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Battle For The Basement Bet: AM/Baylor

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The punters

Peter Bean from BON and Scipio Tex from Barking Carnival.

The bet

Baylor vs. A&M, straight up. Made during a podcast some time around mid-October.

The stakes

Mockery and a bottle of fine whisky.

But it's Baylor and A&M, you idiots. Why?

We were trying to rank the worst teams in the league; probably in an attempt to create personal interest in a Big 12 race that was over in October. He contended that Baylor was better than A&M, possibly because Joe Lee Kines cannot control his own bladder (nor those of his players). I felt Peter was overlooking FIGHTING AGGIE SPIRIT!

WHOOP!

The buildup

Amusing and surprisingly riveting.

The ups and downs for each team in preparation for the Battle of the Brazos were agonizing as each team tested new lows and quickly eroded the foundation of any ephemeral high. Recall that A&M had just been beaten by KSU 62-14 in one of the more gutless efforts in Big 12 history while Baylor lost valiantly to Iowa State 24-10. Peter had every right to believe he'd just suckered me after that powerful Bear performance in Ames. However, I was banking on the fact that A&M was more gutless than talentless.

Here's how it unfolded:

10/24

A&M goes into Lubbock and reams Texas Tech while Baylor loses to Oklahoma State convincingly. I feel like a cross between a wizard and scientist. I begin a barrage of text messages with various nonsensical Aggie exclamations and expressions I've learned on Texags and since I'm on PST, they are calculated to wake him up well past his bedtime (8:30 pm, after Matlock reruns). Peter is now alarmed. The Aggies are awesome and will probably win out and he fucking knows it.

10/31

A&M whips Iowa State 35-10 in College Station. A&M could probably hang with 1995 Nebraska. Why isn't Tony Jerod-Eddie getting more Outland Trophy talk? This ISU squad is the same team that beat Baylor last week. Yet Baylor loses to Nebraska 20-10 in a surprisingly competitive game. I don't like that latter score one bit, but I'm still feeling good. I now begin taunting him during phone conversations. He puts on a brave face, but I sense fear. Jerrod Johnson should be in the Heisman race.

11/7/09

A&M loses to Colorado 35-34. The 4th quarter is played out in slow motion like a scene from Crash. It's a choke job like nothing I've seen. This can't be happening. Oh, well. This bet was never about A&M being good. They just need to be better than Baylor.

Except that Baylor wins in Columbia 40-32 and Nick Florence has a career passing day. Holy shit. Peter begins a steady barrage of taunts. He is giddy. I am shaken at my very core. I respond with various Aggie spirit cries, but they feel hollow. Baylor is going to beat A&M by 20.

11/14

Texas is up on Baylor 40-0 at halftime. Baylor is a joke. We can even run on them. There's no way that team beats A&M in College Station. My confidence is restored and Peter is in for a world of...what? What's that?

OU- 65, A&M - 10.

And the Aggies quit again. Damn it.

Neither one of us taunts the other as we are both now absolutely convinced the other person has suckered us. We have no confidence in our teams, a feeling of total betrayal, rampant insecurity, and we are brimming with angst. We are awash in hysterical hope and unrealistic expectation battered down by humiliation, confusion, paranoia, and resentment.

In short, by taking this bet, we have assumed the identity of Aggie Fan and Bear Fan. So this is what it's like. shiver

11/21

My taunts to Peter began Friday evening and continue until Saturday morning. We exchange calls, but neither of us will answer. It is a psychological cat and mouse game.

The Aggies respond well to humiliation, I reason - look at their KSU bounce back win over Tech. The Aggies recover from 2-3 gridiron Katrinas a season. It's a core competency. Peter was feeling cocky as well, presumably because Notre Dame is having a miserable season and that always makes him chipper. This further reinforced the idea that God was not Catholic and though he is certainly not Baptist (God is literate and hates White Rain hair spray, for starters) he may show some Protestant love on Saturday.

It's not to be...

A&M - 38
Baylor - 3

WHOOOP!!

You should know that this game was so pathetic that it wasn't carried on any TV network (not even Oxygen) and the Aggies were giving away half price tickets so they could break 65,000 in attendance. So I had to "watch" this pillow fight on ESPN Gametracker. Gametracker had so much interest in the game that they had Phil Taylor - Baylor's obese and overrated defensive tackle transfer from Penn State - as the Baylor starting QB (it was Szymanski, they share #11). So the first quarter stat line was something like Phil Taylor 2 of 4 for 13 yards which is about what the actual Phil Taylor would have done. Then Baylor put Joe Pawelek in at QB and they were off to the races.

A&M ran the ball at will and it was obvious that they were going to win by the late 2nd quarter. We then had the following text exchange (actual transcript):

Scipio: (Braveheart exection scene) Peter, we can end this all now if you will only confess. Do you confess?

Peter: Never. I pray only that if I die I die well. BAYLORRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Scipio: I will send each of your limbs to the corners of Texas as a warning. Your head will sit on a pike @ The Dixie Chicken.

Peter: I would rather confess a gay affair with my brother Baptist than quit.

I admired his spirit and his ability to understand obscure movie references. I left to go ride my mountain bike, with confidence.

However, at games conclusion, there was only thing I could text. When superiority is asserted over another, in all cultures across the world, there is one universally understood coup de grace.

Scipio: Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha!

Peter: Fuck me.