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2008 Baylor Football Preview - State Of The Union

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For a historical perspective of the Baylor Program, please consult Huckleberry's Chart Of Many Things.

Best Team
Year Record Season Rank All-Time Rank
1956 9-2 7 (6%) 792 (7%)
Finishes
#1 Top 5 Top 10 Top 25
0 0 3 23
Average Season Ranking
Last 4 Last 10 Last 25 All-Time
73 (61%) 84.8 (73%) 62.8 (56%) 49.1 (46%)
Worst Team
Year Record Season Rank All-Time Rank
1907 1-3-1 68 (91%) 11349 (93%)
Worst Team (Last 25 Years)
Year Record Season Rank All-Time Rank
1999 1-10 106 (93%) 11219 (96%)

I was on the money in last year's preview. Baylor did go 3-9. Guy Morriss is done. Coach Art Briles is their new victim head coach.

I think we're all rooting for Ensign Art Briles as he beams down to the surface of Planet Baylor with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. He's a good man and Baylor made an astute hire. He is tasked with a routine and straightforward mission: to find signs of intelligent life in Waco. Failing that - and he will - he is entrusted to boldly go where no Bear has ever gone before! The Poulan-Weedeater Independence Bowl in Shreveport.

Reporter

Why, it's really not that bad muses Ensign Briles, surveying the landscape, proudly beaming post-beaming. Promising, even. He'll take atmospheric readings that seem heartening. Captain, my scanner says that these hyper-judgmental dandies really seem to want to win - look at my nice contract and these facility upgrades! I also appear to be in the middle of excellent recruiting country. Plus, there's a new food court in the Richland Mall! But it will all be over before it begins. Ensign Briles will blindly follow a scrambled Dave Roberts distress signal emanating from behind a secluded rock formation where he'll be savagely beaten to death with Chuck Reedy's femur by the rest of the Big 12 South waiting in ambush.

Reporter
The Big 12 would like a word with you, Coach.

During the mayhem Captain Kirk is conveniently off nailing Iowa State. Eventually, Bones will stumble across Ensign Briles' corpse and pronounce,"Baylor is dead, Jim." Or if it were basketball season, "Baylor Gym, is dead." Kirk will implore, "Bones, is there any-(Shatner pause)-thing that can be...done?" "Damn you Jim, I'm a doctor not a resurrectionist!"

Reporter
Watch out Ensign Briles! MaCaulay Culkin scream!

As a football forecasting agnostic, I am possessed of a deep certainty in this matter: Baylor football has no immediate potential for salvation. Baylor's AD can deny their Big 12 history like an archaeopteryx fossil all they want to lure a promising guy like Briles, but it's not going to change the scoreboard:College Football Relevance - 63 Baylor Bears - 10. Relevance quit throwing in the 3rd quarter.

Given the limitations of the school, I think it's pretty clear that Art will never flourish in Waco. Culture, Philosophy, and Coach Briles probably won't either. It would be equivalent to winning at a school like Northwestern, Navy, or Wake Forest, which simply can't ever happen and is totally without precede...hey, wait a second. Guy Morriss was fired for giving Baylor a smidgen of hope and then completely tanking. Baptists regard Hope as Faith's malformed inferior twin and they will expose it on a cliff like Spartans if it's delivered to them without further evidence to believe. Interestingly, this is precisely the opposite of Aggies, who love to frolic in the dewy meadow of Hope, but are darkly pessimistic in their long term football Faith. Guy Morriss was also inefficient as an administrator, even going so far as to use unneeded consonants to spell his last name. Do you have any idea what the extra r and s costs on quality letterhead!? No, seriously. I'm actually asking you. I don't know.

Baylor's schedule pretty much dictates a 3-9 finish. There is only one gimme on the entire schedule (Northwestern St) and it stings to know that Iowa State has you circled as one of their wins. Briles will implement his characteristic fast tempo spread offense which is hard on scoreboard batteries, the defenses of both teams, and positive turnover margins. Briles' offense is one of the rare examples of intelligent design that has consistently evolved. The guy is tremendously creative and puts it all out there. His offensive acumen means competitive 49-41 losses against teams that defend based on the principles of Maginot (I'm glaring at you Oklahoma State) and at least three blowouts against teams that can defend a pass better than Tara Reid.

Reporter
OMG! I so drunk.

Baylor has some scholarship players, so I guess I'll write about them now.

