Baylor football coach Jim Grobe is new to the Big 12 but he’s not new when it comes to contending for league championships. Grobe, 64, led Wake Forest to an ACC title in 2006, the school’s lone conference football championship in the past 46 seasons.
That one came despite two losses in league play and Grobe stressed Monday that he will not let the 13th-ranked Bears (6-1, 3-1 in Big 12) lose sight of their title hopes after last week’s 35-34 loss to Texas knocked Baylor from the unbeaten ranks. Baylor meets TCU (4-4, 2-3) Saturday in Waco (2:30 p.m., KDFW/Ch. 4). TCU is one of five teams seeking to secure bowl berths that Baylor will face in its final five games, a list that includes No. 12 Oklahoma (6-2, 5-0) and No. 14 West Virginia (6-1, 3-1).
“If you look at the league, even though we hurt our possibility of getting in the playoff, a lot of good things can still happen here over the next five weeks,” Grobe said. “We’ve got everybody that still has a chance to win it left to play. Our destiny is in our hands and that should motivate our kids because we still have the chance to do something special.”
Grobe, who holds the title of acting coach, replaced former coach Art Briles in May as part of the school’s efforts to respond to a sexual assault scandal involving football players. His presence on the sideline and his longtime friendship with TCU coach Gary Patterson will bring a different vibe to the table for Saturday’s game between the bitter rivals.
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“Gary and I are friends and we’ll enjoy seeing each other before the game,” Grobe said. “But I know this is a rivalry and our teams will get after each other when they play. I know Gary and Art had a very competitive relationship.”
Grobe said, in his estimation, there is “not a better defensive coach in the country than Gary Patterson” and he expects the Bears to be challenged accordingly. He also acknowledged he’s interested in morphing his role as acting coach into a full-time job but will wait until later to make his pitch to Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoads.
“I’ve decided to focus on our players right now and coach these guys as hard as we can,” Grobe said. “At the end of the season, we can sit down and talk about it.”