A conference rivalry is reintroduced as TCU faces off against Baylor University in Waco this Saturday. Dating back 113 years, the rivalry is one of the oldest and most often played football series in the history of college football.
The series was once a cross-town rivalry between the schools. From 1895-1910, Baylor and TCU were both located in Waco, and college football began to be played between the two schools in 1899.
In 1915, Baylor became the founding member of the Southwest Conference; in which TCU would join in 1923, making the two universities conference competitors.
While Saturday marks the first time in nearly two decades that Baylor vs. TCU will be a conference game, the series has continued as an even matchup. The all-time series is knotted up, each team having 50 wins, 50 losses, and seven ties.
Matt Waller, former Baylor deep snapper, says he looks forward to the two teams facing off in conference play since the dissolving of the Southwest Conference. Waller played under coach Guy Morris, who played for TCU in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s
“Personally, I’m real excited to see TCU back into it,” Waller said. “The rivalries in the Big 12 have switched a lot, but I think there’s going to bring newness to the rivalry.”
Baylor is just outside the both national poll rankings coming into the game Saturday, while TCU sits at No. 23 according to the USA Today Coaches poll.
Current and former Frogs are invested in the rivalry. Leonard Elliot, a member of the TCU alumni class of 1985, explains the importance of this game and how the Frogs match up against the Bears.
“This is a good game for us to get refocused, due to all the off-the-field activities,” said Elliott, referring to the recent arrest of quarterback Casey Pachall. “I think we’re young and growing up. Talent-wise, I think that TCU is more talented, but the sooner we grow up, the better we’ll be.”
The winner could be propelled into the bottom of the AP Top 25, depending on what happens to the ranked teams in front of them. A win could key to their chances of getting into a respected bowl game.
"There’s a lot of momentum going into this game for TCU,” SGA president Brent Folan said of Saturday's game against the Bears. “It’s our opportunity to get some redemption after what happened last year. I know our team is fired up and they are ready to play.”
The TCU defense ranks third in the Big 12 in pass defense, allowing just over 180 yards per game through the air. The unit has also intercepted 10 passes while giving up just six passing touchdowns.
With last year's Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III heading up his rookie season in the NFL this year, 6-foot-1 senior Nick Florence steps into the pocket for the Bears.
John Morris, the assistant athletic director and “Voice of the Bears” at Baylor, says Florence has stepped up and performed well for the Bears.
"He’s number one this week in total offense, so he’s playing at a really high level,” Morris said. “A lot of people were wondering how it would be for Baylor after RGIII. The people who know Nick knew that wouldn’t be issue because he is very, very solid at that position.”
Red-shirt freshman quarterback Trevon Boykin is Florence's counterpart in the game. Boykin will make his second start after taking over in Casey Pachall's absence.
The 108th game of the storied rivalry will be nationally televised on FSN. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey stadium in Waco.