In this edition of Bear Droppings, Kevin Barrera provides 5 thoughts from the Baylor v. TCU game, on Friday night.
1. Weather sucks.
I made the trip up to Amon G. Carter Stadium, last night, and the weather was just horrendous. It was in the high 30's, low 40's and it was a monsoon. The rain was just ridiculous. To put it in to context, anyone that was at Floyd Casey Stadium 2 years ago remembers the Ice Bowl game against Texas. This game was worse. It essentially took both teams out of their comfort zone, but I would argue that it hurt Baylor much, much more than it did TCU. Baylor's offense is predicated on balance, and that was near impossible last night. Still, though, the Bears came to play and were the better team.
2. The Defense was stellar.
For the second game in a row, the Baylor defense answered the call and, for 90% of the game, completely shut down the TCU offense. Phil Bennett's crew held TCU to 7 points, in regulation. TCU's Trevone Boykin was still feeling the affects of the high ankle sprain suffered a couple of weeks earlier, but still the defense made stop after stop, and certainly did everything to secure a Baylor win on their end. How often do you look at this team and say "man the defense won that game for us." The Bears dominated the LOS with a 3 man front once again. Travon Blanchard was a man among boys again. Overall I was just impressed by the intensity and aggressiveness the defense played with for the second week in a row. With the one dimensional offensive attack of the Texas Longhorns coming in to town, I expect the Baylor defense to once again be dominate next week.
3. Where was the offense?
There is no question that the weather had a ton to do with how poorly the offense played last night. But there was also a lot to be desired with the play calling last night. In no way whatsoever am I in the crowd that thinks negatively about the job that Kendal Briles has done this year, but it seemed at times like we would have some success one way, and then do something else. Certainly personnel and weather had a ton to do with that. Just wish we would have stuck to some of the zone read stuff that was successful in the first half. Frankly, though, Baylor fans tend to forget that the younger Briles has only been the OC of this explosive offense for less than a year. It is very much expected that he is going to have some growing pains and lessons to learn. He has one of the greatest minds in college football to learn from, so you better believe he will learn from this game and better next. Also, lets think about the fact that he is now coaching his 3rd QB this season. Each QB has certain tendencies and he has to tailor his game plans around them. You have to be somewhat optimistic about what we will see next week, as Kendal Briles was much more aggressive against OSU than OU, showing that he knows how to adjust after a rough game. I think you will see the playbook open up on Saturday.
4. There are 2 things that beat Baylor.
I was thinking about this on my way home laaaaate last night, and came to the realization that there are two things that ultimately beat Baylor when they lose. The weather and the team itself. In the past 3 regular seasons, Baylor has only gotten beat two times by teams that were just better. OSU three years ago and OU this year. In the other three losses, Baylor either beat themselves are had some crazy atmosphere to deal with. Of the four losses that Baylor has had the past three seasons, two of them were in terrible weather conditions. Some will probably disagree, but I just think that more often than not, if Baylor loses its likely because it was self-inflicted somehow.
5. The season is not over.
Even though the playoffs are out of the question, there is still a ton to play for. For one, if OU wins in Bedlem and Baylor beats Texas, then they will be the Big 12 representative in the Sugar Bowl. This would be the third straight New Years bowl that Baylor will have played in. If you need perspective on where this program has come from, take a look at this tweet from our friend David Fankhauser:
I know two losses hurt, but embrace the fact that Baylor is good enough to win 11-12 games a year as opposed to 2-3 10 years ago.