E-mail Rich Cirminiello
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Great for Baylor. Great for Bryce Petty, Art Briles and the whole Waco community. Bad, though, for the Big 12 brand.
Was it thrilling? Naturally. Any fourth-quarter rally from 21 down goes directly into the time capsule. But does a 61-58 Baylor victory, in which neither defense bothered to get off the bus, feed into the stereotype that the Big 12 is a rich man’s Big Sky Conference littered with incomplete teams? You bet. And like it or not, it’s something that will absolutely cross the minds of committee members, especially if Baylor is in the discussion for one of the final playoff spots. Given a choice, voters will want to champion a complete football team, something the Bears did not resemble today.
The reality is that when someone other than Oklahoma or Texas is wearing the Big 12 crown, the league gets tagged as gimmicky and incapable of playing hard-nosed football. Yeah, Baylor cancelled its need for fraud protection insurance with an incredible rally, but the league’s reputation is still going to take a hit. That’s going to happen when an already-defensively challenged conference stages a 61-58 game, with all of the points being scored in regulation.
E-mail Pete Fiutak
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You still have to pretend like you have a defense.
Yes, Bryce Petty was wearing the TCU defensive backs as a hat, and yes, he led the way to two scoring drives of over 90 yards in less than a minute, but if you’re Gary Patterson, and your D has been solid enough to get by in the Big 12 world, and if that’s what your program is founded on, then with just over a minute to play on the Baylor 45 and facing a 4th-and-3, yes, you really do kick the ball and hope that everything you’ve done and everything you’ve taught can come through with just a few stops. In crunch time, you make Petty try to do it one more time, but instead, Patterson went for it, the play call was weird, it didn’t work, Baylor kicked the field goal, ball game.
And now Baylor really is in the discussion. It hadn’t played anyone yet, and when it did whack around Texas by 21, Petty was miserable. But now, after this phenomenal comeback win for a 61-58 thriller, the Bears become a real, live threat to run through the rest of the slate and get to the playoff.
There’s still Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State still to deal with, but this was the moment when it seemed like the team couldn’t deal with adversity, and then Petty decided it was time to get into the Heisman chase.
Helped in a huge way by Patterson giving up hope. Petty made it that way.
E-mail Rich Cirminiello