It's been an exciting offseason for Baylor fans. Despite the heartbreaking Cotton Bowl loss, we've received new uniforms, commits from high level recruits, and, everyone's favorite, OOC schedule discussions. Baylor, often the recipient of criticism for weak non-conference scheduling, is in the talks of adding a neutral site game against the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2019 in Houston, but more importantly and relevant, a game against the Cal Golden Bears in 2016... in Australia.
Then begs the question: Does an out of conference game against Cal in Australia in 2016 actually help the Bears?
There are two ways to approach this. First of all, I've had people ask me that question, and my answer has consistently been "yes". UCF and Penn State played each other in Croke Park, Ireland in 2014, and the response from fans and players alike was that they enjoyed branching out and trying something new. Baylor is at the point in the program where we've garnered national respect, but the brand name has yet to be established as a power. What hurt could come from playing a game in a new country, exposing the swagger of our prolific offense and aggressive defense to a group of people who aren't entirely experienced with American college football?
A reasonable argument as to why this game should NOT be played is the fact that, well, it's in Australia. Across the world, in a land where there aren't many Baylor or Cal fans. The trip is expensive. There's no home field advantage. All of these are facts, but it doesn't change for even the bigger name schools like USC and Ohio State. If the Trojans and Buckeyes had a game in Beijing, for the fun of it, the stadium would not be flooded with fans of either program. International games are meant to expose programs into other countries. No, there won't be a ton of Baylor fans at the game, but there will be a slew of young Australian kids who might find a love for football by watching KD Cannon obliterate the Cal secondary, and that's something special.
An aspect of the game I think people are overlooking is how FUN it would be. Cal and Baylor are both known for offensive success. No, it probably wouldn't be WVU-BU 2012, but I imagine this game having more of a Jerry's World - Texas Tech shootout kind of feel to it. All in all, Baylor/Cal would be a fun game, and both programs need it.
Lastly, let this be a public plea to Ian McCaw: PLEASE, please, please, back out of the Incarnate Word contract for 2019. Please.