Grin and Bear it: A Baylor Fan’s Look at Re-alignment

Here we come to sue the day!

Hey everyone! If you decide to click away from this post, I’ll sue you for tortious interference which, as everyone knows, is the penalty you get for making contact with a turtle while a forward pass is in the air. (1)

I can make jokes like that because I’m a Baylor Bear. Technically I never played for the team, nor did I graduate from Baylor University. But I did attend what some refer to as “The Harvard on the Brazos.” (2)

Of course, I had to drop out of the school because I hated that nickname.However, the fact remains, I am a Baylor Bear. And over the past twenty years, I’ve suffered through some tough times, some really tough times, and at least two really super-duper tough times. I have the right to say or sue anything I want.Last year, I was afraid for the future of our school’s athletic department. The Big 12 appeared to be dead. Nebraska and Colorado were bolting. Texas and Oklahoma were said to be headed out west. It appeared that Oklahoma State would follow the Sooners and either Texas Tech or Texas A&M would ride the Horns’ coat tails. Baylor was being left behind, and not even Conference U.S.A. was returning our phone calls.

Then ESPN swooped in. They made a deal with Texas to create The Longhorn Network, and all the other schools were promised big bucks in light of a new TV deal for the entire conference. Everyone seemed happy. And things looked good…for a while.

This summer, A&M got angry because they realized that everyone had stopped taking them seriously. And Aggies are deathly serious about being taken seriously. It’s why we tell so many Aggie jokes.

If you live outside of Texas, let me enlighten you. There’s really only one major college football program in the state, and it ain’t located in a place called College Station. But don’t tell any Aggies that. They’ll talk your head off about their rich football tradition of kissing their girlfriends after touchdowns or how one time some fan came out of the stands and put on a uniform because they had a bunch of injured players or how one year Bear Bryant nearly killed a bunch of kids during summer practices. Of course, they never mention that the year Bryant took the players to Junction they ended up winning only one game or that the vaunted 12th Man was actually a reserve on the team and never actually saw playing time that day or that they actually would prefer to kiss Reveille after touchdowns instead of their girlfriends. (3)

We all see their delusional absurdity, and we poke fun at it.

When the Big 12 stayed intact, the truth was revealed: in terms of national importance, there’s Texas (and to a lesser extent Oklahoma) then there’s everyone else in the Big 12. It took ‘em a year to catch on (because they’re kinda slow), but The Aggies refused to play along(because they’re also highly delusional).

So A&M, began listening to the mating call of the S.E.C. Of course, the S.E.C. doesn’t really want to mate with A&M, they want an in with A&M’s hot friend, Texas football recruits. And since they know U.T. wouldn’t drop The Longhorn Network or be foolish enough to move to a conference full of schools as powerful and rich as they are, they decided to lead the Agglie Duckling along.

That led to Oklahoma (also kinda slow) thinking to themselves, “If insignificant A&M could get asked out by the S.E.C., certainly we could get someone to make us feel pretty.” (4)

And O.S.U. was all like, “Not without my state school!”

Then Texas was again threatening to leave.

And Tech was all like, “Not without my glorified trade school!”

It was up to little ol’ Baylor to do something.

Did you know that in national polls Baylor Law School is ranked second only to the University of Texas School of Law among Big 12 schools? (5) And I’m sure by now you’ve heard that the school President is Kenn Starr, who is best known for accusing a U.S. President of ruining a perfectly good dress and subsequently getting him impeached. (6)

Baylor was all like, “Not without my knowledge of the loopholes in the law!”

And that’s how Baylor saved the world.

Or at least delayed A&M’s move to the S.E.C. long enough for Oklahoma and Texas to realize that they have a pretty sweet gig in the Big 12.

No one (‘cept me) will ever give Starr and Baylor credit. Our school remains a national joke. But I’m okay with that.

I believe that the times are a-changing for the little Baptist school in Waco Texas. Our athletic program is gaining national recognition. Our Lady Bears Basketball team won a National Championship a few years back, and currently has Brittney Griner (the most talked about “female” basketball player ever) on the roster. Our Men’s Basketball team has made some noise in the past few years. Our baseball and track teams are perennially in the hunt for National Championships. And our football team is on the rise under Art Briles, not to mention the attention Robert Griffin III is currently commanding.

We’re never gonna be on the same level as schools like Texas or Oklahoma or Alabama or Florida or U.S.C. But if we keep winning we’ll get to a better place than Texas A&M, who I’m afraid is doomed to irrelevance in their new conference.

So congrats to A&M for throwing away all of your tradition, your biggest rivalry, and your relevance for more money and a false sense of importance. Us Bears will just live with the knowledge that we saved our conference…at least until it falls apart next year.
(1) It takes turtles forever to march off the awarded fifteen yards.
(2) By “some”, I mean “very few”. No one outside of Waco or inside of the realm of reality has ever referred to Baylor as “The Harvard on the Brazos.”
(3) Results of an informal poll I conducted with my dog.
(4) It is a little known fact that universities are female in gender and most have low self-esteem.
(5) The only other Big 12 schools in the top 100: Kansas and Oklahoma.
(6) As far as I can tell, this is a process by which a U.S. Federal Official becomes a type of fruit. More research is needed.

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