With the vibrant sounds of pads hitting and coaches yelling instruction to a new squad lost for the next few months, all we can do is try and get by. The 2013-2014 football season is officially behind us. The next time we see the Baylor Bears on the practice field, they will not be the Big 12 champions; they will be the defending Big 12 champions. So, with that sobering thought, here are a few thoughts to help you count the seconds until August camps start.
1. Eight of the ten Big 12 conference members have finished up their spring practices and held the much hyped, but little celebrated Spring Game. Only Texas and Kansas State remain to boost the hopes of their fans. We all know what and how the Baylor Bears did, but what about the rest of the Big 12 conference? The Sooners saw starting quarterback Trevor Knight struggle terribly while transfer (and former walk-on at Texas Tech) Baker Mayfield was flawless. TCU was awful offensively, with no touchdowns on the day, Grant Rohach at Iowa State had a nice day and hopes to have earned the starting spot ahead of freshman Joe Lanning.
Texas Tech thinks they took some steps forward on defense and Davis Webb is really taking hold of the top QB spot, while Oklahoma State was just happy to be done with the spring without losing any more players to injury or transfer. Overall, nothing huge happened, and despite all of the hype, no games were actually won or loss. Once the Texas and Kansas State practices are done, we will cover the entirety of things we learned about other schools in much more depth.
2. The WNBA draft is tonight, and the Lady Bears could have the #1 pick for the second consecutive year. Of course, Brittney Griner went to the Phoenix Mercury in 2013. This year though, the Connecticut Sun have the first pick and are rumored to be favoring Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike. Sims would then most likely go to the Tulsa Shock at number 2. The draft will be covered live by ESPN 2 starting at 7pm CT, so you will likely have to tune in quickly to see Sims get her name called.
If Sims does fall to #2, it would create a very interesting backcourt with last year's #3 pick Skyler Diggins already at point guard. The Connecticut Sun have a larger hole at the point guard position, but also could use a post player as well. Either way, both teams should be very happy with who they end up with.
3. Baylor Baseball has been a very good team at home. They are 15-4 at home, and have wins over several ranked teams. On the road though, this has just been an awful season. They are a miserable 1-12 in true road games, and 0-3 in neutral site games. They won their first game of the year against Arizona State, but have lost their last 15 games away from Baylor Ballpark. They were competitive in 3 games against Texas on the road, losing 1 in the bottom of the 9th and all three games by a total of 7 runs.
The main issue has been the hitters, only scoring 7 runs in the three Texas games. The Bears have a big road trip this weekend to Manhattan, KS to take on the Wildcats of Kansas State, and still have to go on the road to play Oklahoma as well. With just a 16-19 record overall, it looks like a huge winning streak to end the year is the only way to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
4. Not only in football season all the way done, but now college basketball is 100% over. No more video montage clips to put into "One Shining Moment". Baylor had an up and down year, but I think most would have been very happy with a Sweet 16 berth and a run to the conference championship game again. I think sometimes we take these things for granted, wanting to bellow and moan more when things are bad versus celebrating when things are great. I don't think that trait is unique to Baylor fans, more of a general human condition than anything.
But take a look back at what this program has done the last 5 years. Two Elite Eights, one Sweet Sixteen, and to a much lesser degree of gloriousness an NIT runner up and an NIT championship, the three winningest teams in Baylor history (30 wins in 2011-12, 28 wins in 2009-10, 26 wins in 2013-2014). For a school with pretty much zero good things and a litany of just awful things from 1950 till the mid-2000's, that is a staggering amount of success.
5. I love the Masters tournament. Every April growing up, it was appointment television. It was also an appointment nap as well, right around 1-3pm on Saturday and Sunday. When the weather was nice, we would open up the house and just have the TV on with the relaxing sounds of golf clapping and Jim Nantz hushed voice over the proceedings. The gold this weekend was awesome. Jordan Spieh was putting on a show, and then Bubba Watson decided he wasn't ready to give it up yet. Just a glorious Sunday of golf, and one I look forward to every year.