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2006 Season Preview: Baylor

The season previews continue this week with a look at Texas' October 14 showdown with the mighty Bears of Baylor University. We agonized over how to properly give the Bears their moment in the Burnt Orange spotlight, and while we were fully prepared to bombard you with a plethora of statistics, optimistic spring chatter, and breakdowns of the Bears shiny new plans to throw, throw, throw the ball, we thought better of it.

Why not introduce you to the Bears by introducing you to the bloggers that write about the Bears? Ladies and gentlemen, meet the folks that do the impossible (blogging Baylor Bears sports) - BearMeat! Tasked with covering a team that's not exactly dominating the major Big 12 sports any time soon, these fellas do it with class, style, and most importantly, lots of humor.

Burnt Orange Nation: Thanks for chatting with us, guys. So before we get to the big intra-state showdown in Austin on October 14th, let's warm things up with a little introduction to what's new about this year's squad. What's the outlook for Baylor this year?

Red Andrews, BearMeat: AirBear offense, plain and simple. Look for Shawn Bell and Zeigler to be the college version of Montana to Rice.  We foresee a dark horse Heisman candidate coming out of Baylor's offense, but don't hold us to it. This year putting points on the board won't be as hard as last year (ahem, the UT and Tech games spring readily to mind). GuyMo -- Guy Morriss to the uninitiated -- is gonna be keeping the O-line as solid as possible, while Lee Hays will fire his six-shooters in the sky to call his signature play: Hail Mary on first down. Think run and gun. Think four wideouts. Think the Oilers in the early 90s, but without the spousal abuse and with a shred of defense. Actually, think Texas Tech last year.

Burnt Orange Nation: It must be frustrating being called the "doormat of the Big 12," or the "red-headed stepchild of the Big 12," or the "crazy Baptist nuts from Waco," or the "lovable, laughable, can't win a..." - wait, I'm being rude. There's a lot of Baylor pride, and rightfully so. Bob Bullock was a Bear, wasn't he? Tell us about the job he did getting Baylor into the Big 12, and what that's meant for the school.

Judge Baylor, BearMeat: If you want to know about how the B ended up in the Big 12, look no further than the Texas executive branch during the final days of the Southwest Conference. The governor was Ann Richards (fifth B alum to hold that position) and Bob Bullock was the lieutenant governor. Bullock graduated from Baylor Law and from that misallocation of state funds in Lubbock for undergrad.  Not only did this tandem rule Texas but they could float a keg by themselves. Bullock, in particular, took an interest in the B's conference predicament and during one of his bouts of sobriety sat the power players from UT and the Agriculturalists down.  The accounts differ but two things are for sure, the B joined the Big 12 and the university representatives still periodically curl into the fetal position and mumble Sic 'em over and over between tears.

The impact of our inclusion in the Big 12 can't be overstated. We have fantastic new athletic facilities, the majority of our varsity sports are very successful in the conference and nationally, great talents like VY come to Waco, and we finally upgraded the Bear Pit to more of a Bear Garden and Pagoda.  

Burnt Orange Nation: Do you harbor any hopes that Baylor can hang in there with Texas? What's it like watching a Horns-Bears football game these days for you guys? Is it a "look for the moral victory" kind of thing?

Pat Neffistopheles, BearMeat: No! Absolutely not! You see, watching a Bears/Horns game is like curling up with a real good and juicy romance novel...penned by Joe Jamail.  The sprightly lady lover, the B, likes to be coddled and nurtured, basking in the glow of attention while dreaming of a possible climax on the national stage. However, her romantic escapades and playful chatter are not enjoyed with your run of the mill chiseled-face hunk. No, her hunk is passionate yet aggressive with a penchant for Texas-Style Depositions. Ultimately and unfortunately, a victory for us is leaving the stadium without a billion dollar settlement against us.

Burnt Orange Nation: All the joking aside, there were some real signs of improvement for the Baylor football team last year. Only one conference win, but you were on the cusp of bowl eligibility, and you just about knocked off the Aggies. Are fans feeling like a corner's about to be turned?

Judge Baylor, BearMeat: A corner seems quite apt, since corners are sharp, and likely to cause injury to someone lacking basic hand-eye coordination, which seems appropriate when discussing the B's football program over the last decade.  I've never been accused of being Pangloss, but I sincerely believe that Guy-Mo can make it happen at Baylor.  He did it at Kentucky, the almost Vandy of the SEC.  Why not Baylor?  I mean Texas is crawling with great football talent.  L.T. the Second and Derrick Johnson are from Waco.  I believe that Guy-Mo has shown an ability to recruit and as the talent level rises from each recruiting class the product on the field will improve.  Next Fall's class will probably be the best ever.  The true test is over the next three years; Can we win 8 or 9 games in a season and play in a bowl game?  As the excellent documentary Kill Bill: Vol. 1 shows, coming out of a coma is easy, but regaining your motor skills is going to take persistence and struggle.  We have just begun to wiggle our big toe.  

Burnt Orange Nation: Okay, before we let you go, tell us three great things about Baylor University that most people don't know.

Red Andrews, BearMeat: Baylor's campus in Waco was built on an Indian burial ground. At least there is actually a plaque in the Burleson quadrangle commemorating the time over 70 years ago when a few white children found the remains of an "Indian Princess." And we wonder why we haven't beat OU, what with their impeccable history of relations with the Native Americans. Baylor has suffered many curses in its time, but that may be the most damning of all. That and we still have a strict "no Indians" admissions policy. Just another Baylor curse. Sic 'em.

2. Willie Nelson attended Baylor University for exactly one semester before he left to pursue a transient life of tax evasion, hard living, and good weed. Coincidentally, those were exactly the three courses he took while at Baylor.

Austin?s Baylor?s finest.

3. Some members of the now-defunct fraternity, the Esquire Club (of which Tom Delay, in his brief stint at Baylor, was a member), pulled a prank on the Baylor Bear mascot in the 1970s by slipping laxatives into it's food right before kickoff. The BearSh*t was so epic, that parts of the field were re-sodded. Nothing is more BearMeat than giving your own mascot laxatives.

Burnt Orange Nation: Awesome, guys.  Thanks for chatting with us.  Keep up the great work at BearMeat.

Pat Neffistopheles, BearMeat: Thanks for having us, BON! We appreciate the opportunity to grovel at the feet of a great football champion and chat with a greater blog.  By the way, can we borrow a running back? We'll take that big fellow. Sic `em.