Author’s note: Happy Revivalry Week everyone. As a self-proclaimed hater of Baylor, I have a few stories and thoughts about that institution on the Brazos River. Join me for a moment as I describe just a few reasons why Baylor and everything they stand for can simply go to hell.
When I was a high school senior, my ultimate choice in colleges came down to two choices - Baylor, or TCU.
I was excited to see what both private institutions could offer me. I was blown away by TCU’s commitment to improving academic facilities, including a recent $2 million renovation to their journalism school’s TV studio.
Then I went to Baylor, where I visited with Dr. Clark Baker of Baylor’s journalism department. When I asked him about Baylor’s commitment to its academic program, the first words out of Baker’s mouth immediately made TCU the leading candidate.
“Well, we just finally gave up our dark room,” Baker said. “I’m really going to miss developing photos that way.”
Baker then continued a conversation - a conversation which took place in Fall 2009 by the way - about how Baylor didn’t want to go to develop a website for the school paper, and how it was unlikely for Baylor to have an improved TV studio any time soon. The building I walked through screamed “Architecture of the Year Award from 1978,” and the dorms weren’t much better.
A meeting with financial aid revealed that Baylor simply couldn’t access the scholarship funds from the State of Texas that I qualified for, which is odd, considering TCU had no difficulty in getting that money. A departing dinner in Waco thoroughly convinced me that Baylor and the land it stood on was simply unfit for living.
It was on that glorious day that I chose to go to TCU, and I have not regretted my choice in the slightest.
Ever since that day, I’ve grown to hate Baylor. I hate its city, I hate its institution, I hate its curriculum and I especially hate the new money brand of college football they represent. For a program which has no history and nothing significant to take to its name before the year 2011, Baylor sincerely wants the world to believe that they can now compete with anyone and do it with class, despite offering no evidence to the contrary.
Baylor won over the competition in 2014, the folks in Waco say. The Bears and Baylor Nation faithful remember “head-to-head” and “61-58,” and hope you do as well, Scott Strickland, and be just like them when they conveniently forget when they booed commissioner Bob Bowlsby when he presented them with a conference championship trophy.
Similarly, Baylor would like it if folks would remember back-to-back Big 12 championships, as opposed to the back-to-back bowl season embarrassments they gave the conference after crowing about how talented they were.
(In case anyone forgot, UCF beat Baylor as the biggest underdog victors in BCS history in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, and Baylor choked away a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter to Michigan State in the 2015 Cotton Bowl.)
And honestly? Baylor would probably even like it if folks would even forget about their actions after their wins in bowl games, including the one where they refused to acknowledge the actual final score.
Baylor wants everyone to witness their long streak of winning games at home, despite scheduling no one harder than Rice or Buffalo for their non-conference schedule. Likewise, they want everyone to take the idea that “Oh, no one wants to play Baylor because they’re scared!”
Except again, there’s no evidence of this. At all.
Baylor puts in as much effort into non-conference scheduling as they do internal investigations players accused of felonies. In the past calendar year, after coming under fire for a schedule that was as easy as getting money for retrying an SAT, athletic director Ian McCaw claimed he was going to substantially change the upcoming schedule.
He then claimed no one would play Baylor due to reasons such as “they don’t want to go to Australia to play the game!” and “They never knew that we wanted to play them because we actually didn’t contact them!” before announcing two thrilling three-game series against Louisiana Tech and Texas State.
For the entirety of Baylor’s grandstanding of playing Cal in Australia for 2016, never once was there a confirmation from Cal officials that the game was being made, nor were there ever any reports of Baylor playing, you know, in the United States against them.
Or any other Power Five opponent, for that matter.
Briles and McCaw later said there were more games trying to get scheduled, including Mississippi State and Arkansas. That plan to go public went poorly, as the Mississippi State athletic director responded by saying he had no idea where the reports were coming from.
It’s painful to look at how poorly Baylor has scheduled their competition. From the years 2010 to 2022, Duke will serve as Baylor’s single Power Five opponent. Even if TCU gets counted for that stretch (the two did play in 2010 and 2011), Baylor will have played four non-conference games against someone not named Lamar, Incarnate Word, Wofford or Rice.
And unfortunately for Baylor, no amount of PR firm work can fix that perception. And for everyone that’s outside of the radius of Central Texas, the perception ain’t great.
Nothing can fix the perception of stupidity that is Baylor allowing players to jump up and down in masks.
A PR firm can’t convince Pappadeaux or an Omni hotel to come to Waco.
A PR firm can’t fix the fact that McLane Stadium looks and feels like a high school stadium, from the artificial turf, to the rap blasting from speakers on the field during warmups to the tasteful banners wrapped around the concrete.
Most of all, a PR firm can’t get a team in the playoffs, no matter how hard they try to avoid non-wins.
But who can blame Baylor? Honestly. Given the amount of things that have been forgotten or never discovered at Baylor, I’d ask for the help of a PR firm as well.
Baylor didn’t know about their transfer from Boise State. Baylor didn’t know that they had a coach attending the Tulsa-Oklahoma game. Baylor didn’t know they had their offensive coordinator applying for the North Texas job. Baylor didn’t know that those restaurants didn’t have business plans in Waco yet. Baylor didn’t know that feeding Dr Pepper to live bears for years was a bad idea. Baylor didn’t know that it was frowned upon to pay incoming freshmen to retake the SAT to boost their academic rankings.
Hell, Baylor didn’t even know the league rules for a Big 12 Championship last season.
They do know one thing though: 61-58.
They know it so well, they put it in their team photo. Their alumni tipped it at a Fort Worth steakhouse, and an anonymous donor donated $61.58 to buying a brick for TCU’s Frog Alley. They know it so well, they even gave it away on towels for their 2015 season opener against Rice and had their guests of honor wear it on the field.
Baylor may not know much, but they do know their only meaningful win of the past 40 years - the win that got them a co-championship, in a season where they finished four spots below TCU in the final poll.
There’s plenty to digest when RGIII makes a claim that “Baylor has owned Texas” and Briles tweets to Drake that the rapper isn’t the only one to go back to back. But what’s simpler to digest is that Baylor is painfully not self-aware enough to understand why it is hated.
Perhaps if they had a more improved communications school, they’d be able to see that perception a little bit better.