The Big Mac Blog

Defeated Baylor has become its own worst enemy

Baylor’s football season has predictably gone off course after a 6-0 start.
Baylor’s football season has predictably gone off course after a 6-0 start. rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

It’s amazing it lasted as long as it did but it is now apparent the stress of the last 14 months has shattered the Baylor University football team.

Despite the presence of some talented players and the continuity of the same coaching staff, there was no way this team this season was going to keep it together.

By the second quarter of Baylor’s blowout loss to rival TCU in Waco on Saturday, it was evident the team was finally defeated far beyond the scoreboard.

Regardless of what happens in the next month, the season is over. The coaches are all too mad at the administration, and too worried about where they will be next year, to keep a team already over burdened by outside noise properly engaged.

It’s a biker gang-sized mess in Waco, and do not be surprised if the school chooses to skip a meaningless bowl game. Extra practice time is important, but ending this season will be the bigger priority.

Football is hard enough in the best of circumstances, but the Triple D - dissension, dysfunction and distractions - that exist on this team make winning against decent competition untenable.

Baylor’s biggest problem right now is Baylor – the amount of bickering, infighting and anger at those in charge and those dismissed has created a deep fissure. The only way Baylor can win again is to shut up, write the checks, and bury a good coach in money.

BTW - It would also help if Baylor pressed the NCAA on any potential scholarship penalties coming down the road; a new coach is going to want to know if he will have fewer scholarships to offer.

Then Baylor needs to shut all of this down. The more anger and public dialogue stemming from this scandal sets back the entire program, not to mention the university. Some of it is beyond their control, but a great deal of it is.

Enormous, life-altering mistakes were made as were hard, unpopular cuts as a result. That comes with running a business, which Baylor is; the mission statement of the University is wonderful, but to keep the doors wide open the school must generate (lots of) revenue.

The earliest the school can move forward is no earlier than the middle of December, when this current coaching staff leaves Waco – which they wanted to do back in June, shortly after Art Briles was fired as their head coach.

Retaining his assistants was a way for Baylor to maintain continuity for the players, as well as keeping those coaches’ families receiving a check.

As easily predicted, it also kept a visible link to a scandal that has set this school back several years. You can’t have a Briles on the staff and think it’s just going to magically go away, especially when “CAB” is plastered all over campus, and now t-shirts, too.

When the majority of the staff was fiercely loyal to Briles, and two of the top assistants are related to him, this was never going to work. It is no secret that the coaches have felt the Baylor leadership wrongly fired Briles and made him the scapegoat.

It was the most delicate of hopes that the coaches would put the players above themselves, which they have until their own lives intersected. The coaches have tried to do right by the players, but they have their own futures to sweat.

This entire staff, save for acting coach Jim Grobe, is attached to a national scandal that refuses to end. All that does is make it harder for those men to land jobs elsewhere.

All it was going to require was a loss and it was going to fall apart.

Losing by one point at Texas last week did it. Baylor was never in the game against TCU, and a 40-point home loss to its hated rival will assuredly be followed by a slaughter next week in Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners.

Baylor will survive and with the cash, top facilities and proximity to good talent, it can be an attractive job for a competent coach.

But more cutting must occur and then all of Baylor must agree that in order to move on and make it attractive again they must learn from their stupid mistakes, and then stop talking about them.

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