line in sports, I see some truth in it. Well, it’s next year and we have already let two games slip away. You can blame the players or the coach. I choose to blame the million dollar coach. He should know how to win and it is his job to teach those ways to the players.
There will be more things I’m tired of that come out next week but I must end this column for now.
Very disappointing start to the season. We needed three non-conference wins and will now be fortunate to get two, with a scrappy Army team up next. My prediction stands: no bowl for Baylor.