Sunday, November 24, 2013

Game 10: Baylor 17, Oklahoma State 49

Art Briles has brought Baylor football to heights rarely, if ever, experienced.  In my living memory, seasons of 9 wins or more have been few and far between.  In 1980, the last time Baylor won a conference championship, Baylor ended the regular season 10-1, then lost in the Cotton Bowl.  In 1985 and 1986, the Bears ended the regular season at 8-3 each year, then won bowl games in each post season.  In 2011, RG3's Heisman year, he and Briles led Baylor to a 9-3 regular season record, then a huge win in the Alamo Bowl, to give Baylor its first 10-win season since 1980.

At Hideaway Pizza
So why does it sting so bad to lose our 10th game?  The only explanation is that Briles has raised expectations, given Baylor fans a whole new outlook, and injected new life and hope into this program.  So I have to remind myself, before Saturday's game at Oklahoma State, Baylor was 9-0!  For the first time ever!  That's pretty incredible.  I wish things would have turned out differently for Baylor, and for the team.  They have worked hard, have inspired pride in Baylor among the fans, and have forced doubters around the country to take Baylor seriously.

Once again, Zippy didn't want to make the road trip to Stillwater, so Uncle Mark was happy to use Zippy's ticket.  After Mark watched Drew's basketball team win an exciting overtime game, we left from Fort Worth about noon, arriving in Stillwater to enjoy Oklahoma's best pizza at Hideaway Pizza.  It lived up to expectations.  Of course we had to walk over to see Eskimo Joe's.  I'm not sure why this is such a popular place, but an OSU alumnus we met said their t-shirt is the 3rd best-selling shirt in the world, behind 2 Hard Rock Cafe shirts.

Feeling happy and confident before kickoff.
It was a cold night in Stillwater, and we came prepared, but maybe not enough.  Temperatures were at or below freezing the whole game.  I'm not sure any of us could feel our toes by the time halftime rolled around.  Maybe the cold weather was a factor in the game, but it was just as cold for the Cowboys as for the Bears.  Baylor's mishaps and poor play can't really be explained by anything.  I wanted to put an announcement on the broadcast: "Hey all you watching on TV who haven't seen Baylor play before tonight: This is NOT the Baylor team that has won 9 games!  I promise they are WAY better than this!"

I don't know that they would have made a difference in this game, as well as OSU was playing, but Baylor's offense clearly missed the presence of Tevin Reese and Lache Seastrunk, their leading receiver and running back.  That said, the backups have played spectacularly in the last 2 games.  On this night, they were ineffective.  Petty struggled to even complete a pass.  On defense, our pass coverage was horrible against a team that has passed very little this season.  And we couldn't get a turnover for anything.

Even though they were looking bad, Baylor only trailed 14-3 at the half.  I had high hopes that Art would work some magic in the locker room, and the team would rally in the second half.  Alas, OSU scored TDs on their first 2 possessions in the second half, effectively putting the game out of reach.

We did enjoy the game-day experience at OSU.  The stadium is truly on campus.  Tailgating tents were set up on the lawns of the surrounding university buildings, and plenty of restaurants border campus in walking distance to the stadium.  Elliot observed that he saw a lot more people drinking alcohol and smoking that he sees at Baylor games.  Unfortunately, the Baylor fans sitting behind us had clearly been drinking, and liberally and loudly used the f-word in their cheering and conversing.  Elliot said he hopes the nice OSU fans sitting next to him didn't think all Baylor fans were like that.

OSU must love Boone Pickens, and for good reason.  He has single-handedly funded the remodeling and expansion of the stadium and football facilities, as well as the resurgence of OSU football in recent years.  It's a nice stadium and a fun place to watch a game.


Some random play.
Even as the Bears lick their wounds after this loss, and give up hopes of playing for a national title, I hope they will remember that if they win out, they will be Big 12 co-champions at worst.  At best, Baylor can win out, and if OU can beat OSU in Stillwater (no easy feat), Baylor would be Big 12 champs outright!  Now, Beat TCU!!  Beat Texas!! And Boomer Sooner!!

Sic 'em!!

1 comment:

slothsrcool said...

Kudos to you guys for braving the nasty weather to support the Bears. It does sting for sure, not just because we lost, but because we know we are capable of beating OSU. But they were definitely better Saturday night. I don't think it would have helped to have Seastrunk or Reese. We were getting beat at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

It was embarrassing. You're right about not wanting the TV audience to think this was the real Bears. We'll get another chance to show them the real thing in a bowl game. Hope we can do better then.