Sunday, September 29, 2013

Checking out the competition: TCU

Baylor didn't play today, and Kelly's parents had TCU tickets they weren't using, so Zippy, our buddy Ethan, and I headed over to Amon G. Carter Stadium to see what the Horned Frogs could do against SMU in the Battle for the Iron Skillet.  We saw some pretty sloppy football.  We left at halftime, after which the weather got really sloppy.

The football team runs out through the band and show girls.  That's pretty cool, but I like the Baylor Line better.

I think Zippy and Ethan had a good time.  They got their snacks before kickoff, and when they were done with their snacks, halfway through the first quarter, they were ready to go home.  I wasn't surprised at all; as we were walking to the stadium, Zippy was already asking how love we "have"to stay. 

TCU did a complete rebuild of Amon Carter a couple years ago.  I love this feature, the stairs the width of the band section leading onto the field.  I think I have seen the same feature in the drawings of the new Baylor Stadium.
Amon Carter is a great stadium.  The concourses are wide open, so you can see the game from many of the concession areas.  Elliot and I also went to the Grambling State game last year.  Since it was not very well-attended we moved around, watching from both end zones, the highest seats on the west side, and from the big donor seats near the field.  There's really not a bad seat in the house.  Baylor Stadium will be better, with the covered seating, and a more symmetrical look.

So yes, TCU's stadium is great, but Baylor's will be better.  More importantly, TCU's team is pretty good, but Baylor's is better.  TCU looked downright terrible in the first half.  Boykin was 7 of 16 in the first half, and TCU was down 10-7 at halftime.  The bright spot was the defense.  SMU's offense is dismal, and TCU's defense is stout.  SMU had negative rushing yards in the first half and ended up with only 16 for the game.  Without SMU's Gilbert throwing 4 interceptions, this game could have been a lot closer.

I cheer for TCU as my hometown team, and I want them to win all their games--when they're not playing Baylor.  But the memory of Baylor's meltdown against TCU last year in Waco still stings.  This year will be different.  My early prediction (they don't play until Thanksgiving weekend) is that Baylor will win by at least 3 touchdowns.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Baylor Stadium Watch: 9/21/13

On the way to the ULM game last week, we had to stop by and check out the progress.  By the way, every time we stop by, we meet up with at least one other Baylor fan doing the same.  The enthusiasm is high for this stadium!  Lots of progress is evident on the east and west side stands.

These guys have seen some changes over the years!  They live in north Waco, but grew up in neighborhoods that no longer exist, taken over by the expansion of Baylor's campus.  I don't know much of the history, but I hope Baylor has been a good neighbor as they have bought up the surrounding neighborhoods.  I know some of the neighbors on the side of the river with the stadium are unhappy with the changes.

Another view.  Even in its partially finished state, you can already tell that this will be a beautiful stadium.  There are many larger football stadiums, and it's inevitable that there will be stadiums built with more bells and whistles and innovations, but I don't know that any will rival this one in beauty and setting.

For real-time stadium updates, pictures, and stadium information, be sure to check out

And this thread is regularly updated with pictures:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Game 3: Baylor 70, Univ. of Louisiana-Monroe 7

The wind kept the flags flapping, and factored into
some of the kicking and passing game.
Another weekend of football, another big blowout in Waco!  I don't know about you, but I am having fun watching Baylor's offense rack up the points and the defense shutting down the competition!  It's an historic season so far, and as the competition gets tougher, Baylor just keeps on getting better. 
Elliot, Drew, Uncle Brian.  He's hard to see because of the camo.
Saturday was about as perfect a day for football as we could ask for.  Breezy and 81 at game time, and the shade hit our seats right around kickoff.  Nice!  In spite of the perfect day, Zippy chose to stay home.  I even bribed him with snacks and the privilege of choosing the restaurant!  So Elliot and I took off for Waco alone.  We picked up Uncle Brian and Drew and headed to Touchdown Alley to partake of a Fuddrucker's burger, courtesy of the Baylor Alumni Network.

