When Baylor trounced the Northwestern State Demons last weekend, the Bears proved that the only thing new to Baylor football this year is head coach Jim Grobe. The on-field results were the same as they have always been and that is a high-scoring track meet. This is what should be focused on from this point forward with Baylor and I’ll tell you why.
Art Briles, Ken Starr and Ian McCaw were all shown the door and rightfully so. The former football players who were accused of rape have also been kicked out of the program. Again, rightfully so. Yes, Baylor had to be drug kicking and screaming to do the right thing, but eventually it did and personnel changes were made.
None of the legal or moral crimes that occurred at Baylor were the fault of Jim Grobe. Grobe was brought in after the fact to help clean up the mess that Art Briles contributed to. So let’s give Grobe a fair shot and not rule him guilty by association.
As for the players that remain on the football team? The same treatment should apply to them as applies to Grobe. I refuse to believe that every football player knew or was directly involved in the rapes that occurred at Baylor. Like Grobe, the players that remain on the team should not be considered guilty by association.
There is the argument that Baylor shouldn’t be fielding a football team at all this year. One of the more popular reactions to the crimes committed at Baylor was for the NCAA to levy the death penalty to the football program. As much as that would have pleased much of the country, it was never an option because, like it or not, the issues at Baylor never fell under NCAA jurisdiction.
So now it is about football and that’s exactly how it should be.
Jim Grobe and his Bears put the rest of the Big 12 on notice against Northwestern State. Seth Russell completed 70% of his passes as he threw for four touchdowns. Shock Linwood averaged 10.8 yards per carry and a stable of wide receivers raced up and down the field. And the Baylor defense held the Demons to 78 yards total yards. Not bad considering the Bears are not known for playing defense against anybody.
On a day when Oklahoma lost to Houston and TCU struggled to pull out a victory against South Dakota State, Baylor just kept doing its thing and nobody seemed to notice. All people want to talk about is Texas beating Notre Dame and what Texas’ rise means to the rest of the conference.
It’s not the premature argument about Texas’ rise back to the top of the conference that should be our focus in the Big 12 after the first week. What should be our focus is the resiliency that the remaining Baylor players and coaches put on display against Northwestern State. And if conference favorites Oklahoma and TCU continue to falter, don’t be surprised if Jim Grobe’s Bears take full advantage of the opportunity.
E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom
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