Baylor Bears' Art Briles is in demand

11/21/2011 11:03 PM

11/22/2011 3:09 PM

Dear Baylor President Ken Starr,

The statue of Art Briles that you personally should have commissioned late Saturday night should be erected at Vitek's Bar-B-Que so we can enjoy a Gut Pack while sitting under the shadow cast by the new bronze figurine.

Because the Baylor powers-that-be likely won't permit that, do this: Relocate the statue of former Baylor President Rufus C. Burleson to Fountain Mall, and place the Briles statue in front of Old Main and rename the whole area "Briles Quadrangle."

Or "RGIII Square."

Right after you finish paying the sculptor for the statue, and finish suing whoever is next on the Starr "To-Sue List," call Briles' agent and feign disappointment that his poor client is working under the guidelines of a badly outdated contract.

Mr. Starr, your coach is going to be in demand very, very soon. You may have a built-in advantage because Baylor is in Texas and Briles is as Texan as Willie, Nolan or W., but the surest way to beat back potential suitors is not through bronze statues, appropriate as they may be, but the language all good lawyers speak -- green cash.

There is no greater gift during the holiday season.

Reliable and respected longtime NFL writer John McClain of the Houston Chronicle tweeted on Saturday: "I'm already hearing Ole Miss is going to pursue Art Briles; I don't blame them. If I wanted to turn around a program, I'd pursue him, too."

The Rebels recently canned coach Houston Nutt, and are ready to money-whip a coach to turn that program into a winner. Ole Miss is a nearly impossible job, but if there is someone who could do it I don't know how you could bet against Briles. If there is a man who could handle the mess that is Penn State, Briles could.

"He's a big part of what's going on at Baylor," Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III said Monday during a conference call. "He's been recruited before and he stayed. I don't know what Coach Briles would do if that opportunity would come up. We love him here. He has a home here forever."

I like Tommy Tuberville, but Briles was always the guy Texas Tech should have cleared out the necessary cap space to pursue.

What he is doing in Waco compares to the job Gary Patterson did at TCU.

"I know Art pretty well and I've never sensed that he's driven by the [money] factor at all," said former Baylor football coach Grant Teaff, who is now the president of the American Football Coaches Association.

"If someone wants to buy a coach, they have every right to do that. But compare the best situations -- he's got the right backing from the university. He's got the facilities. He's got everything. It's just like with Gary. Gary could have chosen the school he wanted to attend, and he did it when he chose to remain at TCU."

If you are Ole Miss, you would be foolish not to call Briles. Same for North Carolina or Ohio State.

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is a hot name as is Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, but Briles' track record is worthy of the extra zeroes because he has proven you can win at places where you can't.

Briles turned Stephenville High School into a state power.

He took over Houston and put the Cougars into bowl games; with a few of Briles' recruits left, most notably quarterback Case Keenum, the Cougars rank No. 8 in the latest BCS rankings and are 11-0.

But of all the things Briles has done, nothing is as impressive as what he is doing in Waco.

"It infuriates me when I hear people say you can't win at Baylor," Teaff said.

Respect and appreciate the optimism, Coach, but Baylor football had for years been able to beat one team and one team only -- Kansas, which may no longer actually count as a win.

Since Briles arrived in 2008, the Bears have defeated Texas A&M, Texas and TCU, but Saturday night in Waco against No. 5 Oklahoma was the ultimate validation.

Baylor's highly entertaining 45-38 win against the Sooners is the biggest this program has had...since Rufus was president in the 1850s.

"This is much bigger than when we beat Texas last year because Texas wasn't Texas," Teaff noted. "Oklahoma was Oklahoma."

Baylor could finish 9-3 before its bowl game.

Equally as conceivable is Ole Miss or another school calling Briles, if they have not already.

On second thought, Mr. Starr, the statue can wait.

The contract cannot.

If Briles leaves on your watch, the school will have grounds to sue your butt right out of Waco.

Follow Mac Engel on Twitter @MacEngelProf or The Big Mac Blog.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

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