Before the game, we stopped to check out the statue of Grant Teaff outside the stadium.  Teaff was the coach in all of my formative years, from earliest memory up to my time on campus.  After a long string of dismal years and mediocre coaches, I think we finally have a successor to Teaff.  Art Briles has returned a winning tradition to Baylor, and he seems to share Teaff's emphasis on character and faith.  When will Briles pose for his statue?

The interlocking BU is hard to see from this angle.
I am guilty of not giving the Baylor University Golden Wave Marching Band enough love.  But watching them march in, forming the interlocking BU a the BAYLOR spell out is awesome.  Honestly, I usually head to the Bear Club for a snack at halftime, but this week I watched the show.  The marching was pretty amazing!  These kids work their tails off, and I should be ashamed for not sticking around for the halftime show each week!

Elliot and Drew have grown up watching Baylor football.  They both talk about going to college somewhere else, but it's hard to imagine them not wearing a Baylor Line jersey and running onto the field in the new Baylor stadium!

Mom and Dad were out of town this weekend, but there were plenty of Mastins to fill the seats.  Laura and Brian were there with all their girls, Lisa and David came, and of course Mark's family.  Thankfully there were a few empty seats around us.

And of course, this is the greatest sight of all!  Baylor exactly matched not only the score from last game, but also the number of offensive yards!  A double school record.  So, heading into Big 12 play, Baylor leads the nation in scoring, yards per game, quarterback rating, passing yards per game, and is second in points against.  If they can keep this kind of dominance up, there will be no stopping the Bears this year!

I guess Elliot was a bit tired on the ride home.  He took off his shirt to use as a pillow.  Don't worry, Elliot, Baylor has a bye week again this weekend, so you can get some rest.
Sic' em!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Counting chickens

I know, I know, it's way to early to be counting our chickens, but since Baylor was off Saturday, I thought I'd take a look at our opponents' records so far and see how, in my limited, and admittedly VERY biased perception, the Bears might stack up.

9/27: University of Louisiana-Monroe. 2-1.  W
Shut out by OU, but held them to "only" 34 points.  Blew out Grambling State.  Close win over Wake Forest.  Baylor had to fight for the win in Monroe last season.  I don't know if we'll put up 69 or 70 next weekend, but we might.

10/5: West Virginia.  2-1.  W
Hard fought win over FCS William and Mary.  Struggled against OU in a fumble-fest.  Blew out Georgia State.  This team is severely weakened, and will not be putting up 70 on Baylor like they did in the air war last season.

10/12: Kansas State.  2-1.  W
Upset by N. Dakota State.  Solid win over Louisiana-LaFayette.  One-sided victory over U. Mass.  KSU also lost a lot of weapons from last year's Big 12 Championship team, but they will be hungry to avenge their upset in Waco.  I still think Baylor can come away from Manhattan with the win.

10/19: Iowa State.  0-2.  W
Upset by FCS Northern Iowa.  Lost to Iowa.  So far, it looks like ISU will be battling Kansas for last place in the Big 12.  Baylor should win this one easily.

10/26: Kansas.  1-1.  W
Nice win over FCS South Dakota.  Bummer of a loss to Rice.  I still cringe at the memory of RG3 having to come back and win in OT the last time Baylor played at KU.  I'm hoping this one will be a Baylor win by a large margin.

11/7: Oklahoma.  3-0.  W
Shut out Louisiana-Monroe.  Hard-fought, ugly win over W. Virginia.  Blew out Tulsa.  They're Oklahoma.  Baylor has beat them ONE time!  Ever!  But in this Thursday night game in Waco, I think Baylor can send the Sooners home with a loss.

11/16: Texas Tech.  3-0.  W
Win over SMU.  Big win over Stephen F. Austin.  Ugly, questionable win over TCU.  The last several times we've played, it's lived up to the "shootout" part of the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Shootout name.  Baylor can win this one.

11/23: Oklahoma State.  3-0.  W
Solid win over Mississippi State.  Blew out UTSA.  Blew out Lamar.  This may be Baylor's toughest Big 12 game.  I don't think Baylor has won in Stillwater before.  This will be the first time.

