It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Maybe Charles Dickens isn’t alive to see the difference between the TCU and Baylor football programs, but the phrase couldn’t ring more true than it does today.
It’s the tale of two former Southwest Conference rivals heading – no – sprinting in opposite directions.
Media outlets far and wide have heaped mass praise on the Frogs and rightfully so, considering that even with James Vess’ season-long suspension, the defense still returns eight starters from a unit that ranked No. 2 in total defense last season.
Using a term Gary Patterson said after last season’s Texas Tech win, I think it is safe to say Patterson and Co. are no longer the “red-headed stepchildren” of media coverage among Texas college football teams.
Then there’s Baylor. What can one say about Baylor football except, “Why?” Our Waco brethren haven’t been to a bowl game since Bill Clinton’s first term in office, and have averaged 1.75 conference wins in Guy Morriss’ four years as head coach. That’s an “I’m not even mad, that’s amazing” statistic if I’ve ever seen one.
Think of TCU as Matt Damon and Baylor as my favorite whipping boy, Ben Affleck. While Damon continues to anchor the “Bourne” franchise and is remembered for his part in one of the greatest films of our generation, “The Departed,” Affleck continues to make films such as “Gigli” and “Daredevil” that make you want to clean your palate with mouthwash.
All jokes aside, there is no doubt that Baylor wants this game. While Baylor might not be the caliber of the team that challenges Patterson and Co. in week two, that could be the reason why the game might be closer than expected.
I’m not an expert analyst by any means, but if offensive coordinator Mike Schultz’s play-calling is on the Dick Cheney-level of conservative, then it won’t surprise me, especially with quarterback Andy Dalton taking the first snaps of his college career.
But the Bears have nothing to lose on Saturday because Baylor didn’t have anything to begin with. As much as I don’t want to see another 17-7 game, it is certainly in the realm of possibility.
By recognizing the Frogs have the potential to accomplish great things this year and almost every game is the biggest game of the season for their opponents, the boys in purple will complete step one in what could be a 12-step program to being the most memorable season in Patterson’s tenure as coach.
It is the best of times right now for TCU. By season’s end, we will see if it will be the greatest of times. Saturday cannot get here soon enough.