GuyMo's positive legacy is a pretty good OL. Baylor's two biggest impact players are both OTs: Smith and Gay. Which sounds a little like a flamboyant firearm that fires a refreshing spritz. JD Walton will be a solid contributor at center after serving his suspension for his horrendous outburst at the Big 12 media day. The Baylor OL will be instrumental in giving QB Blake Szymanski excellent protection as he rallies the Bears from 38-10 3rd quarter deficits. That is unless Kirby Freeman, he of Miami Hurricane can't throw spirals fame, pushes the plucky Pentecostal Polak for his job. Truthfully, Briles may just say fuck it (actually, it's Baylor, so he'll say "Goosefeathers!") and start true freshman Robert Griffin, who is a sensational athlete. Which is what I'd do. If Baylor Football can reach respectability by 2010 it will be because of Griffin. Art's best offenses, whether at Stephenville or at U of H, needs the running threat at QB to make it work. The QB draw in an an empty set, the zone read with a one back, the QB lead when the other team plays dime - it opens it all up. Without that threat, they're just Texas Tech without the polish, execution, and slutty co-eds.

Jay Finley probably gets the start at RB. Who? Exactly. Last year Baylor finished 113th in the nation in rushing. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest to you that Ron Dayne's career rushing yardage records are under no threat in Waco, but they should be improved with Briles and the OL personnel. Baylor's WRs aren't bad at all and the stars of Murderball could put up numbers in this offense. In fact, Baylor actually has some respectable speed and size to work with here. Look out for Thomas "Pray'n Caucasian" White, perceived underachiever David "This Year I'm Gonna" Gettis, and oversized possession WR Justin Akers to headline the corps.

Defensively, Baylor's Joe Pawelek is a Purpose-Driven linebacker! He's a really good player. On the Baylor defense being a good player is like manning a toll booth on the Mongol steppe. Why do they keep riding around me!?! Weakside LB Joel Osteen is promising and though he is only 5-9 155, he is extraordinarily persuasive at reasoning with opposing ball carriers to get them to change their direction.

Reporter
Hey Vondrell, let's just set the ball down and talk.

He'll play behind an improved and nearly respectable DL that features minimal depth at DE, which, when combined with spread offenses on both sides of the ball should make for some late game pass rushing efforts that bring to mind being chased by a lamp post. Baylor's defensive backfield is forgettable to the point of amnesia, but safety Jordan Lake is spoken of prominently because he is a water hazard for the opposing team's tailback on their way to a 153 yard performance. He is preseason All Big 12 largely because the media isn't aware of the fact that this is a passing league now. Lake is proof that still waters don't necessarily run deep. In fact they often run nine steps behind a split end as he jogs into the end zone. Baylor has now gone to a 4-3 defense over last year's 4-2-5 preferring a large unathletic guy at LB to a small unathletic guy at S. By stinking in a more conventional way, Baylor hopes to draw less attention from opposing offenses. This is the same methodology that Eric Roberts used to revive his acting career.

Interestingly, as part of the new 4-3, Baylor's weakside LB isn't called a Will. It's called a Fritz. Not kidding. Their rover position is called a Hero. Fritz Hero. And you think we don't pick up these cryptic pro-Katzenjammer kid messages, Baylor? Just what is your motive in all of this? Pining for the Kaiser are we?

Reporter

As Spock did so often with tormented creatures that could not be understood or whose motivations could not be fathomed, I will now attempt to Vulcan mind meld with the Baylor fanbase collective. I want to assure them that in no way is the Vulcan mind meld dabbling with the occult.

Reporter

Let us begin:

Agghhhh! soooo......MUCH......PAIN. Pain! Huuuurrrrrrrrt! DEAAAAATTHHHH. Dis...grace. Ev...ery. One. Laugh...ing. At. Us. GAAAAAAAAAAAA! Want to lash out...but...wearing khakis! Want to kill!!! Mayhem! Locusts! Abomination...Dirty....Dave...Roberts! Guy....Morrrisssss. Why so many...consonants? Chuck......Reedy. Oh, Chuuuuck. Would love! To go! 5-5-1 again!!! Aaaarghhhh. Grant Teaffffffff. Ohhhhhh, Graaaannnt. Love your corrupt....holier-....than-...thou...self. 1974 was soooo magic...al. So much PAAAAIIIIIINNNNNNNNNN. The tentacles...of loss...entwining me! Pulling me back....want to stay with Graaannnnntttt. GAAAAAAAA! The PAIN! The PAIN! Too much! The horror; the horror. Gaaaaaaaaaa!

Trust me, people. You don't want to go in there.

If Baylor wins more than four games this year, you can set my phaser to absolutely stunned. Any objections?

Reporter