11/30: TCU.  1-2.  W
Respectable loss to LSU.  Big win over SE Louisiana, but a costly win, as the QB broke his arm.  Questionable loss to Tech.  Last year, the backup QB came to Waco and humbled the Bears.  I expect Baylor to find a way to win this one in Fort Worth.

12/7: Texas.  1-2.  W
Blew out New Mexico State.  Defensive line got blown out by BYU's running game.  Shut out in the second half in the loss to Ole Miss.  Can Mack Brown fix that defense?  Floyd Casey Stadium will be packed and rocking for the last game there. Baylor wins.

Can Baylor go undefeated in the Big 12, winning their first conference championship in 33 years, and possibly getting a chance to play for a national championship?  It's hard to go undefeated, no matter how deep your talent is.  Is it likely that Baylor will prevail in the rest of their games?  The better question is, Is it possible.  Baylor has the talent, the depth, and the passion to make it happen.

Sic 'em!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Baylor Stadium Watch: 9/7/13

Things are moving right along on the new stadium!  We stopped by after Baylor's 70-13 victory over Buffalo, imagining plenty of future victories in the new Baylor stadium.  It's not a huge change from last week; it does look like they are putting in the seating area in the east side stands. 

This second picture was taken downstream a bit from where the first was taken, closer to where the bridge will be.  There are pilings in the river for the bridge, and you can see the grey concrete on the right where the bridge will end up.

Elliot granted me permission to take a picture of him with this cool bear.  It's in front of the law school, which will be a high-traffic area on game day next year!

These Baylor fans can't wait until game 1 in the new Baylor stadium!  But first, ULM on 9/21.  Sic 'em!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Game 2: Baylor 70, Buffalo 13

Another Baylor game, and another week of broken records!  It was a hot one in Waco, although not as hot as I anticipated, but the action on the field was really hot!  Baylor broke the record set last week for the most points scored at Floyd Casey Stadium (and in what Baylor calls the "modern era"), and broke the school record for offense, 781 yards (!!!).  Bryce Hager's fumble return for a TD was the second longest in school history.  And Lache Seastrunk ran for over a hundred yards for the 6th game in a row, the longest streak in the nation right now.
The Baylor Line was a little smaller this week.
Even college freshmen might stay home on a hot game day.
 The first team offense lit up the scoreboard, scoring 28 points in each of the first 2 quarters.  I had predicted a score of 49-13, and when Baylor scored so quickly, I realized I aimed too low.  At one point the score was 42-13, and Buffalo looked like it was about to score, tainting my prediction.  But then the tough Baylor defense forced a fumble, which Hager grabbed and took 91 yards down the filed for a TD.  So my prediction was met--with 5 minutes left in the first half!  After halftime, it took about 60 seconds for Baylor to score another TD.  The first team offense came out, and, like last week, a bunch of down-the-roster players got game time.  I love the depth of this team!

There weren't many Buffalo fans to begin with.  But they didn't last long.
I think this was toward the end of the 3rd quarter.
 The Mastin clan was not quite as well represented this week.  Zippy elected to stay home this week, not wanting to sit in the heat.  From Mark's family, only Mark and Drew came.  And of course, Mom and Dad were there.  Elliot and I rode to the game with Mom and Dad, and with several minutes left in the game, Mom asked if my desire to go to every Baylor game meant staying for every minute.  She sweetly stuck around so we could see the very end. . . . I figure if you're coming to a game, you might as well stay for the whole thing!

Any time Baylor's on the winning side of this scoreboard is a good day!

The game was not as well-attended as last week's, which was to be expected for a day game with temperatures just under 100 degrees at kickoff.  But it was still a decent crowd, announced at 39,126.  I have a feeling with the Bears winning, the crowds will only get bigger.  Good luck getting a ticket to the Oklahoma and Texas games, if you haven't already!  Now two more weeks until the next blowout.  Sic 'em!
I love this mosaic in the Floyd Casey Stadium lobby.
The west side of the stadium, with Teaff, Singletary, Briles and Griffin, Baylor greats all.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baylor Stadium watch: 8/31/13

On the way into town for the Baylor v. Wofford game on Saturday, we stopped by Fort Fisher for a view of the new stadium.  It's looking great!

