Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Real Baylor Team Just Stood Up

As JudgeChamber mentioned before, I was on my honeymoon last week. In an attempt to update my fantasy team and watch a little football on Saturday, I purchased for a hefty fee, a massage for my wife. Kauai, I guess, is in the Pac-10 market so I was stuck watching that conference's games and I saw the Baylor score on the crawl at the bottom of the screen. 42 point loss? At the airport the next day, I called my Dad and he said it wasn't even that close.

After reading all the accounts I can only conclude one thing: This team has no leadership and has no heart. If you recall, I questioned the existince of a backbone as well earlier this season. The Bears had fooled me into thinking they had one for a while. What happens on Saturday may show if the team has another vital organ (male).

Over the course of the season, what started as inconsistency has turned into very consistent: playing without heart, intensity, and smarts. I lay most of this at the feet of the seniors. They talked a good game about how things were different and how they would be the ones that took Baylor to a bowl. Well, if they believed themselves half of what they were saying then Saturday wouldn't have happened. We may have still lost but we would have been in the game. If they believed half of what they said we win 2 out of 3 with TCU, WSU, Army and are now fighting for a better bowl. I said weeks ago that the Army game especially would bite us. Nothing to play for with one game to go, just like last year.

If you're that good, stop WSU on the last drive. If you're that good, don't let Army of all teams push you around. If you're that good, show up to a must win game in conference play. Some people blame the coaching. They are partially to blame but the guys should have showed up just because of what the game meant, not because of how they were prepared during the week. Mickey Mouse could have been coaching all week and the guys should have played better despite him.

Morriss' main flaw in this game happend before the season started. I was never a Shawn Bell fan (although I will give him credit for getting better each week this season) but we had nobody we could really count on if he went down (which he obviously did). A JUCO should have been brought in for an insurance policy this season.

The world has ended on Baylorfans even though technically this is the best we've ever done in Big 12 conference play. To bring everyone back to earth let's review some good things that have happened even in the last month. 1) Playing a meaningful game in November. We did last year as well. If you remember, it took 2 years to make the jump from 3 wins to 5 wins. Hopefully this is our last year at this plateau (winning some games, losing close ones). 2) We will have a known quantity at QB next season. Not saying Sysmanski will be the starter, but at least we now have an idea of what he's capable of. I would also expect him to be light years better just from being in the system another spring and having actual game experience. So even if the latest OLAS, Kinne, is the starter, we have someone who won't freak out about having to go in.

On top of this, it is my understanding that our current group of recruits is the best Baylor has had in many years. I hope they are good enough to start as freshmen or at least contribute heavily. We need guys playing who know how to win, haven't been infected with losing at Baylor and won't know they are supposed to lose.

Finally, I hope I'm wrong about the guys I've just ripped but that's just how I see it. I hope to anything they find a way to win on Saturday (assuming Morriss even plays the upperclassmen). If they do win, it would fulfil a a theory I've had about this team. They only play well when there's no pressure. They sure did it last year in the final game. This group of seniors has played with and beaten a good caliber team who was playing well at the time) 3 times (CU, ISU, TAMU). Everyone else they've beaten was either sorry, Division II, or really down. Even the great comeback to KU was mired a little by the way the Jayhawks had made a habbit of giving up leads. We only played better when the game was seemingly lost. When we started coming back, KU folded for us. When was the last time we played a bowl caliber team back and forth and won or beat them outright? Most of our conference wins have been a case of the other teams collapsing.

I don't want to set Saturday up that if they lose then I'm right about having no heart, if they win I'm right about them playing well when there's no pressure. I'm not hedging my bet and you won't see me giving you an "I told you so" next week. I'll just look at the season as a whole and tell it like I saw it. Until then, see you Saturday.

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