At this time of year, it seems as though our to-do lists swell to “Moby Dick” proportions.
There is no end to what we have to do. Hang the Christmas lights. Mail the cards. Decorate the house. Bake the cookies. Buy the gifts. Attend the parties.
Baylor football fans, in particular, are busier than ever, gearing up for the first BCS bowl game in school history. Maybe a little too busy, in my estimation.
Yet fear not, Bear backers. Here’s a “to-don’t list” for your bowl season — a list of things not to do.
1. Don’t freak out every time Art Briles’ name is linked to a coaching vacancy.
Look, I get it. You don’t want Briles to leave. And, given the job he’s done, you shouldn’t.
But as long as Baylor keeps winning, Briles will continue to be a hot commodity in coaching circles. When jobs open, his name may be bandied about, through either the rumor mill or more serious channels. No doubt some teams could ask Baylor for permission to talk to Briles about their coaching job. It’s happened before. (See Texas Tech, circa 2010).
In terms of attractiveness to suitors, Briles is a supermodel. But as a Baylor fan, isn’t that what you want? Lord knows Baylor endured enough years where the coach resembled the third-runner-up from the Miss Yugoslavia pageant.
The NFL’s Washington Redskins are the latest suitor-in-waiting, according to a CBS Sports report. The idea being, that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder could lure Briles to DC with his dump trucks full of cash and the chance to reunite with his old Heisman-winning QB, Robert Griffin.
But would the payday even matter? Let’s say Snyder offers Briles a contract similar to Chip Kelly, the last hot college coach to join the NFL ranks, who’s making a reported $6.5 million a year. Given that Texas has no state income tax and that Waco’s cost of living is vastly cheaper than living in our
nation’s capital, the money may come out closer to a wash.
Merely being linked to a job opening doesn’t mean Briles is going anywhere. Granted, it doesn’t mean he won’t leave, either. I don’t know Art’s inner thoughts and desires, but I know this: Baylor has two juicy, dangling carrots in its favor.
One, the school took care of both Briles and his coaches with a lengthy contract extension. And two, those sparkly new digs springing forth from the banks of the Brazos.
Besides, how is worrying about Briles’ status going to change anything anyway?
2. Don’t sleep on the Knights.
A sentiment has arisen among Baylor fans over the team’s Fiesta Bowl opponent. It’s been expressed on social media, message boards, radio talk shows and in casual conversation. That sentiment: “Central Florida? Really?”
I don’t understand the disgust. First of all, Baylor fans, you’re going to a BCS bowl game. You — Baylor. Complaining about the opponent doesn’t make any sense.
It’s like a man crawling through the desert, dying of thirst, before finally reaching the feet of a willing soul holding a canteen of water. Yet instead of dipping the water back to drink, the man says, “What? No Dr Pepper?”
Moreover, the Bears are headed to the Fiesta Bowl the outright champions of the Big 12. Had Oklahoma State knocked off Oklahoma in the Bedlam game Saturday, the Cowboys would be playing UCF instead. In that scenario, Baylor would likely be getting ready to play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
(I know, I know, that matchup would be delicious for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is all the good grub one can find in New Orleans).
But guess what? UCF gives out scholarships, too. It may not have the name appeal of an Auburn, Ohio State or Stanford, but it shouldn’t be treated as if it’s Wofford, either. The Knights pushed South Carolina to the brink and defeated Louisville in a shootout. They boast the 13th-ranked scoring defense in the country.
UCF’s burly quarterback Blake Bortles has been talked about as a potential first-round pick in the next NFL draft.
Baylor is favored by more than two touchdowns, and it should be. But BU fans bitter about the matchup better hope the players don’t adopt that same attitude. Treat them like the University of Can’t (play) Football, and the Bears will end up with loss No. 2.
3. Don’t wait to get your tickets.
If you’re sitting there trying to decide whether or not to book that flight to Phoenix, your decision should already be made. If you’ve got the means and the desire, go.
Some fans may take a “wait-till-next-year” approach when it comes to this BCS gig. With Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk and a bunch of young defenders back next year, the Bears should be plenty good again, right? Maybe even in the mix for that four-team playoff.
Well, sure. That’s true. Then again, Baylor might end up playing Nowhere State in the less-glamorous Weed Whacker Bowl.
Even if Baylor piles up the wins again next year, there’s no guarantee the Bears would be selected for the playoff or that they’d play in a major bowl game.
So many factors matter, some of which are out of the team’s control — conference strength, the outcome of other games, national perceptions.
Look at Oklahoma. Would anyone have figured the Sooners for a BCS bowl berth a couple of weeks ago?
If anyone should understand the rarity of such big-stage moments, it’s Baylor fans. An opportunity like this doesn’t arise every day. Not even every decade.
My advice — don’t waste it.