In one short year, we'll be walking across a bridge right about here, or just a short distance downstream, to the new stadium for game 1!  Can't wait!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Game 1: Baylor 69, Wofford 3

At long last, college football season has begun!  And for Baylor fans, it began in record-breaking fashion.  I don't know if this was the hottest start to a Baylor game ever, but the heat was a factor for sure, with triple digits at game time.  The heat didn't keep many away though.  The crowd of 44,989 was the second largest home opener ever at Floyd Casey Stadium, behind only a meeting with Oklahoma in 1973.

Other records broken: Heisman trophy candidate Lache Seastrunk ran for 111 yards on only 11 carries, his Baylor-record-breaking 5th consecutive 100 yard game.  Aaron Jones, who already holds the Baylor career scoring record, kicked his 46th career field goal, another Baylor record.  The Bears just kept on scoring: Baylor's 69 points is the 4th highest score in Baylor history, the highest ever at FCS.

Our day began at home, watching "RGIII: The Will to Win," which follows the Baylor legend from injury through recovery.  Best wishes to the Baylor legend as the NFL season begins!  Then Elliot, Zippy, a couple of their buddies and I hit the road for Waco.  We stopped by campus to allow the Baylor Bookstore to part us with some money.  The bookstore was quite crowded, a good sign that the game would be well-attended.

Drew, Evan, Elliot, David, Zippy, and Jordan, working up a sweat by sitting in the shade.
In spite of our longer-than expected stop on campus, we got to Touchdown Alley in time to enjoy a Fuddrucker's burger, courtesy of the Baylor Alumni Network.  Bellies full, we headed to our seats.  All of Mark's family, including his mother-in-law came out for this one, so we filled the 8 Mastin seats, plus the row behind us (knowing the Meyers weren't coming).  Thankfully the seats were already in the shade, making us thankful once again that our tickets aren't on the east side of the stadium.

Ken Starr, loving college life!
The stadium was filling up, the band played the fight song and spelled out BAYLOR as they always do, then it was time for the Baylor Line to run the field.  I don't know if Baylor is the only school where students run the field to form a path by which the players enter, but I haven't seen it elsewhere.  Surely we're the only one at which the university president runs out with the freshmen, leading the charge!  I have been very impressed with the enthusiasm Ken Starr shows for students and life at Baylor.

The Baylor Line seemed larger than ever, as the field filled with their gold jerseys.  Soon the team came running through the tunnel in their new green uniforms (I guess metallic gold helmets are in reserve for a future game).  The prayer by Nick Florence, the coin toss, and the 2013 Baylor football season began!

Baylor got the ball first, and wasted no time setting the tone for the day.  Within a matter of moments, Baylor was on the board with a 7-0 lead.  By the time the first quarter ended, Baylor was up 28-0, including 2 rushing TDs, a passing TD and a blocked Wofford pass that Chris McAllister ran 25 yards for a touchdown.  About that time Wofford was probably wishing for a lightning storm to end the game early.

Baylor continued to dominate the whole night, never allowed a TD, and only had to punt once.  The competition is only going to get tougher, but there is plenty of reason for Baylor fans to be encouraged by the Bears' performance.  Baylor's win was not unexpected, but the final score of 69-3 was quite a bit more lopsided than I would have predicted.  All in all, it was just about a perfect night: watching a Baylor win with my boys, my parents, and my brother and his family at Floyd Casey.  Next week: Buffalo!  See you there!
Baylor's first play of 2013: the predictable, reliable bubble screen.
Baylor's first points of 2013: Glasco Martin rushing TD.
The 2013 NIT champions, with their Maui Invitational surf board.
My favorite people with whom to watch a Baylor game!
All smiles after Baylor's first win of 2013.
I love the fact that the field became a free-for-all playground after the game!
And I love the fact that the scoreboard shows Baylor on top.  More to come!