|I Go Back
2:20 P.M. TUESDAY, OCT. 20, 2009
We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives
Baylor lost this weekend in Ames to Iowa State. We're halfway through the season and with all six remaining games coming against Big 12 Conference foes, there's plenty of work to be done, plenty of improvements to be made and plenty of reasons to worry about our team with growing health concerns.
But, for this week anyway, we won't be addressing any of those headaches.
Yes, a fully loaded Oklahoma State team is on its way to Waco this weekend. The Bears need a win badly and it's only going to get tougher in the coming weeks.
Cuttin In Line would like to take a "T.O." from the normal week-to-week dissection of this team and instead, offer a simple tip to you, the Baylor faithful.
It's Homecoming week, after all, and your alma mater would love to see your face once again.
Time to head out from the hundreds of towns we have since moved on to across the country and return to Waco.
Time to meet with old friends, teachers and acquaintances and share the same stories and jokes you do every year at this time.
Time to stroll along our beautiful campus, admire the towering new buildings and facilities and marvel at the familiar old ones that at one time housed our studious selves.
Time to load up on new "BU Alumni" shirts, license plate holders, coffee mugs and everything else you can use on a daily basis to remind anyone where it is you're from.
Time to have a Dr Pepper float at Pat Neff Hall, a lunch at your old college cafeteria of choice and of course a visit to George's.
Time to eyewitness, remember and treasure what it means to be a BU student all over again.
Simply put, Homecoming is one of my favorite weekends of the year. We all have countless friendships that stemmed from this school and this place. Getting together with these friends, classmates, brothers and sisters at the very epicenter of our countless enjoyment episodes is something I simply can't pass up.
And neither should you.
Oh and our football team could use every supporting voice it can get this weekend. Kickoff is at 11:30 a.m. this year, so you'll have plenty of time to later revel in the splendor of our campus.
By then, hopefully some of our soon-to-be fellow alumni will have planted goal posts near the front steps of Pat Neff Hall.
It's Time to Turn This Thing Around
1:25 P.M. TUESDAY, OCT. 13, 2009
How Many Times Can I Break Till I Shatter?
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford returned to his place under center last weekend against Baylor and helped lead Oklahoma to a win over the Bears in the conference opener for each school.
OU 33, BU 7. Same old story, right?
Oklahoma outclassed Baylor. Period, paragraph, right?
Unfortunately, for the many that only saw the score on ESPN's bottom line or saw only the statistics that can be retold in the box score the next day, plenty elements of the game will be overshadowed.
I understand that, in the grand scheme of things, Bradford's return to the lineup Saturday is the big story. After getting hurt in the season's opening night loss to BYU last month, Bradford watched his teammates uncharacteristically lose two games before conference play kicked off. His return is likely to spark a stumbling offense that last year set umpteen records in NCAA proficiency.
If you too got caught up in the love-fest bestowed upon Bradford by the national media, you might have missed something much more important on Saturday.
Baylor, once again, hung with the Big 12's perennial frontrunner and defending champion.
There's no secret the Bears have their work cut out for them the rest of the way. They will lock horns with four more top-25 teams over the next seven weeks. We'll be decided underdogs in each of these matchups and will continue to be until we round the proverbial "corner" as a program.
That's what makes Saturday's loss such a disappointment.
I firmly believe this team is still good enough to pull a major shocker or shockers this season. A good but beatable Oklahoma State team comes to Waco for Homecoming. A Missouri team lacking offensive firepower will be a good road test. With the help of, perhaps, a full moon; there's reason to believe anything can happen when Nebraska visits us on Halloween.
However, an opportunity to shock the world and put the rest of the conference on notice that we are indeed for real, slipped through BU's mistake-prone hands last Saturday in Norman.
If you watched, you know it was a seven point game at halftime. You know Baylor's defense was beyond outstanding in the red zone. You know Nick Florence played out of his shoes for it being his Big 12 debut and, speaking of feet, you know that the Bears managed to shoot themselves there with some mistakes.
Think our D might have worn down Saturday? That might be because they were on the field for 99 plays.
In contrast, if you missed Saturday's game, you probably know only that Bradford threw for a bunch of yards and Oklahoma had the game locked up by the fourth quarter.
It's likely that we can expect more of the same media coverage over these next seven weeks. Until we start making a name for ourselves with better performances against the likes of Oklahoma, the highlights shown week after week the rest of the way will all start to look pretty similar.
It's time to turn this thing around.
Welcome to the Jungle
3:55 P.M. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 7, 2009
Where do we go now?
After finishing off Kent State Saturday night and improving to 3-1, Baylor now enters the proverbial jungle of the Big 12. First up: the arguable lion of the conference, Oklahoma.
Time to put up or shut up, you might say.
Conference play begins for the majority of Big 12 schools this weekend and each squad has questions. Each team has injury issues and has looked less than impressive in at least one of their pre-conference tilts. Saturday, as always, will be quite the revealing and unveiling of conference contenders and pretenders.
So, what's waiting behind door number one for Baylor?
Is it freshman Nick Florence? The 18-year-old Garland native did more than hold his own in his college debut, he was an offensive standout. With 290 all-purpose yards (216 through the air, 76 on the ground) and two touchdowns, there was plenty of reason to believe our one-time third-string quarterback could get the call again this weekend. The alternative, of course, is a bettering-by-the-day Blake Szymanski who leads the conference in touchdown passes for a quarterback that began the season at number two in the depth chart.
Another guessing game seems to be the maturation of our defense. Despite impressive performances this season against Wake Forest and UConn (don't forget the fumbles that set up two easy scores for the visiting Huskies), the BU defense arguably took a step back this past week by allowing 400-plus yards to Kent State. The defense deserves credit for winning the turnover battle and making a series of big plays in the second half, but Oklahoma will certainly pose a much bigger challenge this weekend.
Still another, more published, variable this weekend is of course the possible return of Oklahoma Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford to the lineup. Whether Bradford starts or not remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that his durability and rust could even the playing field in Norman.
With all these questions hanging in the balance, it may be easy to overlook that the Bears are returning to network television for the first time in quite a while. Saturday's 2:30 kickoff on ABC will be shown to the entire Big 12 region of the country and could be a coming-out party for a number of our athletes.
We need some of our weapons like Kendall Wright and Joe Pawelek to make a difference Saturday when a downtrodden, two-loss Oklahoma team welcomes BU to town.
We're every bit capable of keeping them down.
Welcome to the jungle Baylor fans, we got everything you want.