Amidst a tumultuous off season that included scandals, investigations, ponzi schemes and unavoidable conference realignment discussions, our beloved sport returns. Come Friday night, none of the preceding drama will matter much to us fans. Baylor football is back and the energy surrounding a program that looks to improve on its corner turning 2010 campaign is infectious.
In other words, not much has changed.
Sure, the landscape of our once 12 team conference appears to be altered yet again and while national headlines consumed the trials, tribulations and wrong doings of football programs far and wide, it's a time to celebrate the arrival of another college football season everywhere.
In Waco, the curtain will drop on national TV as the defending Rose Bowl champs and BU get set to square off in a season opener made for, deserving of and ready for prime time.
It's been a while since any of us sporting green and gold could say that.
By now you've probably digested your share of preseason previews and forecasts. Every known sporting publication has provided the avid pigskin connoisseur with the needed info on their team. ESPN's talking heads have talked ad nauseum about the issues facing a sport that appears to be surpassing MLB and the NBA in popularity and exposure. ESPNU has somehow provided us even more.
We've looked at the year's schedule, analyzed the roster, discussed the positions that are still yet-to-be determined. We've trolled the internet forums, kept up with the latest recruiting news, considered the possible, agreed to the probable and heard the expert's take on what should unfold between now and the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Now comes the best part; the actual games.
In the inaugural year of the new 10 team Big 12, Baylor, like every team, has question marks. BU has weaknesses, uncertainties, variables and plenty of reason to think each Saturday could be a dog fight.
New to the lineup this year for the Bears, however, is momentum.
Can BU improve on a season that put the program back on the map? Can Robert Griffin III continue to rewrite the school's record book with a bevvy of offensive play makers? Most importantly, can the Bears defense make major strides in a league not short of teams that can light up the scoreboard?
Those, of course, are the questions we've heard all summer and contemplated since the end of last December's Texas Bowl humbling.
Unlike many schools nationwide, the Bears are set to find out the answers to many of these queries before students enjoy the season's first Dr Pepper and alumni crack their first tub of antacids.
For a few more days, I invite you to brush up on those purchased periodicals, enjoy the talking head prognostications and hear, once more about just how good Oklahoma is going to be.
The truth is, this sport yields the most unforeseen results, just ask Auburn fans. While the chatter of the last eight months or so gives us diehards a needed fix, nobody should overlook the fact that it's a game played by students no older than 22 years old.
It's celebrated, of course by fans of all ages. From toddlers wearing their first cheerleader uniform or oversized helmets, to long in-the-tooth alumni reliving the glory of their alma mater, it's a sport, a passion and a heritage unmatched by any other sporting spectacle.
From day one the games mean something. Every loss hurts, every win provides a year full of bragging rights, every Saturday produces a memory that will be talked about for even longer.
This season's first memories are about to be made.
Year four of this blog begins this week as students across America return to the classroom. The mid-August traditions of buying back-to-school clothes, relearning your alarm clock and learning which smelly foods and student to avoid are restored.
Across campuses, teachers like myself return to work tanned, energized and for the moment, convinced they have learned how to do their job better this year.
With all due respect to Christmas time crooning staple Andy Williams, THIS is the most wonderful time of the year.
I welcome you to my humble abode on BaylorBears.com. For those first time readers: welcome, please be sure to refer a friend, drop me a line and assure me that my SigEp brotherhood is maintaining their esteemed stature around Waco. For the loyal millions: welcome back, please continue to make every effort you can around the office, your local supermarkets, or perhaps while even in stand-still traffic to promote what is arguably the most insightful and important thing you'll read each week. I trust you with this task as I again fail to see the purpose and premise of Twitter.
Most importantly, to those current students who stumbled onto this webpage today from newly Febreeze'd dormitories and horribly lit off-campus houses, welcome. Welcome to your salvation from the blogosphere minutia, from the chat room riff raff and from the mainstream media uhhhh...inaccuracies?
Welcome to Cuttin in The Baylor Line, what Baylor call's an alumnus' unconventional take on Baylor sports and what I call `something to show my students that I have a life outside of school.'
My 10th graders and my alma mater seem convinced. Enough.
My `senior' year (albeit my first `senior' year) at this forum preps to drop fresh knowledge, insight and delusional optimism each week during the football and men's hoops season. What you do (and have done) with the absence of this news source between late April and now is anyone's guess.
What matters now, is that you've found me.
Quite frankly, I'm not sure how I've managed to survive the BU sporting `gap' myself. I suppose that's what baseball season is for. Thankfully, residing at the heart of Cardinal Nation (uh, St. Louis, not Glendale, AZ) usually helps the previous four months move along a little faster. However, when talks of your team and its franchise player's inevitable move to a sexier city next season becomes the only reason said team gets mentioned nationally, it's probably time for football season.
And thankfully, from that we are now only 15 short days away. If you think you're the only one that started this kickoff countdown in the triple digits, think again. If you think you're the only one ready to see the Bears build on last year's success while overhauling our entire defensive existence, think again.
If you're the only one who started talking about the importance of Sept 2nd immediately after leaving the parking lot in Reliant Stadium last December, think again.
Some eight months later, the Bears are back on campus, I'm back on BaylorBears.com and we're all back to football.